Thursday, April 3, 2014
|By Matthew Vadum|
Fifty years and trillions of dollars after the “War on Poverty” was launched, poor Americans aren’t much better off, according to a study published by Republican reformers in Congress.
The War on Poverty has barely made a dent in actual poverty, states the 205-page report unveiled last month by the House Budget Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).
The paper, created in the hope of starting a discussion in Congress about reforming America’s bungled poor-relief programs, came out before Ryan released the GOP’s new budgetary blueprint yesterday that lays out how to balance the budget in 10 years. That document calls for reducing federal government spending by $5.1 trillion over a decade largely by getting a grip on out-of-control social programs. The House Budget Committee could vote on the fiscal plan as soon as Friday. Leadership in the Democrat-dominated Senate, which hasn’t even tried to adopt a budget in recent years, isn’t planning to craft a fiscal blueprint this year, either.
The heart of the War on Poverty report is its observation that most federal poverty-alleviation programs are essentially useless or incapable of having their impact measured in the real world.
The study observes that in 1965, the poverty rate was 17.3 percent. In 2012, it was 15 percent. This means taxpayers blew a staggering $20.7 trillion over the last half century in order to achieve a paltry 2.3 percentage point decrease in poverty.
The War on Poverty has barely made a dent in actual poverty
Broken down into less mind-blowing, easier-to-grasp figures, between 1965 and 2012 the average family of four spent roughly $146,000 per percentage-point drop in poverty, or $335,000 per family for the whole 2.3 percentage-point reduction.
Only the most blinkered or jaded among us in the body politic believe that sucking $9 trillion out of the private, productive economy for each single percentage-point reduction in the poverty rate constitutes an acceptable return on investment.
Which brings us to the modern “progressive” Left.
Those on the Left consider the gentle statistical dip in poverty over five decades to be social progress achieved by way of holy coercive redistribution. Mere results have always been less important to the Left than intentions.
Although a sane person would consider the extremely modest reduction in poverty a humiliating defeat, left-wingers have successfully been changing the subject, hurling epithets, smearing opponents, and intimidating adversaries, all in an effort to move the discussion away from their 50 years of human misery-generating policy failures.
The Obama White House self-servingly slices and dices the statistics to portray the War on Poverty as a smashing, if flawed, success.
While the Obama administration admits that some of the government’s poverty-fighting approaches are less than optimal, President’s Obama Council of Economic Advisers issued a ringing endorsement of the War on Poverty.
According to that body, poverty has declined by more than one-third since 1967. “The percent of the population in poverty when measured to include tax credits and other benefits has declined from 25.8 percent in 1967 to 16.0 percent in 2012.” Predictably, the council opines that “[d]espite real progress in the War on Poverty, there is more work to do.”
The council also obsequiously slaps President Obama on the back, praising him for taking steps to “further increase opportunity and economic security by improving key programs while ensuring greater efficiency and integrity.”
It then moves from servile flattery to outright revisionism, claiming that Obama’s actions have “prevented millions of hardworking Americans from slipping into poverty during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
OBAMA: Big government, a lawless administration, and radical attacks on civil society aren’t worth worrying about
Ever the class warrior, in a December address on income inequality, Obama showed just how much a prisoner he is of his own self-imposed ideological bubble. Without mentioning the devastating impact that the high tax rates and runaway social spending he ardently supports have had on American society, the president argued that it’s all deterministic, all the fault of capitalism. He said:
“But we know that people’s frustrations run deeper than these most recent political battles. Their frustration is rooted in their own daily battles—to make ends meet, to pay for college, buy a home, save for retirement. It’s rooted in the nagging sense that no matter how hard they work, the deck is stacked against them. And it’s rooted in the fear that their kids won’t be better off than they were.”
Big government, a lawless administration, and radical attacks on civil society aren’t worth worrying about, according to Obama.
It is “a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain—that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead.”
This is “the defining challenge of our time,” he said, even though Americans don’t give a farthing’s cuss about economic inequality.
That challenge consists of “making sure our economy works for every working American,” Obama declared, slyly anthropomorphizing the economy, an intangible abstraction, in order to push the illusion that markets, like animals or streams, can somehow be controlled and centrally managed.
All of this rhetorical blatherskite had its heyday in the awful 1960s, an era historian Paul Johnson correctly described as “America’s suicide attempt.” Instead of being satisfied with New Deal-era programs like Social Security, left-wingers resolved to move America even farther away from its founding ideals, fundamentally changing the country by erecting a supremely sclerotic behemoth welfare state answerable to no one.
The War on Poverty itself was a part of the massive left-wing social engineering and vote-buying scheme known as the Great Society
The War on Poverty itself was a part of the massive left-wing social engineering and vote-buying scheme known as the Great Society. This war really should have been called the war on American values. As a result of misguided government policies that grew out of the War on Poverty, social evils have not only been encouraged but subsidized with taxpayer dollars. For example, out-of-whack financial incentives have caused out-of-wedlock birthrates to mushroom, as David Horowitz and John Perazzoreported in “Government vs. the People.”
Despite an orgy of federal spending, blacks and other minorities have suffered the most from big government poverty alleviation efforts. The anti-marriage, anti-family tilt of welfare policies has devastated black communities and society at large.
In his first State of the Union address on Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson ushered in a half-century of government-incentivized sloth, indolence, dependency, and social decay. He exhorted Congress to launch a new belligerency against a perpetually ineradicable foe.
“Let this session of Congress be known,” Johnson exclaimed, “as the session which declared all-out war on human poverty and unemployment in these United States.”
The Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) of 1964 became the centerpiece of the new war. It expanded the nation’s social safety hammock, turning government resources into war materiel to be used against the American system of constitutionally limited government.
The War on Poverty gave taxpayers’ money to so-called community groups like ACORN and Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation
The War on Poverty gave taxpayers’ money to so-called community groups like ACORN and Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation in order to encourage them to agitate against the status quo. This, in turn, stimulated demand for more government spending as taxpayer dollars became a kind of ever-increasing subsidy for pro-big government activism. The federal government still hands out significant grants to left-wing groups to subsidize their efforts to take away our economic freedoms. Many of the EOA-created programs still exist today, including VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America), now known as AmeriCorps VISTA, Job Corps, and Head Start.
Many more excuses for handouts were created after the mid-1960s—so many, in fact, that it is difficult nowadays for poor people to tiptoe through the ever expanding minefield of government assistance unscathed.
Loud calls for yet more welfare spending continue unabated from the echo chambers of the Left every single day whether the national economy is good or bad.
These calls come even after the country has saturation-bombed poor people with welfare over the past 50 years, to the tune of $20.7 trillion in 2011 dollars, far exceeding what the U.S. has spent on every actual, non-figurative war it has fought. Federal and state welfare spending, adjusted for inflation, is now 16 times greater than when this phony war was declared, according to Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation.
While millions of Americans remain stuck in poverty, the House Budget Committee’s white paper from March inventories a dizzying array of expensive failed programs on which mountains of money have been lavished.
The federal government now administers at least 92 federal programs designed to help lower-income Americans. There are dozens of education and job-training programs, 17 different food-aid programs, and over 20 housing programs. The federal government spent $799 billion on these programs in fiscal 2012 alone, according to the report.
Among more than 15 programs, more than $100 billion was spent on food aid. More than $200 billion was spent on cash aid. Spread over more than 20 programs, more than $90 billion was spent on education and job training. Almost $300 billion was spent on health care and close to $50 billion was spent on housing.
Let’s look at some of the eye-popping numbers involved in the major aid category of cash aid.
There were three federal agencies involved in spending $220 billion on cash aid in fiscal 2012. They are the Social Security Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of the Treasury.
Created in 1974, the Supplemental Security Income program provides cash benefits to elderly, blind, or disabled persons with limited income and assets. It weighs in at $50 billion.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), created in 1935, provides assistance to needy families. In 2012 it weighed in at $16.7 billion.
The Earned Income Tax Credit, established in 1975, provides cash assistance to low-income working families. The EITC, which some analysts consider to be a rare federal anti-poverty success, is the largest measure in the tax code that is aimed at reducing poverty. In 2012, its budget was $59 billion.
The Child Tax Credit, enacted in 1997, provides assistance to families with children. The IRS spent a little over $57 billion on total child credits in 2013.
The Title IV-E Foster Care/Adoption Assistance program, created in 1997, helps states pay for arranging temporary homes for disadvantaged children or for facilitating their adoption. The federal government spent $6.8 billion on the program in 2012.
But most of the 92 federal poverty-alleviation programs have a mediocre to downright dreadful track record of helping people in need.
To make matters worse, over the past three years, “deep poverty” has reached its highest level on record and about 21.8 percent of children live below the poverty line, the report states. Although changing demographics and slow economic growth contribute to continued poverty, federal policies are also discouraging work. For example, a rapid increase in disability caseloads has shrunk the labor force.
“But a large problem is the ‘poverty trap,’” the report states. “There are so many anti-poverty programs—and there is so little coordination between them—that they often work at cross purposes and penalize families for getting ahead.”
Because these programs are means-tested—meaning that benefits fall as recipients earn more money—poor families face very high implicit marginal tax rates. The federal government, in effect, is discouraging them from making more money.
“Congress has taken a haphazard approach to this problem; it has expanded programs and created new ones with little regard to how these changes fit into the larger effort. Rather than provide a roadmap out of poverty, Washington has created a complex web of programs that are often difficult to navigate.”
Some programs work, some don’t, and with many of them, “[t]here’s little evidence either way.”
Federal programs are not only failing to address problems in society; in some ways they are making the problems worse
Federal programs are not only failing to address problems in society; in some ways they are making the problems worse. “Changes are clearly necessary, and the first step is to evaluate what the federal government is doing right now,” the report said.
But President Obama, neo-Marxist ideologue that he is, isn’t interested in making changes to anti-poverty programs. Obama is seeking $56 billion in new spending for a variety of programs expanding educational offerings for preschoolers and job training for laid-off workers. No doubt he’ll find a way to lard still more billions of dollars in so-called emergency spending onto the budget as the year progresses.
“The two sides have converged in terms of the problems they’re diagnosing,” said Alan D. Viard of the American Enterprise Institute. “But the solutions are very far apart.”
That is an understatement.
Credit to Canada Free Press
All the attention over the vote by Crimeans to leave the Ukraine makes for a timely review of other separatist factions that are seeking a similar resolution. The list of active separatist movements in Europe is exhaustive.
The immediate impression is that a pervasive discontent, shared by legions of subjects, who want independence and self-determination, will be hard to derail. When European autocratic and aristocrats ruled, the only option was revolution. Today the descendants of the old regimes still wield power under the guise of democratically elected authorities. However, separatist sentiment does not mean the same to every splinter group.
Examine Europe's Latest Secession Movement: Venice, for a telling indicator.
An organization representing a coalition of Venetian nationalist groups, held an unofficial referendum on breaking with Rome. Voters were first asked the main question -"Do you want Veneto to become an independent and sovereign federal republic?" -followed by three sub-questions on membership in the European Union, NATO, and the eurozone . . .
As the referendum's organizers announced the results: 2,102,969 votes in favor of independence—a whopping 89 percent of all ballots cast—to 257,266 votes against. Venetians also said yes to joining NATO, the EU, and the eurozone.
Note the significance of wanting to be part of NATO and the EU.
Next, look at the more widely reported effort, in the land of "Braveheart" William Wallace. Scottish secession remains unlikely, but momentum is with the schismatics provides a more stately viewpoint from the Commonwealth.
After months of comfort for the pro-unionist ‘Better Together’ campaign, the most recent polls point to a tighter race with 40 percent of Scots supporting secession. With six months to go, the momentum appears to be with those seeking an amicable divorce.
Scottish independence would not lead to a republic. Queen Elizabeth II (I of Scotland) would remain head of state, a smart move by the ‘Yes’ campaign to de-radicalize independence and make the electorate feel more comfortable with a vote for change. The debate has therefore become more focused on incrementalism, with plans for an independent Scotland retaining both membership of NATO and the European Union, a common currency with the rest of the UK, and open borders.
A video from the Carnegie Council gives a spin in Which Separatist Movements Will Succeed, which plays down the urgent motivation for "FREEDOM" for an evolutionary approach.
An essay out of Wharton, Is Secession the Answer? The Case of Catalonia, Flanders and Scotland, points out the obvious, while illustrating the problematic.
It may seem paradoxical in an age of global communications, but the revival of regionalism "is a global phenomenon," notes Jacob Funk Kierkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Washington, D.C. think tank. Today’s high-speed technologies, including the Internet, "enable people to start a campaign and get out their message" quickly and repeatedly to like-minded people who might have harbored such desires in private.
Beyond its unique constitutional challenges, Catalonia faces another hurdle: The eurozone has a de facto veto over its independence. "If Catalonia becomes independent, will they [still] be part of the eurozone?" Kierkegaard asks, adding that, if Catalonia votes to secede, the EU response could be that "you will have to issue your own currency, and your banks will have no access to the European Central Bank. You won’t automatically have a seat on the ECB governing council.
In the Spanish situation, by contrast, the establishment would have you believe the militant Basques ETA nationalists harbor violent resolve. The YouTube Thousands March In Spain In Support Of ETA, reports that the EU labels this movement as terrorists. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that theCatalan Sovereignty Claim Blocked by Spain Constitutional Court, is but a spillover effort to discredit Catalonia’s claim. "Sovereignty is "not contemplated in our constitution for nationalities and regions that make up the state" and no one can break the principle of the "indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation," the ruling said.
Such illustrations all exhibit unique local concerns and grievances, while sharing a basic distrust of national authority. What stands out is an anserine eagerness to remain part of the EU and NATO. This factor may be a distinctively European trait, which seems to be lacking in the proper understanding that the surrender of national authority to a body of central banksters, social technocrats and empire military mercenaries is the fundamental cause of popular dissatisfaction.
Pat Buchanan in the article, Is Red State America Seceding?, provides numerous other European examples of discontent, then goes on to cite secession initiatives in the United States. It is striking that our country's unique experience has a shape difference from the blue-blooded patricians’ clashes that mark the history of Europe. Because of this difference, the indigenous cultures on the continent have never developed the same passion for individual liberty, which is inborn in the American revolutionary spirit.
Applying the same principles defended in the View from the Mount essay, Secession Movement Ready to Take Hold, would serve our European cousins well, in breaking up the EU and their NWO oppression.
Governments fall, while a consensual nation state can still survive. With the destruction of an accepted traditionalistic national identity, time-honored heritage becomes the target of dictatorial "do gooders" who facilitate subjugation of independent self-governing states.
Blowing out the candles of federal absolutism is the imperative of our age. Secession is not a dirty word, but is an indispensable solution. Dissolving the union of the suppressed, under the auspices of the subverted elite, is the path to social freedom and human liberty.Libertarian and author L. Neil Smith argues, "What happened in America in the 1860s was a war of secession, a war of independence, no different in principle from what happened in America in the 1770s and 1780s." Compare most of the secession movements in the 21th century as half measure efforts that are not willing to take on the yoke of the globalist central banking financial system. The lessons presented in the Radical Reactionary article, Representation, Secession and Taxation, should be applied and adopted by the European secession movements.
As discontent rises and practical solutions evaporate, that dirty historic sentiment begins to bubble to the surface, SECESSION. Russell D. Longcore provides a standard, when secession is a vital and justified option that many would accept.
Secession should be solemnly deliberated by the elected representatives and the state citizens. Secession should be initiated at the moment that any state reaches the point at which it will no longer accept the despotic tyranny and laws coming from the US Federal Government in Washington, DC. Or, secession should be initiated upon a collapse of the Dollar, or the imposition by Washington DC of martial law in the event of social upheaval.Discontent is not enough to overthrow the tyrants, who have definitively proven, that a European Union based upon top down authoritarianism is a lawful substitute for locally ruled government based upon common ethics and cultural heritage.
The dramatic rise in opposition to the ruling elites is most encouraging in the eternal struggle against despotism. However, the European socialist welfare model has produced generations of soft stock and irresponsible subjects. Surrendering national sovereignty was the monumental failure of the post-war era. Open borders to a confederation of dissimilar ethnic groups, attracts the disparate and incongruent, which builds even more pressure for secession.
As it stands today, the prospects for successful secession movements to attain their independence and autonomy are slim because each are fragmented. The correct and necessary element for separation, must be based upon the dissolution of the European Union and the elimination of the central banking system under the control of the international banksters.
Countries need to exercise their proper authority to coin their own currencies and maintain low taxation levels that fund minimum governmental functions.
While such a goal and objective is justified, the globalist controllers will not allow a serene exit from the monolith that they created. Marginal regional self-rule may eventually be reluctantly recognized, only if the basic leviathan structure remain intact and accepted by disgruntled camps. Notwithstanding, that approach can and will never bring about a restoration of national self-determination.
It is time for secession movements to unite and coalesce around a few fundamental principles, which they all share. The regional concerns are issues for local administration. Taking on the monster of globalist governance is a universal task.
Consequently, the undertaking domestically is to build groundswell defiance that moves past a modest grassroots opposition to incorporate the bulk of the rapidly declining middle class. This genuine moral majority must be willing to marginalize the federal government and restore the rightful authority of individual state jurisdiction.
If timid and docile Europeans are engaging in secession movements in such significant numbers, what is the excuse for industrious and energetic Americans from doing the same? This was the country for the home of the brave. Now is the time to restore that outlook with direct action.
Credit to Activist Post
Author John Whitehead has a terrifying new book out called “Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State.” The basic thrust and premise of the book is that America’s basic freedoms are under heavy assault on all fronts, and are in danger of being washed away entirely.
He outlines exactly what these various attacks are, how they are manifesting themselves, and precisely how we are being kept under round the clock surveillance at this point, by our own government and forces cooperating with them (mega corporations).
There are more than just these touched on in the book, but to provide a brief overview, among others, these are just some of the ways you are being tracked, around the clock in the “land of the free.”
Based on your consumer activities: Federal and State law enforcement agencies have begun acting in partnership, sharing data collected on you, and they’ve collected a lot of data in an attempt to identify what they term as “suspicious persons.”
What kinds of things can land you on the “suspicious persons” list, you ask? Great question. It turns out that it could be almost anything, up to and including people buying pallets of bottled water, photographing government buildings, and applying for a pilot’s license. Major retailers are getting in on the fun as well, and are often eager participants.
Big Box retailers like Target have been tracking and assessing the behavior of their customers for years. In 2015, mega-food corporations will be rolling out high-tech shelving outfitted with cameras in order to track the shopping behavior of customers, as well as information like the age and sex of shoppers.
Based on your public activities: It’s not hard to see which way the wind is blowing. Following the lead of big government, private corporations are jumping into the fray as well, negotiating incredibly lucrative contracts with various law enforcement agencies (at all levels) around the country.
The major goal here is to create an interlocking, utterly inescapable web of surveillance that encompasses all major urban centers. Companies like NICE and Bright Planet are selling services, expertise, and equipment to police departments with the promise of monitoring large groups of people seamlessly (think protests and rallies).
They are also engaging in extensive online surveillance, looking for any hints of “large public events, social unrest, gang communications, and criminally predicated individuals.” Defense contractors are attempting to take a bite out of this lucrative market as well. Raytheon has recently developed a software package known as Riot, which promises to predict the future behavior of an individual based upon his social media posts.
Based on your phone activities: The CIA is on record as having paid AT&T over $10 million dollars a year for years on end, in order to gain access to data on Americans’ phone calls abroad.
Based on your computer activities: Federal agents now employ a number of increasingly sophisticated hacking methods (oftentimes by hiring the world’s best hackers into their own ranks) in order to gain access to your computer activities and “see” whatever you’re seeing on your monitor.
Hacking software can be installed any number of ways, including USB, or via an email attachment or software update. It can then be used to search through files stored on a hard drive, log keystrokes, or take real time screenshots of whatever a person is looking at on their computer, whether personal files, web pages, or email messages. It can also be used to remotely activate cameras and microphones.
Based on your behavior: Thanks to a flood of federal money, police departments nationwide are able to fund a variety of new surveillance systems that turn the most basic human behaviors into suspicious situations to be studied and analyzed. Police in California and Massachusetts have received federal funds to create systems like that operated by the New York Police Department, which “links 3,000 surveillance cameras with license plate readers, radiation sensors, criminal databases and terror suspect lists.”
Police all across the country are also now engaging in unprecedented, large scale data mining operations, oftentimes with the help, and even blessing of private companies, in order to develop city-wide nets of surveillance. For example, police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, now work with IBM in order to “integrate new data and analytics tools into everyday crime fighting.”
Based on your face: Facial recognition software promises to create a society in which every individual who steps out into public is tracked and recorded as they go about their daily lives. The goal here is for government agents to be able to scan a crowd of people and instantly identify everyone present. Facial recognition programs are being rolled out in states all across the country (only twelve states do not use facial recognition software).
For example, in Ohio, 30,000 police officers and court employees are able to access the driver’s license images of people in the state, without any form of oversight to track their views or why they’re accessing them. The FBI is developing a $1 billion program, Next Gen Identification, which involves creating a massive database of mugshots for police all across the country.
Based on your car: License plate scanners, which can read plates from a distance of several hundred feet, can identify the owner of any car that comes within its sights, are growing in popularity among police agencies. High resolution cameras are affixed to overpasses or cop cars, these devices give police a clear idea of where your car was at a specific date and time, whether the doctor’s office, the bar, the mosque, or at a political rally.
State police in Virginia used license plate readers to record every single vehicle that arrived to President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 from Virginia. They also recorded the license plates of attendees at rallies prior to the election, including for then-candidate Obama and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. This data collection came at the request of the U.S. Secret Service.
Based on your social media activities: The use of social media as a form of surveillance will have some frightening consequences in coming years. As Helen Popkin, writing for NBC News observed, “We may very well face a future where algorithms bust people en masse for referencing illegal ‘Game of Thrones’ downloads, or run sweeps for insurance companies seeking non-smokers confessing to lapsing back into the habit.
Instead of that one guy getting busted for a lame joke misinterpreted as a real threat, the new software has the potential to roll, Terminator-style, targeting every social media user with a shameful confession or questionable sense of humor.”
Based on your metadata: Metadata is innocuous and almost unnoticed by most, but it is an incredibly invasive dataset. Indeed, with access to one’s metadata, one can “identify people’s friends and associates, detect where they were at a certain time, acquire clues to religious or political affiliations, and pick up sensitive information like regular calls to a psychiatrist’s office, late-night messages to an extramarital partner or exchanges with a fellow plotter.”
The National Security Agency (NSA) has been particularly interested in metadata, compiling information on Americans’ social connections “that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information.”
Mainway, the main NSA tool used to connect the dots on American social connections, collected 700 million phone records per day in 2011. That number increased by 1.1 billion in August 2011. The NSA is now working on creating “a metadata repository capable of taking in 20 billion ‘record events’ daily and making them available to N.S.A. analysts within 60 minutes.”
From the skies: Absolutely nothing will escape the government’s all seeing eyes, especially when drones take to the skies in 2015. These smart devices, ranging from the size of small aircraft to as small as a grasshopper will have the ability to see through the walls of your home, and be capable of tracking your every movement.
Interestingly and compellingly, however, one of the major contributing factors to our loss of privacy, and with it, freedom, goes unmentioned by the author. The fact that we are actively participating in our own surveillance.
Remember the Boston Bombings? Remember how the culprits were identified? It wasn’t from government placed cameras on buildings or signal lights, but rather, pictures taken off of someone’s cell phone.
We document ourselves and our lives. We document each other, and we gleefully pass that information on to the State. Even if we didn’t, there is little to prevent them from getting it anyway, but we cannot pretend that We, the People, have no culpability.
In the end, the author concludes that the surest way to allow the Police State to come to full flower is our own, continued inaction. All we need to do is…nothing. Nothing at all. If we do that, the Police State is inevitable. The author ends on a chilling note: “Thus, we have arrived in Orwell’s world. The question now is: will we take a stand and fight to remain free or will we go gently into the concentration camp?” "
Read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/January24/241.html#x3vXXcD6hUkkXgXF.99