Thursday, January 28, 2010

Are Progressive Democrats Using Welfare to Keep Black Americans in Poverty?

My Fellow Americans,

I want to speak with you today about what I believe has lead to the demise of many black Americans and the black culture in general. I’m sick of the way black Americans are treated and how they’re viewed as the stereotypical welfare recipient.

The Refounding Father will defend and support those that don’t have the ability to do so themselves. The government is using black Americans as a fundamental means of furthering the progressive agenda of the Democratic (and yes, even Republican) party.

I firmly support and believe in the right of all Americans to pursue their happiness – it is an inalienable right. However, I don’t believe it’s the government’s job to fund that happiness. I also don’t believe that comments like that of Andre Bauer, lieutenant governor of South Carolina, have any place in the discussion either.

In case you missed it, here is what Bauer had to say regarding government assistance to the poor: "My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed! You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that."

While I do not support what Bauer said, I will attempt to decipher what he meant. Basically, Bauer was saying that welfare only leads to more welfare. If you keep feeding a stray, you make them dependent on you. Then, if they reproduce, their offspring are dependent on you too. What you end up with is a continuous cycle of dependency and an inability for people to fend for themselves.

It is greatly troubling to me that many people continue to believe that it is the government's job (and, therefore, the taxpayers' job) to take care of us financially. We have grown up in a culture where that is what is expected and that is what we know. I am here to tell you today that it's time to put an end to it.

No more welfare. No more bailouts -- for anybody. It's time for people to once again be responsible for themselves. It doesn't matter whether you are poor or whether you worked all your life and lost all your money in your retirement account. It is not the government's job (or the taxpayers' job) to provide your happiness -- only to get out of your way and make sure nobody hinders your pursuit.

Welfare is the greatest money pit in the world. Speaking of "money pits," have you ever seen the movie with the namesake? Well, in the movie, a young married couple poors their life savings into a beat up old house. And seemingly everywhere they turn something goes wrong -- the stairs collapse, the roof is leaking, the heater is broken, etc.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but how does that not describe MOST government-run programs (i.e. Social Security, Medicare, the welfare system)? The government throws the money of hardworking taxpaying Americans into a bottomless pit in the name of "helping those who are less fortunate." Meanwhile, the "bones" of these programs are wobbling, their foundations faulty, and the structure of each program itself is a pigeon dropping away from collapsing.

In the guise of political correctness, people tend to stay away from topics like welfare and poverty – unless they are talking about instituting ANOTHER government program. I’m saying that it is these very programs that are implemented that are designed to keep people poor – a classic progressive and Democratic strategy. Democrats want to keep people poor in order to promise them these great programs to help them escape poverty. This ensures these people will continue to vote for them.

Unfortunately, for the black Americans, they are the target of the "charity" of progressive Democrats. I know -- you don’t believe me. That’s why I prepared for this argument.

To help explain this belief, let me throw some statistics and research your way:

1. A 2008 estimate of the United States population from puts us at over 304 million people. Of those 304 million, white persons who are not hispanic accounted for 65.6% (199 million), 12.8% (39 million) are black, and 15.4% (47 million) are of hispanic or latino origin.

2. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "One in three food stamp households is headed by an African American. More than a third of food stamp benefits — over $10 billion per year — are issued to African-Americans." Furthermore, "Nearly 9 million African Americans receive food stamps each month. This represents a quarter of the African American population."

3. In its 2008 Annual Report to the U.S. Congress, the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) cited Indicators of Welfare Dependence. In its review, HHS found that "Among racial and ethnic groups, Non-Hispanic Blacks were more likely to be welfare dependent (10.2 percent) than were Non-Hispanic Whites (2.2 percent) or Hispanics of any race (5.7 percent)." Furthermore, "Among age categories, children from birth to 5 years of age were more likely to live in families that were welfare dependent than were children of other age categories." And finally, "Among family types, persons living in female-headed families were more likely to be welfare dependent than those in other family categories."

4. This leads me to an article published in the American Sociological Review by Steven Ruggles, Professor of History and Population Studies at the University of Minnesota and the Director of the Minnesota Population Center. The article, titled "The Origins of the African-American Family Structure," explains that "From 1880 to 1960, black children were two to three times more likely to reside without one or both parents than were white children."  (Note: If you're having trouble reading the Ruggles article, try saving it to your desktop first).

5. From there, Ruggles builds the case toward how the living arrangements of children should be the focal point when considering the differences between blacks and whites in family structure. In his research, Ruggles found that in 1880, 70% of black children lived in households with both parents compared to 87% for white children. In 1980, however, we saw that same number decrease to only 47% for blacks. The same number stayed roughly the same at 84% for whites.

6. When taking into account households with a single parent, 13% of black children lived in households with their mother only in 1880. That number in 1980 for blacks -- 37%, while only 11.7% for white children. These statistics offered by Ruggles cite that single parent households are a fundamental factor when considering differences in the households of children. The numbers speak for themselves and provide a historical perspective.

7. Per the May 23, 2001 Heritage Foundation article titled "Understanding Differences in Black and White Child Poverty Rates," by Robert Rector, Kirk A. Johnson, and Patrick F. Fagan, "In 1999, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, 33.1 percent of black children lived in poverty compared with 13.5 percent of white children."

8. Reasons for this vast difference are similar to what Ruggles explains above, including the fact that "Black American children are more likely to live in poverty than are white children, primarily because black children are far more likely to live in single-parent families and to be on welfare." Also, "Black and white Americans differ dramatically in marriage patterns and welfare dependence. In 1999, 68.8 percent of black American children were born out of wedlock. By contrast, the out-of-wedlock birth rate for white Americans was 26.7 percent. Similarly, black children were five times more likely to be dependent on welfare from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program than white children. Since single parenthood and welfare dependence are the primary factors producing child poverty in the United States, any meaningful strategy to reduce the disparities in black and white child poverty must focus on increasing marriage and reducing welfare dependence among blacks."

9. According to a June 5, 1996 article by Robert E. Rector and Patrick F. Fagan of the Heritage Foundation, titled "How Welfare Harms Kids," welfare actually "has ended up damaging and abusing the very children it was intended to save. The welfare system has failed because the ideas upon which it was founded are flawed. The current system is based on the assumption that higher welfare benefits and expanded welfare eligibility are good for children. According to this theory, welfare reduces poverty, and so will increase children's lifetime well-being and attainment. This is untrue. Higher welfare payments do not help children; they increase dependence and illegitimacy, which have a devastating effect on children's development."

10. The article goes on to explain that: "It is welfare dependence, not poverty, that has the most negative effect on children. Recent research by Congressional Budget Office Director June O'Neill shows that increasing the length of time a child spends on welfare may reduce the child's IQ by as much as 20 percent. Welfare dependency as a child has a negative effect on the earnings and employment capacity of young men. The more welfare income received by a boy's family during his childhood, the lower the boy's earnings will be as an adult, even when compared to boys in families with identical non-welfare income."

11. Also according to the article: "Welfare also plays a powerful role in promoting illegitimacy. Research by CBO Director O'Neill also shows, for example, that a 50 percent increase in monthly [Aid to Families with Dependent Children] AFDC and food stamp benefit levels will cause a 43 percent increase in the number of illegitimate births within a state. Illegitimacy, in turn, has an enormous negative effect on children's development and on their behavior as adults. Being born outside of marriage and raised in single parent homes: (1) Triples the level of behavioral and emotional problems among children; (2) Nearly triples the level of teen sexual activity; (3) Doubles the probability a young woman will have children out of wedlock; and, (4) Doubles the probability a boy will become a threat to society, engage in criminal activity, and wind up in jail."

Did you get all that?

To summarize the points above, the reason the welfare rolls primarily include blacks comes down to one basic element -- the government's distruction of the black culture. The combination of the black culture (mainly the single mother household and welfare dependence) coupled with the government's need to keep black people in poverty provides the perfect formula for continual dependence. We do not need more welfare. That is what Bauer was trying to say in a not-so-subtle way.

We need to remember who we are, America. We need to remember that we employ the government -- they work for us. We need to remember that it is not up to our neighbor or the government to provide for us. That burden rests solely on the person who looks back at you in the mirror.

We also need to remember that, overall, America is a generous nation. According to Giving USA, "U.S. charitable giving [was] estimated to be $307.65 billion in 2008. Giving in [the] worst economic climate since [the] Great Depression [exceeded] $300 billion for [the] second year in a row." And let's not forget the millions given by individual citizens and corporations in light of the earthquake in Haiti.

America doesn't need its government to take care of the people -- the people can do the job quite well when given the opportunity.

The government just needs to get out of their way.

(Photo: Google)

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