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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

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Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Mommy-state, Liberalism and the ‘Poor’

Socialists try to justify their reason to exist

by StFerdIII

As the French Conservative Voltaire wisely noted, "In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other." How apt. In order to justify their present and immoderate political philosophy, socialists and statists produce Dickensian stories of grinding poverty; capitalist exploitation; Jewish cabals; business corruption and the immorality of individual initiative, selfishness and ‘getting ahead’ in life. All to be resolved through a smiling, egalitarian, caring elite who will rebuild the world in their kindly image. For the statists, bureaucrats, socialists and tree-huggers nothing spells morality like socialism and the management of society by a technocratic elite dedicated to the equal sharing of misery to paraphrase Churchill, and the extraction of wealth from producers and ‘thinkers’ as illustrated by Ayn Rand’s novels on libertarianism. However a common sense perusal of data will show that poverty is best addressed through market growth, capitalism and the limitation of government. Socialists and liberals have every reason to lie about poverty to justify their own existence and raise ever more taxes and programs of redistribution. Yet the historical decline of poverty directly contradicts the irrational socialist dogma of left-liberals.

The United States is an example of how the market – when freed from government nonsense – will grow through various means to alleviate poverty by fabricating jobs that pay ever higher wages; creating new industries and opportunities; innovating new technologies which reduce physical labor and drudgery and provide comfort and health; and create new medicines which allow us to live longer. In 1750 on the cusp of the Industrial and Enlightenment Revolution the US poverty rate was over 60 % as measured by the ability to survive from day to day and provide for the basics of life. During the 19th century which in the latter stages was the most free market economy in world history, the poverty rate collapsed to about 35 % by 1900. Literally millions of people were lifted out of illiteracy, hopelessness, and joblessness through the most inventive age in mankind’s development – the late 19th century US economy.

Yet the miracles did not stop. By 1955 the poverty level was below 25 %; in 1975 it was 20 %; and by 2006 it is has fallen to about 10-12% of the population. In fact if you add in government non-cash handouts the poverty rate in the US is 7-8 % in 2006. Through the power of capital markets; competition; innovation and dynamism the US in 250 years has reduced the seemingly permanent institution of desperate scarcity to a natural rate of zero. Poverty will always exist, not due to exploitation, but due to the choices that people make.

This is clear if you look at who is poor. In the US most of the so-called poor [living below the poverty line of $19000 US for a family of 4 or $11000 for two]; are disproportionately children and disproportionately black: in 2005 while 12.7% of the total population was below the poverty line, 17.8% of children under 18 and 24.7% of blacks were living below this standard. Clearly younger people and blacks, have a higher risk of being poor. So the Marxists and socialists will wail that this is due to exploitation, white power, and the Jews. But hold on. These arguments have never made any sense especially in the post 1900 period. Those who are poor usually suffer from 3 key problems; 1. a lack of meaningful education including dropping out of high school and thus an inability to integrate into the greater society. 2. a lack of meaningful hard and soft skills that can be used profitably by a business as part of its resource base and 3. a background of broken homes including abuse; divorced parents; teenage pregnancies; drug usage or alcoholism. These 3 key problem areas seem to resonate more strongly in the black sub culture than in the white culture, providing the key reasons why more blacks are poor than whites. It is the culture stupid.

Now there is another problem as well. The very definition of poverty used by statists and jabbering liberals is politically massaged. Liberals and socialists will tearfully scream that 20 % or 15 % or some astronomically inaccurate number of people who are poor. However in the real world using some proper analysis the poverty rates are well within the minimum wage requirements. For instance using the official US poverty level [as developed in the early 1960s by Mollie Orshansky of the Social Security Administration], the poverty line varies by family size. For a single mother with one child, it was $13,461 in 2005; for a two-parent, two-child family, it was $19,806. So if you are a single mom with one child working at the minimum wage then you would earn in one year $7 per hour x 40 hours per week x 50 weeks or about $14.000. At that level you will not pay Federal taxes. This means that the minimum wage is enough to lift people out of poverty.

But hold on. The picture gets better for these people working for the minimum wage. Added to the poor incomes must be items such as private charity; private institutional support; capital gains, non-cash government benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing subsidies as well as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Don’t forget also that 50 % of the ‘poor’ own their home; 70 % own a car and 90 % own white goods appliances. If you were to add in some items from the above list plus the ‘equity’ value from these assets than the US poverty rate declines from the official 12 % level to less than 8 %. While 8 % might be an issue of concern, it certainly isn’t the widespread misery portrayed in the Euro, Canadian or leftist US media, nor is it an insoluble problem. Many of those who are poor today could climb out of their low income levels by learning some basic truisms like: get married and stay married; don’t have a child before you are married; earn an education; learn skills and stay out jail and trouble.

The above are called ‘virtues’. In by-gone days one had to demonstrate virtues to get help. Those who tried to assimilate into society were supported by private charity, missions and lodges which proliferated in the 19th century but with the rise of the mommy-state have long since died out. In today’s world poverty is not a community problem to resolve but the purview of the grey mass of centralized bureaucrats with their clutch of tax dollars and tearful rhetoric about relativity, the victim is not to blame mentality; and that the white man oppresses theme. Sadly about 90 % of the money targeted for the poor never makes it there it is corrupted, used up in overhead costs or shifted to other programs – but the liberals and socialists will persist in stealing more private property from the ‘rich’ [those who make enough to survive] to give to the poor and needy including regions; corporations; lobby groups and gay rights activists.

In the post modern mommy-state and big socialist world of low politics, Western Cultural virtues are deemed to be evil. Poverty and black cultural issues for instance are the fault of whitey. Only bureaucrats and liberal technocrats educated in the Ivy League have the wisdom to lead us out of current predicament by ignoring history; ignoring facts; ignoring virtue and erecting programs of redistribution and imposing guilt on any person or group that supports the Western Enlightenment tradition which, as we can witness with the very tepid and minimal opening up of China and India, results in massive benefits for the poor.

Yet an obvious fact is this: if we had less government in existence we could alas completely eradicate poverty. But don’t expect such a common sense approach from those in power. Expect to hear more socialist, Marxian rhetoric and rehashed Leninism.

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