War on poverty is officially over

By Rod Haxton, editor

We’d like to officially declare that poverty has come to an end in the United States.

We don’t make that announcement lightly, but only after deep thought and with two important facts in our hands.

First of all, Forbes has released its list of the world’s richest people and there are now 1,426 billionaires (none of them weekly newspaper editors), with a total net worth of $5.4 trillion. The United States is leading the way in the accumulation of this wealth with 27 billionaires.

President Obama has proven that he is the anti-poverty president by adding 1.1 million new millionaires (none of them weekly newspaper editors) since he was elected in 2008, bringing the total number of millionaires to nearly 10 million.

Still not convinced that poverty is at an end?

On Tuesday, the Dow industrial average reached an all-time high. And it reached another all-time high of 14,296.24 the very next day.

With all of this great economic news, how can one not declare an end to the war on poverty?

Which is why it only makes sense that we should bring an end to food stamps, low-income energy assistance, public housing and child nutrition programs. We only need these things around when we have poor people, which clearly are becoming a vanishing species in the United States.

While we’re at it, let’s shut down all these needless food banks and Goodwill centers. It should be apparent by now that people are only going to these places because they’re bargain hunting - because they find it fashionable - not because they don’t have the money to feed and clothe their families.

By allowing these places to remain open, we are creating a culture of dependency. Or, as I like to refer to it, a “perpetuation of poverty entitlement.” As long as we allow this entitlement mentality to exist, then it’s going to create an even bigger burden on the rest of us.

Gov. Sam Brownback and fellow Republican governors aren’t creating their own Medicaid programs because they hate poor people. It’s because they see the numbers. As we create more and more millionaires and billionaires that can only mean there are fewer and fewer poor people who really . . . I mean really . . . need assistance with their medical and food bills.

You do the math. Put 12 “millionaire” marbles in one group and 12 “non-millionaire” marbles in another group. Move six marbles from the non-millionaire group into the millionaire group and what have you got? Fewer non-millionaires.

It’s Republican economics. It doesn’t get any more simple.

When we allow families to remain on the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, or we let students participate in the free- or reduced-price meal programs in our schools, we’re doing more than feeding an empty belly. We’re feeding these children with the idea that it’s okay to be poor because someone will look after you.

When we provide college grants and housing assistance we are only further perpetuating the culture of poverty entitlement.

We’re sure that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia addressed these very same concerns when Obamacare was heard by the Justices. It’s not that some of the Justices - along with a majority of Republican lawmakers - are against health care for everyone. They just don’t want overburdened taxpayers to get scammed by people who really have the money, but don’t want to mortgage their summer home in the Hamptons.

It’s unfair to characterize Republicans as heartless and unfair when they cut funding for programs in our schools which can help at-risk children, or they want to cut funding for WIC, Head Start or any number of other programs which target the so-called “impoverished” people in this increasingly wealthy nation.

All they’re really telling kids is you should look at your parent’s tax returns or look at their stock portfolio. See if they aren’t sitting on a pile of money they aren’t telling you about. See if you aren’t one of this nation’s new millionaires.

See if your family really does have the money to buy you that new Corvette, but they’re just hiding behind the excuse that, “We can’t afford it.”

No longer should Republicans be made to feel guilty about whether or not they’re doing enough for the impoverished. Now that poverty is over we can finally turn our attention to those things which really matter to the growing number of wealthy in this nation - a simpler tax code, and elimination of income taxes, inheritance taxes and the tax on capital gains.

It makes no sense to continue policies which were designed to support a class of people who are disappearing from our society.

As for everyone who still thinks they’re poor - who feels the millionaire and billionaire bandwagon has passed them by - just remember that eliminating these programs is for our own benefit. We can’t end the poverty entitlement culture until we put an end to the very entitlements that are preventing us from entering the world of the uber-wealthy.

Our children will thank us.

Rod Haxton can be reached at editor@screcord.com

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