Thomas Edsall, in the Times: Cutting the Poor out of Welfare

This is taken from the Times article:

Anti-poverty policy, like all public policy set in the political arena, is determined more by the balance of power than by evidence-based analysis or by humanitarian concerns. There is no other way to explain how one of the most advanced countries in the world sits passively by as legions of men without high school degrees disappear from the workforce, or to explain how our country permits 1.17 million children to survive on $2 or less a day.

Might one go even further that Edsall and say that in the developed, as well as in the undeveloped world, where youth unemployment is taken for granted, most all nations, not just the United States, do sit passively before the sight of legions of idle young men, who have no job and are no longer even looking for one.

Now the Left would say to this, or imply as Edsall does, that it is the responsibility of the governments of nations to put young men to work by making more jobs available.

And this position does seem to make sense at first glance.

But then the Right would say that it is not within the power of governments to put people to work, (except of course as in the Middle East today when idle young men are drawn into an armed struggle they probably don’t even understand). Only individuals by their entrepreneurship will add to the number of jobs available.

And so far recent experience and recent history seems to bear out the Right’s point of view, that more government is not the answer. In any case it’s really not that “our country permits 1.17 million children to survive on $2 or less a day.” It’s rather that only the people closest to those 1.17 million children can improve those children’s lives and so far it may be the government’s own programs that are the principal obstacle to their doing so.

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