God Wants Welfare? My Response to Jim Wallis

From the Corner:

After literally decades of failed social policies — policies that have helped create a permanent underclass, fostered a dependent spirit in millions of citizens, and helped explode the illegitimacy rate (all for the low, low price of several trillion dollars) — it would be tempting to roll our eyes at Wallis’s christianized socialism. Unfortunately, however, the evangelical progressive Left is gaining ground in American Christianity. Thus, columns like Wallis’s demand a response.

First, it is now crystal clear that more social spending does not mean less poverty. As the chart below shows, serious progress in reducing the poverty rate was made before the War on Poverty commenced. Since then, while social spending always rises, the poverty rate does not always decrease and instead bounces around in much the same way as the business cycle.

Read the whole thing (and check out the charts).  It should all look quite familiar.

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  • Surprise123

    As to the permanent underclass of folks, it’s hard to say exactly what are the leading causes. Was it the move of factories, factories that paid high wages, away from the major industrial cities (and, eventually offshore to an authoritarian Communist regime that shall remain nameless)? Was it television, that most intrusive of narcotic – technologies that introduced the permissive youth-centered culture of the sixties into the very heart of the American family? Was it government policies that provided assistance without any expectation of work or effort on the part of the recipients (a type of Welfare that Bill Clinton’s Welfare reforms eventually did away with)? Was it the ever increasing speed of a hyper – world economy, an economy addicted to change and in which workers might have over 9 jobs and 3 careers in a single lifetime, with all the trauma and disruption (which, of course, adversely affect family life) required in the need to constantly re-invent oneself?
    I think it’s simplistic to repeat the mantra over and over again that government caused the permanent underclass. Besides, we see societies in which government is unable or unwilling to address the needs of the underclass, including those societies in which religion plays a major role, and poverty is far worse. Look at the horrific flavelas in Brazil (Catholic), the slums of New Dehli (Hinduism), the shantytowns of Mexico (Catholic).