A cure for poverty

Abstract:Government anti-poverty programs share the flawed assumption that poverty in America is primarily a material problem that can be solved by increased welfare and entitlement spending. Poverty in America is often the result of a relational problem, such as fatherlessness or community breakdown, which government programs cannot adequately address. However, the institutions of civil society--family, churches, and other associations--are well suited to providing the personalized assistance needed to repair these relational problems, enabling people to overcome poverty and lead healthy lives. Instead of crowding out private efforts with welfare programs, government can best serve the poor by establishing and maintaining social conditions that allow families, churches, and other institutions of civil society the freedom to serve those who are in need.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: politics, poverty

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  • There was the old joke that Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty, and by the 1990s, Poverty won.

    Then Clinton-Gingrich got us TANF, which was supposed to be temporary, but no one has ever said what happened to the people after their five years of benefits were up, or, in the post-2008 economic problems, when most people can't get jobs, whether the "former" welfare recipients can.

    While I agree that dysfunctional families (and I would add dysfunctional individuals) may be a cause of poverty, I really doubt that the churches are the answer. First, they also claim that they are broke, and then consider which demographic group has the most poverty and the most preachers. You bring up Father Pfleger in another context, but how many teen pregnancies and 30 year old grandmothers has he prevented?

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