Liberalism's sugar daddy state
Liberalism’s devotion to the welfare-ism, that created the West’s underclass and nurtured a more general dependency on the state, demonstrates a poor grasp of the human condition and economics. It is easy and self-serving to be benevolent, when you forcibly extract the money from others and redirect it to those most likely to vote for you come election time. Venal politicians in the U.S., having poured trillions into welfare since LBJ launched his ‘war on poverty’ in the 1960s, seemingly oblivious of the fact that poverty levels over time have hardly been reduced at all. The American experience is replicated in other western nations where the same policies have been followed. On top of that recall the earlier discussion on welfare. Poverty is a relative term. A western social welfare recipient’s poverty is a West African’s plenty. In my country, New Zealand over 300,000 people, from a population of 4.5 million are regularly on welfare. In the U.S. something like 50 million receive food stamps. David Stockman (Ibid, 2016) records that in 1960 total U.S. welfare expenditure was 24 billion. By 2010 it had multiplied a hundred times to 2.2 trillion putting an unsustainable burden on the whole economy and reducing, in my estimation, wage and salary workers to virtual work and tax serfs.
Liberalism’s cohorts within the intellectual middle class, who have uncritically swallowed its paternalism, have almost certainly never considered the example set by earlier immigrants – the Chinese, Jews and Vietnamese, referred to earlier. Hard work was the key to their success, not welfare hand-outs. We could add Lebanese and Cuban immigrants to that list. All of them valued hard work, education, self-reliance and success above the slouch-on-the-couch road to long-term dependence. Take the Cubans fleeing Castro’s regime in the late 50’s. Thomas Sowell records these astounding statistics from a 1994 Economist article:
…these Cuban refugees who found themselves at the bottom [dishwashing and tomato picking – Author], when their exodus began in 1959, had children, who by 1990, earned more than $50,000 a year twice as often as white Americans. Forty years after these Cubans refugees arrived in the United States, the total revenue of Cuban American businesses was greater than the total revenue of the entire nation of Cuba. Similarly, as late as 1994, the 57 million overseas Chinese produced as much wealth as the one billion people in China”.
It is statistics like this that blow the whistle on state paternalism. Our Judeo-Christian heritage taught the work ethic, resilience and dogged determination, ameliorated where necessary by local community charity. Our liberal masters prefer forcefully taking from some to wastefully redistribute to others so the recipients have difficulty learning the importance of self-reliance. The West’s underclass is the product of this coercive paternalism. Where, instead, is a more appropriate emphasis on ensuring people can live independently? When charity is needed it should be received with expressed gratitude, not taken as a right of entitlement. One can only imagine what might have been had all those tax dollars been left in private hands to be used more productively.
Let’s go back to more statistics, using the U.S. as our example again. The failed liberal ideology is reflected in these statistics, found in Goldberg’s book The Tyranny of Clichés. Prior to the imposition of LBJ’s ‘war on poverty’ poverty rates were around 19%, down from post-depression rates of 41%, which dropped to 21% during the Eisenhower administration – without massive welfare taxation. In other words poverty was tracking quite rapidly down. By 1974, after wealth transfers (taxation) to fight poverty had been fully introduced, poverty levels were at 11.2%. This percentage was almost certainly due to the previous downward trend, since the effects of the war on poverty had not yet kicked in. Thirty years later despite enormous increases in the amounts of transferred wealth thrown at poverty it increased, by 2004 to 12.7%. On Obama’s watch it extended to over 15%. Meanwhile, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a small corporate elite has skyrocketed. If state programmes are really the answer poverty rates should now be non-existent, but they are, along with the whole underclass and inequality issues, radically entrenched. There has been no panacea in Liberal welfare-ism and neo-liberalism. It has created a decades-long nightmare instead. If the trillions of tax dollars had been left in the hands of those best able to use it, businesses could have provided more jobs and communities would have had the resources to protect their own poor.
 Thomas Sowell draws on this referenced material in his 2015 book, Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective.