Tag Archives: Poverty

Economist Walter Williams explains how to not be poor

Economist Walter Williams
Economist Walter Williams

Here is his article on wealth and poverty on Creators.

First, there is no real poverty in the United States:

There is no material poverty in the U.S. Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor. Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor”, report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K. What we have in our nation are dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives aided and abetted by the welfare state.

Second, the “poverty” is not caused by racism, but by poor choices:

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 35 percent and among whites at 13 percent. The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent, and among whites it’s 30 percent. A statistic that one doesn’t hear much about is that the poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8 percent. For married white families, it’s 5 percent. Now the politically incorrect questions: Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency? Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?

There may be some pinhead sociologists who blame the weak black family structure on racial discrimination. But why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940, and why, as Dr. Thomas Sowell reports, do we find that census data “going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery … showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940”? Is anyone willing to advance the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity?

Third, avoiding poverty is the result of good choices:

No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault.

If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault. Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior. It turns out that a married couple, each earning the minimum wage, would earn an annual combined income of $30,000. The Census Bureau poverty line for a family of two is $15,500, and for a family of four, it’s $23,000. By the way, no adult who starts out earning the minimum wage does so for very long.

Fourth, what stops people from making good choices is big government:

Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent about $18 trillion at the federal, state and local levels of government on programs justified by the “need” to deal with some aspect of poverty. In a column of mine in 1995, I pointed out that at that time, the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, “you could purchase every U.S. factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building. With what’s left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet. If you’re still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation”. Today’s total of $18 trillion spent on poverty means you could purchase everything produced in our country each year and then some.

Walter Williams is one of my two favorite economists, the other being Thomas Sowell. By sheer coincidence, they both happen to have grown up poor, and they both happen to be black. They understand what causes poverty very well. I recommend their books to you if you want to understand economics.

Trump signs bill to allow states to drug-test applicants for unemployment benefits

Ted and Heidi Cruz have a plan to simplify the tax code
Ted Cruz and and his supportive wife Heidi

I liked this story, because not only did it talk about Ted Cruz, but it also shows a major difference between Republicans and Democrats.

The story is from the far left Dallas Morning News.

Excerpt:

President Donald Trump on Friday signed legislation backed by two Texas Republicans that will allow states to expand the pool of applicants for unemployment benefits who can be drug tested.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Kevin Brady of The Woodlands, nullifies a Labor Department rule that went into effect in September limiting drug tests to applicants who had a job that does regular drug screenings.

“Under the previous administration, the Department of Labor undermined the ability of states to conduct drug testing in their programs as permitted by Congress,” Cruz said in a written statement. “This rule was yet another example of executive overreach by the Obama administration, and I commend President Trump for signing this resolution into law.”

The measure traveled down a partisan path in Congress, passing through the Senate earlier this month with a party-line vote. Four Democrats in the House voted in favor of the bill in February, but no Texans.

“After 5 years of battling with the Obama Department of Labor, states like Texas will now be allowed to drug test folks on unemployment to ensure they are job ready from day one,” Brady said in a written statement. “This is a win for families, workers, job creators, and local economies.”

[…]“We are not helping anyone by leaving them in a position where they are dependent on and addicted to drugs,” Cruz said.

I find this law so reasonable that I cannot believe that anyone who has a job and pays taxes could oppose it. Now, it’s true that a lot of Democrats either don’t work or get money from government salaries, government spending, or welfare. But even so, I would expect them to see that it is wrong to waste the taxpayer dollars of honest workers and their entrepreneurial employers on people who are addicted to drugs.

I hope that this bill will clear the way for conservative governors to get people off of welfare and into the workplace.

My favorite governor is Scott Walker, and he is discussed in this recent article from the center-left The Hill.

Excerpt:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Monday said he would ask the state’s Republican-led legislature to undertake one of the most aggressive welfare reform packages since a wave of new measures passed in the mid-1990s.

Walker’s plan, “Wisconsin Works for Everyone,” would impose new work requirements on both able-bodied adults with school-age children who receive state food assistance and those who receive housing assistance. Both work plans, which would be tested on a pilot basis, would require recipients to be employed for at least 80 hours per month, or to be enrolled in job training programs. Those who do not meet work requirements would see part of their benefits cut.

“We believe our public assistance programs should ask able-bodied adults to take steps toward self-sufficiency through work, while also providing comprehensive tools to help them get and keep a job,” Walker said Monday.

The Wisconsin Republican has made welfare reform a key element of his second term in office.

“In 2017, we are going to push the federal government to allow Wisconsin to go even further, to be a leader once again on welfare reform,” Walker said last week during his State of the State address.

The plan proposed Monday would expand job training programs and employer resource networks for those who receive government aid. It would create an earned income tax credit specifically aimed at getting younger Wisconsinites into the workforce, and it would require existing business license requirements to be reviewed by a state panel in hopes of reducing red tape.

 

I also expect that Walker’s plans will get no Democrat support.

It really says something about how differently Republicans and Democrats view the money they take from taxpayers. Republicans want to be responsible in how they spend taxpayer money, whereas Democrats want to waste it so they can feel generous and preen in front of crowds about how generous they are. But you can’t be generous with someone else’s money.

The best way to help a person who is dependent on government is not to keep them on drugs, and keep them on welfare. They need to guided out of drug use, and into a job. Forging your own success makes you happier than being dependent anyway.

Report: Women more likely to live in poverty than men

Here's the left-wing media
Young women vote overwhelmingly for Democrats – is it working for them?

Brad Wilcox tweeted this article from the leftist The Daily Progress. Let’s see what it says, then I’ll comment.

The article identifies three reasons why women are poorer than men: single motherhood, divorce and the “pay gap”.

Look:

During their working years, women tend to earn less than men, and when they retire, they’re more likely to live in poverty.

These are women who raised children and cared for sick and elderly family members, often taking what savings and income they had and spending it on things besides their own retirement security.

The National Institute on Retirement Security, a nonprofit research center, reports that women are 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished at age 65 and older. Women age 75 to 79 are three times more likely.

While experts cite a pay gap as a major cause for retirement insecurity, other factors play a role, from single parenthood and divorce to the fact that women typically live longer than men.

Dr. Wilcox makes the point that this poverty is due to a retreat from marriage. That’s true. But look at the three factors the left-wing article itself cites: single motherhood, divorce and pay gap. Are these policies instances of women being victimized, or are their problems self-inflicted?

1) Single motherhood is caused by the welfare policies that young women favor when they vote overwhelmingly for bigger government. If we take money from working taxpayers, or borrow it from the next generation, and we give it to women to pay them to have fatherless children, then more women will do this. And of course this is a path to poverty. There just isn’t enough money to steal from taxpayers or borrow from future taxpayers to pay for women to have children with no man in the home who can provide for those children. People do more of what you pay them to do. The more money we give to single mothers, the more fatherless children we get, and it creates a host of problems that we can’t continue to pay for as a society, e.g. – crime. The mistake was paying women to make poor decisions in the first place, but welfare spending a policy that most young, unmarried women support. They’re not victims, they’re doing this to themselves.

This new Prager University video from Larry Elder explains why women embrace single motherhood:

We’re paying them to make bad decisions, and it creates more poverty.

2) No-fault divorce was caused by the radical feminism that many young, unmarried women support. This policy was brought in to make it easy for women to divorce without having to have a good reason (70% of divorces are initiated by women, mostly over “unhappiness”). Feminists don’t like the idea of being “constrained” to marry a man because he is a good provider, protector and moral/spiritual leader. A strong man is intimidating – he will want to make decisions and lead, and we can’t let him do that. A better idea is to marry a man who doesn’t provide, protect or lead – that way, we don’t have to respect him or let him lead. Naturally, when this entertaining, irresponsible man is unable to provide, then women divorce him and find themselves poor and unable to remarry – having lost their youth and beauty to “fun” men. No-fault divorce is not a policy that men supported. It is a policy that feminists supported, because they want to be able to nuke relationships that don’t make them feel happy. The most volatile, short-lived relationships are lesbian relationships, because women naturally expect relationships to fulfill them instead of expecting relationships to be tough and challenging. There just isn’t a path to prosperity for women into old age if they value feeling happy over self-sacrificial love and moral obligations. We need to teach women to prefer marriage-capable of men instead of fun, entertaining, no-leadership men. We need to teach women to make commitments that override their changing feelings. The problem of divorce is self-inflicted.

3) Lastly, the pay gap. I have written before about how the pay gap is largely related to women’s own choices about what to study, what job to take, and how many hours to work. It is simply not possible for a woman to earn as much as a man when she does a degree in English, women’s studies or other nonsense. Men don’t study what we want to study. We study things we hate – like petroleum engineering and software engineering. We do this so that we can provide for a wife and children, so that we can get what we we want most: respect and the (earned) authority to lead a home. Most men are commitment machines. We hate fun, we want to do hard things, and to be respected for being reliable and steady. The problem of the “pay gap” is self-inflicted.

So, in conclusion, yes – many women are poorer than men, especially as they age. But their poverty is self-inflicted. They are poor because they embraced ideas that would make them poorer. Three ideas destroyed their prosperity: single mother welfare, no-fault divorce, and following your heart in education and career. None of these things will provide women with security or prosperity – especially now that the debt has doubled to $20 trillion, and there is no more to borrow to continue the government-as-sugar-daddy plan of feminists. No amount of reassurance from pious pastors and permissive parents can save women from the consequences of their own irrational embrace of radical feminism. It turns out that there is no escape from economics, and the universe does not magically adjust to make the feelings and intuitions of entitled Disney princesses “work out”.

Can blacks and Hispanics blame their troubles on racism by whites?

Does government provide incentives for people to get married?
The success of children is due to their parents’ choices, not from outside racism

If the underperformance of blacks and Hispanics in America were caused by racism by whites, then it follows that Asian-Americans would be underperforming as well. But Asian-Americans are outperforming whites. Let’s look at three reasons why, and see if blacks and Hispanics can learn how to succeed by looking at the Asian example.

Here is the summary of this post:

  1. Asian Americans marry before they have children
  2. Asian Americans save more of what they earn
  3. Asian Americans monitor their children’s educational progress

Now let’s take a look at each of these in order.

Asians marry before they have children, so the kids have two parents
Asians marry before they have children, so the kids have two parents

1. Asian Americans marry before they have children

This article is from Family Studies.

It says:

Eight in ten Asian-American kids live with married birth parents, compared with about seven in ten European-American kids, five in ten Hispanic-American kids, and only about three in ten African-American kids. Half of black children live with their mothers only, compared to three in ten Hispanic children, less than two in ten white children and less than one in ten Asian children.

Naturally, children who have two parents to look after them do better, because one parent alone cannot work and do household chores and monitor the children as easily as two parents can. The decision about whether to have sex before marriage is entirely under the control of the grown-ups. It cannot be blamed on racism, poverty and other non-moral pre-occupations of the secular left. Marriage is a moral issue, and Asian-Americans do the moral thing, and marry before they have children.

Asian household wealth set to surpass whites
Asian household wealth set to surpass whites

2. Asian Americans save more of what they earn

This article from CNN Money explains:

Asians have had higher median incomes than their white counterparts, according to a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The typical Asian family has brought home more money for most of the past two decades.

[…][Asians] will surpass whites in net worth in the next decade or two, Fed researchers said.

[…]In 1989, the median Asian family had about half the net worth of its white peer. By 2013, they had more than two-thirds.

The gap between whites and blacks and Hispanics, meanwhile, remained little changed over that time period.

Asians have similar financial habits to whites, in terms of investing and borrowing. Both groups are more likely than blacks and Hispanics to invest in stocks and privately-owned businesses and to have more liquid assets, which serves as a buffer against financial shocks. And, on average, the former have about half as much debt as the later.

As a result, Asians and whites have more financial stability than blacks and Hispanics, which also allows the former to build more wealth.

Everyone has to earn and save money, but in some cultures, it becomes normal to not save part of what you earn. That needs to stop. But it has nothing to do with discrimination due to skin color. In Asian culture, there is no glorification of consumer spending on sparkles, bling and other ostentatious wealth. Asians don’t want to appear to be wealthy, they want to actually be wealthy – by saving money.

Composite SAT scores by race and income levels
Composite SAT scores by race and income levels: Asians outperform at every income level

3. Asian Americans monitor their children’s educational progress

This article from Investors Business Daily explains how Asian parents don’t just make demands on their kids to learn, they actively monitor their progress and talk to their kids’ teachers:

Asian-American parents tend to oversee their children’s homework, hold them accountable for grades and demand hard work as the ticket to a better life. And it pays off: Their children are soaring academically.

[…]As a group, Americans need to take a page from the Asian parents’ playbook. American teens rank a dismal 28th in math and science knowledge, compared with teens in other countries, even poor countries.

Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are at the top. We’ve slumped. For the first time in 25 years, U.S. scores on the main test for elementary and middle school education (NAEP) fell. And SAT scores for college-bound students dropped significantly.

[…]Many [Asian students]from poor or immigrant families, but they outscore all other students by large margins on both tests, and their lead keeps widening.

In New York City, where Asian-Americans make up 13% of overall students, they win more than 50% of the coveted places each year at the city’s eight selective public high schools, such as Bronx Science and Stuyvesant.

What’s at work here? It’s not a difference in IQ. It’s parenting. That’s confirmed by sociologists from City University of New York and the University of Michigan. Their study showed that parental oversight enabled Asian-American students to far outperform the others.

No wonder many successful charter schools require parents to sign a contract that they will supervise their children’s homework and inculcate a work ethic.

You can see an updated image with the latest scores here.

It’s not enough to just outsource the education of your children to a bunch of non-STEM education-degree-holding teachers. Teachers can be good, and some work very hard. But the Democrat teacher unions prevent the firing of teachers who underperform. This is especially true in non-right-to-work states (Democrat states). So, you cannot depend on teachers to educate your children, and Asian parents don’t. That’s why their kids learn. Performance of children in school is not affected by discrimination against skin color, it’s affected by the level of involvement of parents.

Conclusion

We have learned that the success of Asian-Americans in America is all earned. And this proves that there is no such thing as “racism” that holds back non-whites. If blacks and Hispanics imitated the behaviors of Asians (not whites, but Asians), then they would achieve just as well as Asians do. It’s not a race problem, it’s a behavior problem. It’s not a “racism” problem, it’s a behavior problem. It’s an us problem, it’s not a them problem.

Which political party governs the cities that have so much poverty and crime?

Welfare and out-of-wedlock births
Welfare and out-of-wedlock births

First, let’s find out what is happening in Milwaukee. David French explains in this article on National Review.

He writes:

Police pulled [Sylville] Smith over on Saturday afternoon, he fled from the scene, and police gave chase. Smith was carrying a stolen handgun. An officer with six years’ experience caught Smith, reportedly ordered him to drop the gun, and opened fire when Smith failed to comply, shooting him the in the chest and arm. Smith died.

The officer who shot the man who pointed a gun at him was black. It was a black police officer!

Next, riots ensued – and one of the rioters even explained why he was rioting:

According to police, the shooting was caught on camera. (The footage has not yet been released.) But rather than wait for the evidence or for any semblance of an investigation, hundreds of Milwaukee residents rioted, burning police cars, looting stores, and attacking police. Indeed, to listen to some of the protesters and political leaders, the shooting was merely the excuse for the riot, not the justification. Here’s one protester telling reporters that riots are happening because “rich people, they got all this money, and they not . . . trying to give us none.”

Here’s the video:

It’s the “rich people”‘s responsibility to give the rioters some of their stuff. Because in America, you can’t do anything on your own, the only way to get “stuff” is to riot and take other people’s stuff.

More from French:

And city alderman Khalif Rainey said that the riots were “byproducts” of “the injustice, the unemployment, the under-education” that he says makes Milwaukee the “worst place to live for African-Americans in the entire country.” He ended with an ominous warning: “Rectify this immediately because, if you don’t, this vision of downtown, all of that, you one day away. You one day away.”

But whose fault is all this poverty? Maybe it is hard for black people to get ahead in some of these cities. Who is in charge of these cities?

Crime rates in major cities, all Democrat-run
Crime rates in major cities, all Democrat-run

The big cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc. that are so awful for law-abiding blacks to live in have been run by Democrats for decades.

Investors Business Daily explains:

America is awash with troubled, dysfunctional cities that have been electing Democratic mayors for decades.

  • Detroit last elected a Republican mayor in 1957. It is now the model of urban failure — it’s recognized more for its poverty, crime, rot and bankruptcy than the great cars that it turned out into the early 1970s. It is the poorest big city in the nation, with almost 40% of the population living below the poverty line. The website Law Street actually ranks Detroit ahead of Flint as the country’s most dangerous city. Either way, it’s clear that both cities have institutionalized crime problems.

Detroit is also a pit of political corruption. Just in recent years, one mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, was convicted of corruption and sent to federal prison for 28 years, while building inspectors have been indicted on federal felony bribery charges and a former city council member was investigated in a bribery and kickback scandal.

  • Chicago’s last GOP mayor was elected in 1927. The nation’s third-largest city is home to some of the worst inner-city violence imaginable. More than 2,300 people were shot there last year, and nearly 400 lost their lives to homicides.

Its finances are just as grim. “Chicago is so broke,” IBD contributor Stephen Moore explained months ago, “that its bonds are junk status, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel had to go hat in hand last week to the state capital, Springfield, for bailout money to pay the bills.” Things have been rotten enough, Moore said, to send “a record number of people … fleeing Cook County, home to Chicago.” Only a little more than half of the city’s pension liabilities are funded.

  • St. Louis has been electing Democratic mayors since 1949. The Gateway to the West has become the gateway for crime. Law Street says that it’s the fourth most dangerous city in the country, Forbes says it’s the second. It had the sixth-highest poverty rate among big cities in 2014.
  • The last GOP mayor of Philadelphia left office in 1952. A few years ago, Moore identified it as a favorite to follow Detroit into bankruptcy.
  • Both Baltimore and Oakland had Republican mayors as late as the 1960s. In the era of Democratic rule, both are now more well known for their crime and poverty problems than for their charm and character.
  • Newark, N.J., hasn’t had a GOP mayor in more than a century. It was ranked as the fifth-worst city to live in in 2015. Detroit, of course, was first.

When Democrats are in control, cities tend to go soft on crime, reward cronies with public funds, establish hostile business environments, heavily tax the most productive citizens and set up fat pensions for their union friends. Simply put, theirs is a Blue State blueprint for disaster.

If you want to blame someone for the failure of the black community to get ahead, blame Democrats. They are the ones who are running things in the cities where we see all this rioting. Their policies are the cause of the poverty. You don’t get job creation when you punish the job creators with high taxes and onerous regulations. You don’t get fathers in the homes when you reward single motherhood by choice with welfare checks.