Government Against Blacks

How the state perpetuates poverty


The other day, I went to Times Square to ask people what government should do to help poor people. Most everyone agreed on the answer: "more social programs and a higher minimum wage."

It's intuitive to think that way. I used to think that, too. When President Johnson declared a "war on poverty," he said "compassionate government" was the road to prosperity for poor people. That made sense to me. At Princeton, I was taught that government's central planners had the solution to poverty.

But then I watched them work. Government spent trillions of dollars on poverty programs, and the poverty level stayed stuck at about 12 percent of the population. It's stayed there for about 40 years.

Now I understand that that government poverty programs encourage people to stay dependent. There's money in it. Policymakers would have known this 25 years ago had they read The State Against Blacks. The author, an economist, said poverty programs destroy the natural mechanisms that have always enabled poor people to lift themselves out of poverty.

That author is Walter Williams of George Mason University. Williams, who is black, says "there's a huge segment of the black population for whom upward mobility is elusive, and it's because of the welfare state—because of government."

Williams elaborates in a new book, Race and Economics. A chief culprit, he insists, is the minimum wage.

"Let's not look at the intentions behind minimum wage," he said. "We have to ask, what are the effects? Put yourself in the place of an employer who must pay $7.25 no matter whom you hire. Will that employer hire a person who can only add $3 or $4 of value per hour?"

He will not. And so fewer young people get hired and "get their feet on the bottom rung of the economic ladder." This hurts all young people, but black teens most, he says, because "many of them get a fraudulent education in the public school system. So a law that discriminates against low-skill people has a doubly negative effect on black teenagers. The unemployment rate among black teens today is unprecedented in U.S. history. In the '40s, black teenage unemployment was less than white teenage unemployment."

And yet a Pew survey says 83 percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage.

"People have the misguided notion that the minimum wage is an antipoverty tool."

(Article continues below video.)

Economists understand the truth. A survey of the American Economic Association found that 90 percent of economists say the minimum wage increases unemployment.

Williams says the minimum wage law has also been a tool of racism. In his book South Africa's War Against Capitalism, he studied that country's labor markets during apartheid:

"White racist unions in South Africa that would never have a black as a member were the major supporters of minimum wage laws. Their stated purpose was to protect white workers from having to compete with low-skill, low-wage black workers. In the United States we found some of the same reasoning for support of a super minimum-wage law," the Davis-Bacon Act, which forces taxpayers to pay union-like wages for government-funded construction projects.

Williams says other programs designed to help the poor—like welfare payments—have wrecked the lives of millions of black people. He likens the welfare state to a "drug pusher" that keeps people dependent and in poverty.

"The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery (and Jim Crow and racism) could not have done … break up the black family. Today, just slightly over 30 percent of black kids live in two-parent families. Historically, from the 1870s on … 75-90 percent of black kids lived in two-parent families."

Why does the welfare state create illegitimacy?

"(Without welfare,) people would decide, 'I'm going to go out and get a job, I'm going to live more responsibly.'" And that would include getting married before having children, something the welfare system discourages.

I believe the creators of the welfare state had good intentions, but good intentions aren't good enough. Even if deficit spending were not bankrupting America—which it is—America should end these programs.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at


NEXT: I Have No Patience for the Lactose Intolerant!

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  1. But, but….GOOD INTENTIONS!!!

    1. Mean never having to say you’re sorry. Or having to check to see if the programs you advocate actually work as proposed.

      1. check to see if the programs you advocate actually work as proposed.

        Looking back is not how one wins the future.

        1. Winning the Future! (W.T.F!)

      2. Checking to see if the programs you advocate actually work as proposed gets in the way of the much more important feeling smugly superior to those around you.

  2. “(Without welfare,) people would decide, ‘I’m going to go out and get a job, I’m going to live more responsibly.'” And that would include getting married before having children, something the welfare system discourages.


      1. DAMN your nimble, etc. etc. etc.

          1. **facepalm**

            1. Come on guys, really? Let’s be serious.

              1. STOSSELPWN!

                The most dangerous PWN of them all.

      2. Every time you do that Warty, I chuckle out loud in my office. 😀

      3. It’s spelled “owned”, folks. I think you’re just typing too fast. Although it’s strange that you’re all making the same mistake.

    1. Stossel, you been subject to some MAJOR PWNAGE!!!

      The Dreideringerfaltzgeschaftt? returns!

    2. Very eloquent. Replace the “Without welfare” with “Before there was welfare” and see if it is still “Bullshit”.


      1. We have a winner!

    3. Don’t you have an economics degree? Have you never heard of reservation wage? Even if you believe that it’s the right thing to do or whathaveyou, it’s pretty blatantly apparent that welfare provides perverse incentives to not make the effort to find or maintain the job among marginal cases: but you already knew that, being an “Econ major” and all that.

      1. You kidding? I doubt he finished high school.

      2. I’m referring to the unsupported assertion that welfare has an influence on people’s decision to have children out of wedlock. Go ahead and prove the link if you think you can.

        1. Because subsidizing something doesn’t really get you more of it.

          1. What does that have to do with having children out of wedlock? Absolutely nothing.

            1. is deep in this troll.

            2. I think the connection has to do with the fact that there are more programs and entitlements available to single mothers than there are to families, therefore there is a financial incentive to not get married.

            3. If you have children you get more benefits. If you have children and are married you get less than if you are not married.

              The pecuniary incentive is clear, if shortsighted for the person availing themselves of it.

              1. The pecuniary incentive is clear, if shortsighted for the person availing themselves of it.

                You have to remember that, per liberal dogma, poor people are stupid and can’t think for themselves. Actually, this also applies to just about anyone who disagrees with them.

          2. +1 Name Ol’ Chap!

        2. Pregnancy has an adverse impact on one’s wages, hours and availability in the free market, and is thus an outcome that most participants seek to avoid until they feel that they can afford it. Being pregnant does not have a similar adverse impact when it comes to welfare. This has the effect of reducing opportunity costs associated with unplanned pregnancies, and for marginal cases, affects the decision to practice safe sex or(gasp!) abstinence until a stable source of income (what we in the business call a “job”) can be found.

          1. “Opportunity costs associated with unplanned pregnancies”

            unplanned pregnancies are UNPLANNED. If people were making opportunity cost comparisons when deciding whether to get pregnant or not, that pregnancy would be, by definition, planned.

            Pregnancy also has an adverse impact on one’s leisure time and finances. There are disincentives to pregnancy for both working mothers and unemployed mothers.

            1. Sex produces babies. Safe sex has a lesser chance of that happening. Abstinence makes it pretty fucking hard for it to happen. Remove some of the natural consequences of “unplanned pregnancy” (i.e., the forseeable and preventable results of irresponsible behavior), and you’ll see more of them in marginal cases.

              Please tell me that your degree does not say “Laude” anywhere on it.

              1. True…but if they made sure to swallow problem solved….

            2. “There are disincentives to pregnancy for…unemployed mothers.”

              They don’t appear to be having much of an impact, do they?

            3. Pregnancy also has an adverse impact on one’s leisure time and finances.

              This is only true for responsible parents, and responsibility is exactly what the system discourages.

        3. Skinner titled one volume of his autobiography “A Matter of Consequences”.

          I spent four years determining eligibility for AFDC in San Diego and not once did a client relate the expenses associated with another child with a decision to have the child. “Can we afford this” rarely is asked when a verified pregnancy increases the monthly grant to include the unborn child and medical expenses are paid. Eligibility rules required either an absent or unemployed father. I suspect you wouldn’t argue that most prospective parents don’t consider the financial consequences. A single mother would be under significant pressure to make this evaluation if the state were not promising to pick up the tab. Change the consequences change the behavior. Is this really in need of proof?

          1. “I suspect you wouldn’t argue that most prospective parents don’t consider the financial consequences.”

            Don’t be so sure.

        4. Black illegitimacy rate in 1960–22%

          Black illegitimacy rate today–72%


        5. Since the welfare system effectively keeps recipiants from forming stable relationships and getting married wthout losing benefits, their children will be without fathers.

    4. u know where else there’s no welfare? comon u know…say it…saay it !

      1. SOMALIA!!!111!!

      2. The Vatican?

        1. The “Vatican” is a WELFARE state! Take from the ignorant, poor and misguided and build, build, build! Apparently the GOD these religionists believe in is broke…

  3. I disagree with Stossel, these programs are working exactly as intended.

    1. ^this

    2. but they’re not working fast enough. That’s where BET comes in.

      1. What, no love?

        1. *skillfully throws a lethal highheel at Centric, then continues with meeting*

    3. *slowly raising hand*

      Foreseeable consequences….are not…unintended?

    4. golf clap for WarrenT

      the goal of minimum wage is to keep low skilled workers from competing with higher wage unionized workers


      2. Hence the ridiculously high minimum wage in Michigan.

          1. Just curious, Almanian. How are the dickholes in Michigan reacting to the news? Is there rejoicing in the streets?

            (You know what I’m referring to-don’t make me say it.)

            1. You’re not getting Urban Meyer. In fact, I’m not sure you can get anyone with a name right now. Not until the probation comes down and they know what they’re dealing with.

              1. Which is why Fickell will be interim for the whole 2011 season.

                1. That’s what I think is most likely.

              2. Urban put out a cryptic press release on ESPN: I will not be pursuing any coaching vacancies this fall. That’ll be after the hammer drops…I think for 2 years and a loss of 10 scholarships a year max. If the vest testifies and admits it was all his doing and the school was in the dark and agrees to a lengthy ban, it’ll be shorter than that…perhaps no bowl ban at all. (A 1-2 year ban would be perfect for Meyer…lowered expectations, a chance to bring in his systems, etc)

                Either way, Urban Meyer will take a loooong look at the job he’s always coveted. So will Bo Pelini. So will several others. It’ll still be a top 5 college job either way.

                1. I’m dubious that he has any immediate intentions to return to coaching. I think his statement was more geared at him considering offers after the next season. For OSU, that means after the probation has come down.

                  Besides, I’m not sure he covets Ohio State as much as the fans want to believe. He included it among several schools he could break his Utah contract for, but that probably means less after his success at UF.

                  Of the big names, the one I could see maybe happening is Jon Gruden. I think he’d be a good coach at the college level, and he’s much more of an offensive mastermind than Meyer.

                2. In my dreams, the NFL strike leads to the draft being done away with and teams being free to sign players out of high school. And this, somehow or other, kills the NCAA and replaces it with some honest minor leagues. Fuck the NCAA and its hypocritical pretensions of amateurism.

                  “Stu-dent-ath-o-leets. Oh, that is brilliant sir. Now when we sell their likeness for video games, how do we get around paying our slav? student athletes then?”

                  1. I’d like to see that. This NCAA scam, as entertaining as it can be, is wrong on too many levels to continue.

                  2. I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

                    It’s basically been done that way in two (three?) sports since they went professional: baseball, soccer, and hockey (I think).

                    What might satisfy everyone, however, is the way soccer works in the US (and baseball, to some extent), with the truly excellent young players being snapped up by professional clubs for grooming in their youth systems, and the late bloomers going the college route, for 1-5 years, and doing some sort of draft then (though I’d like to get rid of the draft entirely).

                    It has actually worked pretty well here for a sport that has long been marginalized, but is now growing by leaps and bounds at the professional level.

                    Dirty little secret that Europeans will be so very slow to admit: some of their most revered American players (yes, it happens!) played college soccer either all the way through or multiple years – to wit: Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride, and King of All Goalkeepers, Brad Friedel, just to name three guys recently in the EPL who will always be loved by their English clubs.

                    1. I’ll add that the NFL (and to a lesser extent, the NBA) will fight any such thing tooth and nail. It costs quite a bit of money to set up minor leagues and/or youth systems at the professional level. They can’t have anything bite into their enormous revenue stream. The NFL LOVES their free youth system as provided by the NCAA.

                    2. My friend and I were just discussing this on Monday. We agreed that the NFL is plenty fine with a “free” minor league, and the NCAA is fine with a lucrative “semi-professional” league. Status quo going forward. Urban Meyer at tOSU, yes. Gruden, no (his fees would be way too expensive). Bo Pelini, doubtful considering Nebraska just joined the Big 10. Plus, no one wants to be the guy who folllows the guy. By the way, screw Pryor, Small, and the rest! Thanks for ruining my Fall Saturdays. Also, screw the NFL for ruining my Fall Sundays! I’m pissed!

                    3. Ruined Saturdays? Just makes more time for hijacking the teevee from your kids (if you have any) and watching the EPL in the morning.

                    4. Sorry Timon19, I’d rather go to Nordstrom’s and watch my wife try on dresses and shoes than watch a soccer match.

                    5. Meh. Whatever.

                    6. Europeans are always slow to admit their dirty little secrets.

                    7. King of All Goalkeepers, Brad Friedel


                    8. Who else has saved two penalties in the knock-out rounds of the World Cup?

                      Who also managed to avoid dropping a glass perfume bottle on his foot during a major tournament?

                  3. Crack baby football!

                    1. I just read this on a tip from someone else, and I don’t care who you are and who you root for – it’s an excellent piece of writing and an excellent bit of perspective on this whole mess. The tragedy of it is that it will likely never see the light of a wider distribution than an OSU football blog.

    5. keep poverty in the black community?

  4. You tell dem Derider, while I get back to my purple drank.

  5. Subsidize or subjugate? Why not both!

    1. I think they just misspelled sodomize.

      1. Subjudomize? Sodogate?

        1. Ya’ gotta pay extra fer a sodogating, sugar!

  6. To great cheers the Senator proclaims to the Baptists how, by outlawing the sale of alcohol on the Sunday, he has eliminated the vile practice of drinking on the Lord’s day.
    As he gives his speech the bootlegger slips some money into his back pocket.

    Later that day he proclaims to a cheering crowd how he has raised the minimum wage, as the union leader slips some money into his back pocket.

    1. So who was the third guy with BOTH his hands in the Senator’s front pockets?

      1. That would be me.

        1. What the fuck?

          1. Fuck the what?


  7. This is very misleading. In 1959 half of black families lived below the poverty line. Within about a decade that went to around 22%, and it has been stuck there since.

    1. Actually, that sounds like a pithy indictment of the war on poverty.

    2. Since 1969 blacks 22% of blacks have remained below the poverty line despite massive increases in government spending on welfare programs.

      1. That’s because the poverty line keeps going up. A rising tide lifts all boats.

        1. Wait, what, did I just endorse trickle down economics!?

          1. Only if poverty is some absolute concept, which it isn’t.

            1. Why? Are millionares poor because of the existance of billionares? Should we feel sorry for them?

            2. Moving goalposts. Got it.

              1. Voodoos, Lip Reading, and all that…

            3. Why isn’t it? If someone has three square meals a day, a climate controlled dwelling and access to adequate health care, I’d say they don’t get to say there are impoverished anymore.

    3. I could see crediting changing values about race or even the Civil Rights Act for any improvements that came during the 60s, but what I can’t see is crediting welfare. The numbers just don’t support it.

    4. John Stossel and facts are like Ayn Rand and the homeless.

      1. Hey, Derider, JsubD, a recently departed commenter here, was homeless, and despite that was still a libertarian. So….


        1. Libertarians are capable of advocating against their own self interest! Shocking!

          1. “Why wont you people let us buy your vote like everyone else!?”

    5. Right, but the overall poverty rate did not decline anymore, which it had been doing for blacks and overall.

      So essentially these programs lured other racial demographics into poverty and kept blacks where they were.

  8. “White racist unions in South Africa that would never have a black as a member were the major supporters of minimum wage laws. Their stated purpose was to protect white workers from having to compete with low-skill, low-wage black workers. In the United States we found some of the same reasoning for support of a super minimum-wage law,”

    This was the entire rational for minimum wage laws to begin with. Eugenics-minded Progressives of the 20th century wished to weed out those they referred to as “industrial residuum”, and “the unemployable” (children, the handicapped, women, Black, Jews, Chinese, Italians, Slavs) so that the jobs would be open only to “native” (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant males). These ideas of “living wages” were also tied into eugenic ideas like “race suicide” and immigration restrictions based on nationality.

    1. At least nobody with great power became enamored with the Progressives’ idea of positive-eugenics and tried to implement it on an industrial scale.
      Millions of people could have died.

    2. Where do you get the idea that eugenics was the exclusive project of Progressives? Iirc the famous Buck v. Bell case was from Virginia, was Virginia in the 1920’s supposed to be some bastion of Progressivism? WTF?

      1. Where do you get the idea that eugenics was the exclusive project of Progressives?

        Because…it was? Maybe because statute was actually written by Harry H. Laughlin (Iowan by birth, New Yorker by choice, Princeton grad, all-around scumbag) who drafted the model law for compulsory sterilization (which was adopted by Virginia in 1924) by the state specifically to defeat the questions of constitutionality raised by then-current compulsory sterilization laws?

        1. So Virginia post-circa 1924 was some hotbed of modern progressive thought?


          1. Another early adopter of sterilization laws was Oklahoma.

            We all know what a long time bastion of modern Progressivism Oklahoma has been.

            1. Seeing as how Oklahoma was one of the earliest homes of the Populist Party (fuck the rich) and the political birthing ground of Robert L. Owen (alleged author of the Federal Reserve Act, Prohibitionist, champion of the 16th Amendment), let’s go with Oklahoma being a hotbed of Populist/Progressive ideas.

              Geez, MNG, given your attitude toward Okies and Virginians, one might suspect you have a prejudice against anyone born below the 39?43?.

              1. Oklahoma, the historical hotbed of Progressivism.

                You’re getting funnier and funnier.

                1. Damn, what an eloquent refutation.

                  I almost feel….PWNED!!!!!11!!!!!!eleventy!!!111111!!one

                  Come on, MNG, you can do better. You can win the future.

              2. I don’t think it is prejudiced to say that the South is hardly a hotbed of Progressivism, either now or historically. It’s very odd that, considering you loathe Progressivism, you would find that to be some kind of predjudiced statement…I would think most Oklahomans and Virginians would tell you that they don’t have much history with Progressivism.

                1. I don’t think it is prejudiced to say that the South is hardly a hotbed of Progressivism, either now or historically.

                  Ignorance of your own state’s history isn’t really my problem. And do you have some names or facts or will we be arguing about your “feelings” on history today?

                  1. Oh no AC, why don’t you go on making the case that Oklahoma, Alabama and Virginia were or are hotbeds of Progressivism. Colbert just went off, I could use the laughs.

                    1. You know, they actually had a Progressive Party candidate run in the 1924 and 1948 elections. Here is a map of the counties in those elections with the areas going Progressive Party clearly noted.

                      Strange, these hotbeds of Progressivism you speak of don’t seem to have supported the Progressive Party candidates.



                      I guess Robert Owen didn’t vote enough times…

                    2. Progressive Party

                      And of course we all know how keen politicians are about truth in advertising.

                    3. I have a better idea: How about you define what you think “Progressivism” means? For bonus points, tell me what you think was actually going on in America politically from 1880 to 1920.

                    4. Hold on there Cowboy! First respond to my neat maps there pardner.

                      Why didn’t these hotbeds of Progressivism that adopted the eugenics laws, many at this exact time, provide such little support to the Progressive Party candidate? I mean, how can that be? Robert Owens don’t fail him now!

                    5. AC, any thoughts?



                    6. AC?


                      What happened? Robert Owen leave you hanging?


                    7. Strange, these hotbeds of Progressivism you speak of don’t seem to have supported the Progressive Party candidates.

                      Maybe they just didnt like the canidates. Or maybe third party canidates just dont do well, no matter what thier ideology.

                    8. Yes, because third-parties do so well in national election in America. And it’s not as if people in America hold any blind devotion to their favored political parties or anything.

                    9. I see, so somehow Progressives controlled the legislatures of these states but could not turn out to win even a single county in them.

                      Dude, you are funnier than Seinfeld!

                      Here is some more fun, I just remembered that TR ran as the Progressive Candidate in 1912. Here are the results by county. Yet again these supposed hotbeds of Progressivism did not support the actual self-proclaimed Progressive Party presidential candidate.

                      This election is even more interesting for our purposes because we had Wilson, whom you want to call the uber-Progressive, running against the actual Progressive party candidate. Interestingly many states that had eugenics laws went for TR, many for Wilson, and, here’s the kicker, many went to Taft!


                      Jesus your Progressives-eugenics narrative is getting blow to hell buddy.

                    10. But, but, Robert L. Owen!

                    11. Aww, MNG, it’s cute that you learned who Robert Owen is, but American Progressives owe more of their ideology to technocratic Saint-Simon than to the utopian Owen.

                    12. And sockpuppeting me touches me in all the right places.

                    13. Here is some more fun, I just remembered that TR ran as the Progressive Candidate in 1912. Here are the results by county. Yet again these supposed hotbeds of Progressivism did not support the actual self-proclaimed Progressive Party presidential candidate.

                      Wait a minute! Weren’t you just the guy who argued that today’s Progressives aren’t the early 20th century Progressives? And that today’s Democrats aren’t yesterday Democrats? Yet somehow you are arguing that Roosevelt’s Bull Moose/Progressive Party, which broke up in 1916 and whose platform was direct democracy, taxes on income and inheritance, farm subsidies, and social security, is the same as Bob LaFollette’s Progressive Party which broke up in 1946 and whose platform was nationalizing industries and taxing the rich?

                      You need to spend more time reading and less time looking at pretty pictures of maps.

                    14. MNG’s definition of Progressivism is whatever the hell Europe thinks is cool…because they are better than us. Always and forever.

                    15. My goodness talk about simplistic assumptions.

                      Europe can go screw itself imo.

                    16. Whether it be historically (communism, fascism, monarchism) or currently (Berlusconi anyone?) Europe has no right to be smug about the US whatsoever.

                    17. Sorry, Minge. Recent arguments with certain assholes that have come into my orbit devolved into “dicussions”(they called me an elitist racist, I make a third what they do and eat ramen most days) about how much better Europe is than this rank cesspool we apparently live in. None of them have been to Europe. They talk like you type. My apologies.

                2. I don’t know about a hotbed…but I have a number of progressive friends here in MS. And, yes, I hate to hear Maddow’s talking points every time we get together for a beer. They’re idiots but they are my friends.

                  1. Jesus Christ.

                    Of course you can find a liberal or Progressive or whatever anywhere. But they are minorities in those places with little influence.

                    1. Of course you can find a liberal or Progressive or whatever anywhere. But they are minorities in those places with little influence.

                      Bullshit. Almost every politician alive has some progressive tendencies. Just because there is an “R” next to their name, that does not mean that he is not a progressive. NCLB, prescription drub benefits, centrilization of security agencies, TARP…Thanks GWB!

                    2. I should have added that most politicians are susceptible to the paternalistic pandering of progressives. If you wanted to find those who are in the minority and have little influence, you’ve come to the right site.

            2. Oklahoma is a state that has been run by Democrats since before it became a state. This current legislature is the first Republican Legislature, and they’re on our 4th Republican governor in over 100 years.

              1. I’m not sure what you think you are proving here other than that the Democratic Party is an astoundingly diverse party ideologically.

                Are you trying to say liberals have dominated Oklahoma until the last legislature? Because that is laughable.

          2. Yeah, it’s not like the guy who is considered the only Progressive President was from Virginia or anything.

            1. OMG, you are a hilarious idiot. Wilson was born in Virginia, but soon after moved to Georgia where he was raised. I think he lived in Virginia for like 3 years as an infant/toddler and then another one at law school.

              I guess he absorved all that Progressivism as a toddler, eh?

              1. Are you saying that Georgia was a hotbed of Progressive thought?

                1. I’m saying that the “Progressives” of 1912 and 1924 are not much like what we call “Progressives” today. It’s silly to get hung up on the word.

                  And I’m saying that eugenics was something popular with more than Progressives, unless we want to assume that “Progressives” were running Alabama and Oklahoma eighty years ago.

                  1. MNG is too simpleminded to appreciate that segregationists and Progressives were often in bed together in the unreconstructed South when it came to keeping Blacks and poor Whites (like Catherine Buck) in their “place.”

                    1. Since one of the pillars of modern Progressivism is the modern idea of civil rights, then I guess these Progressives you speak of had very little in common with the modern ones, apart from the name (sort of like how today’s Democrats would have very little in common with Grover Cleveland).

                      Which makes one wonder, WTF are you going on about the historical ones for?

                    2. Horsehit. The main pillar of Progressivism is paternalism. For modern Progressives, “Civil Rights” conveniently excludes economic rights, rights to self-defense, and rights to do with your body as you see fit, unless you want an abortion.

                    3. See, you’re an idiot, or dishonest. When you say modern Civil Rights on a discussion board talking about blacks in America most people know you are talking about the movement for civil rights for blacks from the 1960’s.

                    4. Really? You got some evidence that “Progressives” (when they took time out of their busy schedules creating the technocratic state) had any concern or interest in “civil rights”, or are you doing pulls with your ass instead using the time-honored device for pulling, the tractor?

                      Well MNG, had you RTFA, the original topic was how the minimum wage harmed black people (and others). My original assertion, based on the history of the Progressive movement in America, is that any harm that came about as a result of minimum wage laws was by design, rather than by accident.

                    5. So Progressives were not pro-Civil Rights? So all those liberals that endorsed and pushed much of the Civil Rights agenda during the 1960’s, what would you call them?

                      You live on Bizarro World or something.

                    6. So Progressives were not pro-Civil Rights? So all those liberals that endorsed and pushed much of the Civil Rights agenda during the 1960’s, what would you call them?

                      No, they weren’t. The people who call themselves Progressives today may claim to be, even as they freely seek to infringe on the natural rights of others. And slapping a “liberal” label on anyone who thought that maybe black people shouldn’t be lynched, segregated, or discriminated against under color of law is disingenuous, unless you want to explain when the Black churches in America went liberal. Personally, I give more credit to the NAACP’s legal team than any other portion of the Civil Rights movement of 1945 to 1970 for changing the black letter laws of discrimination.

                    7. The liberal wing in the Democratic Party embraced Civil Rights decades before the 1960’s and there was much strife over the issue (see Henry Wallace v. Strom Thurmond). It divided the party, many Democrats left, but the more liberal wing was also the party pushing for more support for the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.

                    8. The liberal wing in the Democratic Party embraced Civil Rights decades before the 1960’s

                      Who would have thought that Everett Dirksen was a Democrat?

              2. Really MNG? As opposed to your blinding bumpersticker politics idiocy that geography is the sole determination of one’s politics?

              3. What he absorbed in his youth was virulent racism and an absolute conviction of his own entitlement to the obedience of other people.

                Racism has always been a cornerstone of the “progressive” movement. Their first big project was to try to wipe out the plains indians. The next big project was prohibition, which was basically a manifestation of WASP xenophobia towards the Irish and the Italians.


                1. Prohibition found some of its strongest support in rural areas and Republican national politicians.

                  And the plains indians? WTF?

                  If anyone needed any proof that “Progressives” has become a meaningless, protean quagmire of a term for the right, much like “neocon” for the left years ago, this kind of post is it.

          3. modern progressive

            Nope, you don’t get to do that. He didn’t say modern progressivism. He said progressivism.

            The KKK was quite a progressive organization, for example.

            That said, while ‘modern’ progressives no longer admit support for eugenics the essential philosophical tenets are the same. Central control and planning for the moral and economic ‘benefit’ of the masses. Progressivism is at core the reunion of Crown, Clergy, and Guild with the new Clergy offering propaganda support by preaching the new pure religion of State, and the new Guilds offering capital support, and both receiving special privilege and monopoly in return. Everyone has a voice! Except for the vast majority of the people.

            Progressivism is the open negation of the principle of government by consent which the American experiment embodied. The only century in human history where government by consent could be argued to exist, and probably will have been the only time it ever will.

            You will of course deny all that. But that is what it is. You have no interest in people planning for themselves, or being free to leave if they choose, and most certainly not with their property or in groups.

            By your works we know you. By the results of your policies we judge you.

  9. So, MNG, by about 1969 the poverty level for blacks had stabilized. The “War on Poverty” began in, what, 1964, 1965? I wonder when it was fully rolled out?

    I wonder, what was the poverty level for black families in 1965?

    And can we at least agree that social welfare programs since 1969 have done nothing to help blacks out of poverty?


      I’m looking at table 2.

      Here are the figures for the 1960’s:

      1969…… 32.2
      1968…… 34.7
      1967 1/… 39.3
      1966…… 41.8
      1959…… 55.1

      Interestingly here is the, chosen in intervals by me, info through to more recent times:

      1959…… 55.1
      1969…… 32.2
      1979 4/… 31.0
      1989…… 30.7
      1999 11/.. 23.6

      1. Hahahahaha

        Facts are difficult things if you’re John Stossel.

      2. So welfare reform helped bring poverty levels among blacks down from 30.7 to 23.6%?

  10. Ah yes, the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    Blacks need welfare because they just aren’t capable of making it on their own.
    They need the helping hand of government. Left to their own devices they would be reduced to crime and abject poverty.
    They are not expected to achieve what other races achieve, so they need welfare.
    And anyone who wants to get rid of welfare is a racist.

    1. Most welfare recipients are white. Nobody is claiming “blacks need welfare”. We’re claiming “the poor need welfare”. The fact that black people are disproportionately poor has historical explanations, aka the legacy of slavery and the power of racism.

      1. That happens when most of the population is white.

      2. So it’s class-based paternalism rather than race based? Well, that makes it better.

        1. “Paternalism” implies that the government is giving the poor welfare that they don’t want. Which is stupid.

          1. Yeah, it’s pretty easy to support “free money” that you didn’t earn.

      3. Most welfare recipients are white.

        Are you talking about absolute numbers or per capita? And do you have a source?

  11. These types of analyses are useless because they never take into account jurisdictional variations in wage supports across the US. Different states have had different wage minimums and different welfare benefits over the decades. At the same time, there have been huge variations in poverty rates between different jurisdictions in the US.

    Do they correlate?

    Do lower wage mimimums and welfare correlate with lower poverty?

    Or do low wage/low welfare jurisdictions have as much or even more poverty than high wage/high welfare jurisdictions?

    America does not have a uniform nationwide system of welfare or wage supports, and it does not have a uniform distribution of poverty.

    These blithe generalizations about the effect of “welfare” or the “minimum wage” writ large amount to nothing more than confirmation of pre-existing biases. It “makes sense”; it’s “truthy”; so who cares if the data really backs it up?

    1. These people are trying to get their rage and anxiety out regarding the racial implications of their worldview by trying to turn the table on those with a worldview who championed Civil Rights since the 1960’s, stop muking it up with your calls for nuanced empiricism!

      1. Nah, we get our rage out at the Tractor Pulls.

  12. …the poverty level has remained stuck at about 12 percent of the population

    I am reminded of one episode of Free to Choose, where one of the panel was the head of a state welfare department. In exasperation to the crazy free marketers around her, she exclaimed (paraphrased): “You can’t get rid of poverty because there will always be a bottom ten percent!”

    1. Someone can have a cell phone, cable, computer, internet access, and a microwave oven, none of which were available when welfare was created, and be considered to be living in poverty.

      1. Sort of like someone can be 5 foot nine and be considered short, even though in the mid-nineteenth century he would be considered taller than average.

        Poverty is not absolute, it’s relative, like short or tall, or liberal or conservative.

        1. Yes, but did you know that poverty creates tractor pulls?


          1. Do you have medication to take over this?

            1. I can’t afford it. I spent all my money on this here TRACTOR PULL.

              Wanna see my chickens? We here in the south all have chickens. In coops. Next to the tractor. And the NASCAR posters.

              Mighty fine pickin’s, it sho nuff is.

              1. Dude, what is it with you and this. I think people who go to tractor pulls and love Wal-mart are retarded. This makes you so excited, why exactly?

                1. Maybe we just enjoy your clueless celebration of your smug elitism.

                  1. You enjoy it? That seems bizarre. Well, I feel that way, so get your jollies.

                2. The reason I give you shit for this is because you have such a ridiculous view of conservatives and the south in general that it borders on ignorance. Your worldview is apparently confined to progressive standards for all non-liberal viewpoints and you disingenuously use these stereotypes to advance your arguments so that you look informed. When in reality, you know next to nothing about the south, conservatives, Walmart customers and tractor pulls in general.

                  In other words, you are a hack. I will continue to call you out on your ignorance until you take the time to learn a little more about what you so callously insult and deride at every opportunity.

                  1. I’m a Southerner. From a long line of Southerners. Raised in the South. Not bigoted, not uneducated, not etc.

                    I don’t care for tractor pulls, but I’ve shopped at Wal-Mart when I found it convenient to do so. An old friend works at Wal-Mart corporate. He’s from this blighted region, too.

                    1. The below was for Tman. This is for Pro.

                      Look, I didn’t live in the South for as long as I did without me making and therefore still having friends and family in the South I love and respect.

                      I also can defend the South historically, for example, look at how imo the South was in the exact right place during, say, the debate over the Alien and Sedition Acts.

                      But the South in general has had a shitty record as far as human rights through much of their history imo and currently they are a hotbed and bastion of politics that I find simplistic, ugly and short-sighted. So yes, I do not care much for the South in general.

                      And yes, I think many pursuits that are more popular in the South, from NASCAR to tractor pulls, are stupid.

                  2. Buddy, I was born and lived 95% of my life in the South, in a very conservative neighborhood, have been to Wal-Mart plenty (I’ve said before I buy the Ol’ Roy dog food there) and growing up my family owned and used quite a bit tractors.

                    You are just upset that I deride that because you want liberals to be these hyper-tolerant folks that really aren’t so you can say gotcha when they call you on some prejudice of yours.

                    1. You are just upset that I deride that because you want liberals to be these hyper-tolerant folks that really aren’t so you can say gotcha when they call you on some prejudice of yours.

                      First of all, I’m not upset. I just enjoy giving you shit at being a smug elitist. Second of all, liberals and progressives tend to pride themselves in their tolerance of all cultures and races since they claim to be better educated about said cultures and races and therefore are completely unprejudiced about their views. But as Professor Williams elucidates, this is all just complete bullshit and if anything the “oh so tolerant” progressives have kept black people mired in poverty through their own misguided economic policies.

                      You continue to ignore the evidence laid at your feet in each and every thread here at H&R, and I believe it is because you are afraid of being wrong, which is another symptom of smug elitism. I can’t count the number of times people have destroyed your arguments back in to the hollow progressive shell of ignorance from which they came, yet you still spout the same bullshit over and over again.

                      You. Are. A. HACK.

                    2. “Second of all, liberals and progressives tend to pride themselves in their tolerance of all cultures and races since they claim to be better educated about said cultures and races and therefore are completely unprejudiced about their views”

                      I knew it, I called it the very first time you did this. You want liberals to espouse hyper-tolerance and get all upset and excited when you think they don’t as you’ve obviously been on the getting end of having someone question your tolerance about a few things.

                      “I can’t count the number of times people have destroyed your arguments”

                      Funny, I think the same thing about you and your paleo running mates…Funny how that works, eh?

                    3. You want liberals to espouse hyper-tolerance

                      No, stupid, liberals DO espouse their hyper-tolerance, all the fucking time (see: Stuff White People Like).

                      and get all upset and excited when you think they don’t as you’ve obviously been on the getting end of having someone question your tolerance about a few things.

                      Ah yes, it’s ME who is the racist and intolerant. I’m just projecting on you! In the words of the mighty Stossel- GIVE ME A BREAK.

                      Funny, I think the same thing about you and your paleo running mates

                      Paleo? Unlike you, I don’t wear my political affiliations on my sleeve like a fucking badge, therefore you have NO IDEA what they are. But this is your modus operandi. Put people in neat little boxes so you can smugly attempt to dismiss their arguments based on what box they’re in.


        2. Amen. In the 1850’s, a family could have a whale oil lamp, a printed book, a black powder musket, and a machine-weaved tablecloth and still be considered poor … even though all the emperors of Rome never had any one of those luxuries.

          Zounds! Astonishing!

            1. I can’t wait for the time when “poor” people have solid gold houses and drive rocket cars! Of course, they won’t have personal teleporting machines like us rich people!

        3. Poverty is absolute. It is not relative. Treating it as such only perpetuates all the negative tropes that go along with it.

          1. Poverty is absolute. It is not relative. Treating it as such only perpetuates all the negative tropes that go along with it.

            People still have the same needs as they had thousands of years ago: food, shelter, and clothing. Poverty is merely the difficulty in obtaining these needs. Just because it takes fewer resources (compared to the total available) to provide these things today than it did then, does not change the basic principle. The desire to inflate the concept of ‘poverty’ ultimately arises from a redistributionist mindset and envy of those who have more.

    2. “You can’t get rid of poverty because there will always be a bottom ten percent!”

      That’s only because we haven’t spent (oops -‘invested’) enough money on the problem yet.

      1. Pesky normal distribution!

        1. Tl;dr

        2. Interesting – I’m not sure how accurate the TNR analysis is based on a quick read, but I think more research is indicated. Thanks for the link.

  13. Welcome to the United States of America, where poor people are fat.

    1. True, and not funny, either.

      The sorry fact of the matter is that obese people can actually manifest symptoms of malnutrition because the food they are eating does not contain proper balances of vitamins and minerals.

      Poverty in a wealthy country is a complex problem, and sometimes paradoxical, but no less real because of its complexities and paradoxes.

      1. Now here is where I part ways with my fellow liberals.

        If you go to the grocery store you can find that many of the best foods nutrition wise are very affordable, and many of the worst foods for you are not cheap. Obesity among poor people is not due to economics but poor choices, among other things.

        1. Knowledge is not free. Neither is the capital required to prepare those cheap, healthy foods.

          1. Neither is the capital required to prepare those cheap, healthy foods.

            Because expecting poor people to use their own labor to prepare food instead of getting it at McD’s is so UNFAAIRRR!!!!

            1. Lol I think you need to retake Econ 101. Labor and Capital are different.

              1. So, what ‘capital’ is needed to prepare the low-cost, nutritious food, moron?

          2. Knowledge is not free.

            Fucking Public Libraries – how do they work?

            1. Transportation, time, and literacy are required to use a public library. None of those are free.

              1. Really? I would think the fucking homeless have nothing but time to walk places and learning to read really just requires a similar investiment in time. The only people who can’t read in the US are idiots who CHOSE not to learn in the first place.

              2. I can see you’ve never been to a public library.
                They are a favorite hangout for homeless people. Not that they actually read while they’re there. They sleep on the chairs and sofas, filling the corridors with the fine mingled aromas of alcohol, sweat, puke, piss and shit.

        2. When obesity (or anything else) is systemic among poor people, you have to look at systemic causes and not point to personal choice. In the 19th century perhaps being poor meant being underfed. In the modern world, it means being stuffed with bad food. Calorie for calorie, you get more for your money out of cheap fast food than you do from the vegetable aisle at Whole Foods. And “let them eat arugula” isn’t a policy to fix the problem.

          1. Goddam, Tony is actually stupider than the dickrider.

          2. Funny you chose the ridiculously expensive Whole Foods to make your point. Why can’t they buy regular ool apples, bananas, etc. where real people buy them? I can buy four bags (plastic) of fruit, veggies, bread, etc. at the local market. The place is mobbed because it sells for cheap. I’m sure most there are of moderate means. They just like decent food at a decent price.

            1. I don’t know, I guess poor people are just universally bad people who make poor choices. We should probably just spit on them.

              1. I dunno about bad people, but all the research I’ve read points towards the poor choices issue. If you remain in the bottom quintile your entire adult life, it ain’t society, it’s you.

              2. No, that’s the rich people, right? The ones that won life’s lottery and don’t want to hand it over to the government to be given to the poor.

                1. I prefer policy that’s not based on an arbitrary and blunt moral assessment of people based on their net worth.

                  1. I prefer policy that’s not based on an arbitrary and blunt moral assessment

                    So you’ve stopped being a progressive?

                    1. No, as a progressive I couldn’t give two shits about whether a person earned what he has. The important question is whether he has access to basic needs and has a reasonable opportunity for a decent life.

                    2. I am going to be poor now, and continually steal from Tony so I don’t starve. It’s going to be wonderful, because he won’t do anything about it!

          3. Have you actually looked at a fast food menu? You’re shelling out $5 a pop per value meal. You could go to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients for way cheaper than it would cost to feed a family. And it isn’t like you can buy McDonalds with food stamps, so most poor people likely aren’t spending all their money on Big Macs.

            1. Who buys a damn value meal? The good stuff is on the dollar menu and Del Taco sells burritos for less than microwave burritos from a grocery.

            2. You could go to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients for way cheaper than it would cost to feed a family.

              It’s better to just go to the deli in the local grocery store. Also, you can find places that have fruit and vegetables for pretty cheap. Not fresh from the garden, but edible.

          4. gonna have to disagree here. There’s tons of dirt cheap things that are very nutritious. Frozen vegetables, canned beans, etc.

            I think the problem is more that fast food is unhealthy, though even that isn’t really too true – every chain has a chicken breast sandwich. What annoys me is the dirth of vegetable options. And anyway when you’re poor you should be bringing bag lunches anyway, which is doable even if your job is on the road (like a contractor) – just bring less perishable things, like some slices of cheese and bread, and vegetables are safe to stay in the car even on a hot day if you heat them up to cooking temperatures in the morning.

      2. Dayz too po to buy a 20 cent multivitamin. Gubmint needs to do sumfin bout it.

    2. They’re fat because they eat shitty food, not because they have too much money.

      See “inferior products” like ramen noodles and McDoubles.

      1. Let me guess.

        That’s not their fault for choosing to eat that food, it’s because the choice is available to them, right?

        1. People choose “inferior products” when they have low income, and consume less of them as their income grows. That’s the economic definition of an “inferior product”.

          Ramen noodles have calories, but not much else, and they taste like shit. If you can afford something else, you will buy it. Some people can’t afford something else.

          You’re welcome for the Econ 101 lesson.

          1. It is a very simple thing to eat very healthy food on the cheap.
            Of course that means you might, horror of horrors, have to prepare it yourself, but it can easily be done.

            Being fat means that one consumes more calories than they burn.

            Fat poor people are fat for the same reason they’re poor.

            They are lazy and make lousy choices.

            1. You have replied to my economics argument with a bunch of unsupported assertions. YOU WIN!

              1. You made an economics argument?

                Sorry but I missed it.

                1. Do you know what an “inferior product” is and how income effects change the demand for it?

                  The economic argument I’m making is that poor people consume “inferior products” and that’s why they get fat.

                  1. The economic argument I’m making is that poor people consume “inferior products”too many fucking calories and that’s why they get fat.


                  2. Wouldn’t this imply that fitness is a luxury good, and that the taxpayer need not be forced to subsidize it?

              2. You have replied to my economics argument with a bunch of unsupported assertions.

                You provided an economics argument without any evidence. But you’re still a waste of carbon molecules.

          2. A sack of brown rice and some potatoes – would these be “inferior products”? Help me understand. I take it you are trying to argue that the portly poor eat at Popeye’s because they cannot afford nutricious luxuries like rice, potatoes and apples (about 79 cents a pound)

        2. Correct – that is why enlightened libruls such as us must make their choices for them.

          1. Wow, too slow with the parody post.

            I’d recommend Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing

      2. Maybe subsidies that drive down the prices of all this bad food (primarily fructose based products) should be halted then hmmm?

        1. I don’t think that’s the crux of the problem, but sure.

          1. Shit…you just supported(implicitly) decreasing the size of the government. I’ll…be right back.

            (Stomps away at a staggering pace)
            (Returns through a red portal, out of breath, on verge of 4th heart attack, covered in demon blood, holding the severed picky of the demon Azazel)

            Nope…it…appears…hell…is…still…quite hot.

            1. I also think tariffs on imported sugar are bad. Actually I think all tariffs are bad.

              I think we should disband the airforce and the marines and give all their shit to the Navy and Army.

              I don’t like the patriot act and I think Obama has fucked up by not giving terrorists real trials.

    3. I guess it’s a good thing that about the cheapest diet you can live on(eggs, cottage cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, rice, legumes) is also among the healthiest. It almost seems as if people sometimes make poor choices, and then those choices have consequences…..naw, that’s crazy talk.

      1. That’s not the cheapest diet you can live on–Particularly if you don’t have a kitchen or a refrigerator, which is true of many people in poverty.

        1. They can’t have refrigerators because they need to spend the welfare on neccessities such as nintendo and i-phones!

          1. I’m talking about the homeless, retard.

            1. They wouldn’t be homeless if you would just buy them a home you fucking selfish sack of rotting cat testicles! Quit bitching on the internet, sell everything you have and BUY THEM HOMES YOU MOTHER FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT.

              1. I don’t think that’s a sustainable program. Taxes, however, are.

                Also, talking about the homeless makes you VERY ANGRY ON THE INTERNET. Why?

                1. Talking to you, makes me very angry on the internet.

            2. Homeless are a small percentage of those in poverty, and many of them live that way by choice.

              The ones that are made homeless by circumstance but who are willing and able to take care of themselves do not stay homeless for extended periods of time.

              Living chronically homeless is a lifestyle choice, usually rooted in chemical addiction and/or mental illness.

              1. So people choose to have mental illness? Schizophrenia is a lifestyle choice?

                Jesus that’s moronic.

                1. No, [some] people with mental illness choose to be homeless.

                  They didn’t choose to have their mental illness, but as a result of their illness they choose to be homeless.

                  Wow you’re a moron.

                  1. Oh, and another thing. I know about homelessness because I’ve been there. Twice. Mainly due to a combination of poor choices and this mistaken belief that government is there to help me.
                    I discovered that government doesn’t give a shit, and that choices really do matter.
                    That was when I ceased to be a liberal and became a libertarian.

                  2. Dude, people with schizophrenia don’t “choose” to be anything. They can’t. Their disease causes them to perceive reality incorrectly.

            3. And exactly how many homeless people are also obese? Do you even remember what point you’re trying to make?

              Why the hell do you keep acting like poor people don’t have refrigerators? I’ve never been in a household, below the poverty line or otherwise, without a refrigerator.

              The contents of those refrigerators is another matter…

              1. If only the obese could move the goalposts around as much as Derider does.

                1. They wouldn’t be fat anymore, that’s for sure.

        2. You know we can offer produce and other healthy choices at lower prices if fucktard liberals like you weren’t so hell-bent at keeping us out of poor neighborhoods.

      2. The evul corporashuns and rethuglicans force them to eat Mickey D’d and ramen noodles! Because they have no choice!

        1. Jesus you’re a retard. If you can’t store or prepare food safely, buying produce like fresh cheese and vegetables is not cheaper than eating McDoubles. The only person raving about corporashuns is you.

          1. Particularly if you don’t have a kitchen or a refrigerator, which is true of many people in poverty

            Citation needed, Corky.

          2. A refrigerator is not that expensive. Oh sure, maybe it won’t have an icemaker or one of those tap water dispensors, but the idea that a substantial portion of people can’t afford a fridge or stove is idiotic. I’ve seen satellite dishes on houses in South LA and beggars with cell phones for crying out loud.

            1. If you’re living in your car or on the street, you can’t have a refrigerator. If you’re paying weekly rent at a motel that doesn’t have a refrigerator in the room, you can’t have a refrigerator.

              1. Why can’t they have a fridge? I remember a small one I had in my college room that was quite inexpensive.

            2. In my mind the “homeless people can’t afford refrigerators and thus have to eat McDonald’s” argument is a variant of the No True Scotsman fallacy. There will always be people who are homeless. That is sad, but confiscating more wealth to give to other people on the basis of a problem that concerns a tiny percentage of people is more sad.

              1. Homelessness can be minimized with government intervention. It works in Europe. It might be sad to you, because you’re a sociopath. It’s not sad to 90% of the electorate.

                1. A sociopath is someone who does not like shoving guns up other’s assholes(figuratively speaking…or not) in order to get their way? Hmmmm…good to know…

                  1. “A sociopath is someone who does not like shoving guns up other’s assholes(figuratively speaking…or not) in order to get their way?”

                    That is correct.

                    A sociopath is someone who opposes using threat of organized violence to confiscate property from one person and give it to another.

                2. Most of the homeless are mentally ill or serious substance abusers that were formerly institutionalized until us libtards insisted that they be ‘mainstreamed’ into society! HOORAY!!

                  1. Remember when that libtard Ronald Reagan shut down half the mental hospitals in California because he wanted to “mainstream” them into society?

                    Oh no wait he was a republican and did it to save money.

                3. “It works in Europe.”

                  Um, no it doesn’t. You are clearly unaware of the various and sundry ways in which European governments have tried to eliminate transient cultures such as the gypsies, or their difficulty at integrating Turkish immigrants. Look on any given Stuttgart street and you’re more likely than not to find a homeless Turk.

                  1. There’s no homeless in Europe, dumbass. That’s just capitalist propaganda you heard on Glenn Beck.

                    1. Yeah, we should handle undesirable people the French-way:

                    2. There is homelessness in Europe. I would know, I’m european. Just came back from Copenhagen and even those guys have got homeless people.

          3. The vast majority of people in this country who live in “poverty” have a cell phone, fridge, a stove, a tv, a computer, a microwave, a toaster, and all the rest of our modern conveniences.

            Poverty does not automatically mean homeless.

            1. Cite please.

              1. What’s cable/satellite/fiber television penetration now? I think it’s in the high 90s.

                1. It’s kind of hard to have cable/satellite if you’re living in a cardboard box eating paste. The U.S. has the highest rate of hunger in the first world. Last year alone, 25,000 children starved to death in this country. But the poor are scum who deserve to die, right?

                  1. “25,000 children starved to death in this country”

                    I find that very difficult to believe.

                    Unless by “starve to death” you mean “food insecure”, which is defined as not knowing what’s for dinner.

                    1. No, I mean “starve to death” as in a child laying in the gutter dying a slow death while people like you walk by and spit on them. And don’t tell me that doesn’t happen – I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

                    2. Citation, please.

                    3. a child laying in the gutter dying a slow death while people like you walk by and spit on them … I’ve seen it with my own eyes

                      Why are you people wasting time arguing with someone who, by the obvious insanity (and utter falsehood) of the quote above is either pulling your chain or is suffering from a serious mental disorder?

                    4. You’re a liar.

              2. “Site” would be a low income housing development, slummy apartment, or any other place where the bottom 10% live.
                You’ll find all the modern conveniences there.
                Unless 10% of Americans are living in their cars.

              3. Sure, but I want citations for all your assertions above, specifically the percentage of people living below the poverty line who lack access to refrigerators.

                1. That’s fucking nonsense. I’ve done volunteer work with poor people, and while they aren’t living on the high hog, they generally have plenty of access to food and have some other amenities that set them apart from global poverty and even poverty in other industrialized nations.

                  1. Tricksy reason readers can’t debate me, so they use my name to make strawmen for each other to knock down.

                  2. Why on earth should someone who believes in a welfare state be satisfied by the argument that “our poor aren’t the worst off in the world”?

                    Our poor are some of the worst off in the developed world. Meanwhile, our rich are the very richest. There’s something wrong with that.

                    1. “Our poor are some of the worst off in the developed world”

                      gonna have to disagree with you on that one. Endless social spending doesn’t equate to better-off poor. There are also issues of how easily one can better oneself, how easily certain important things can be afforded (like health insurance), the quality of these services, crime, what your housing dollars can buy, actual societal integration etc.

                      For example, in my grandfather’s condo in Geneva, the door has a fuckin bank vault six-bolt system thingy. I’ve never seen such a thing in residential housing in America. And this was in a good part of Geneva (well at least it didn’t look crappy). A lot of Europe really is fucked by crime.

          4. Stop acting like America’s poor are living like something out of a Riis expose. Every time you argue that the poor have no way to store or prepare food safely, you sound like a ignorant hipster college student whose concept of poverty is limited to not having a fair trade coffee house on the same street.

          5. cheese doesn’t need to go in the fridge – why the hell do you think they made it all the time back when they didn’t have refridgerators?

            onions, cabbages, carrots, celery, rutabagas, apples, winter squash, potatoes
            just a few options of prodce that don’t really need refridgeration

    4. That is because soda is cheaper than milk… behold innovation!

      1. Water is even cheaper.

  14. If you want, you can argue that there will always be a bottom 10%, and that means that there will always be poverty.

    However, that doesn’t really address the question of whether people who are not in any danger of missing meals, freezing at night, or otherwise suffering any consequences worse than having their cable teevee cut off should be handed funds confiscated from their fellow citizens but the State.

    Yes, MNG, I said confiscated. It is a perfectly accurate characterization of taxation. You can look it up!

    1. From HERE:

      “The Communist state — even as the embryonic project of the League of the Just, whose proclamation was penned by Marx and Engels — was never anything so much as an Inquisition launched against, not a handful of heretics, but the whole populace, for whom freedom would be only the freedom to do evil.

      “What flows from these premises fills every stream of collectivism. Forget about outright socialism and even such features of American social democracy as foreign aid (especially to foreign dictators) and corporate subsidies. Consider instead the most basic function of the ‘welfare state’: care for the needy. What justifies the concentration of all ‘welfare’ dollars into the hands of government except the notion that society will starve the poor but the State won’t? Yes, the government — essentially, a handful of guys with guns — will be more compassionate and generous with the people’s money than the people themselves — the entirety of the population — will. With that as a concession, is it any wonder that this limited welfare state continues to grow beyond its limits (possibly with socialized medicine as the next domino)?”

  15. But if we don’t give welfare payments, the blacks will kill us for food. Riots everywhere!

    I’ll quote Stephen King’s iconic (stupid) classic hit Storm of the Century. “GIVE HIM WHAT HE WANTS AND HE’LL GO AWAY

    Just pay the niggers not to terrorize those poor honkey bastards.

  16. Newsflash for libertarians: blacks are poor because they have a lower average IQ than whites.

    Which means that there is no conceivable way to improve their condition – except for eugenics.

    On a side note, since libertarianism is almost exceptionally a high-IQ ideology, the only way to make it democratically electable is… eugenics! In two generations, we can have a libertarian president – if we can persuade the current establishment to ditch anti-racism and anti-exceptionalism and actually implement eugenic policies.

    1. Wow… okay then.

    2. Even ignoring the questionable vaidity of the IQ test and what qualifies an individual to be part of a certain race, the claim is stupid and is only seriously argued by fringe eugenic nuts who use Idiocracy as their personal bible. Neither the writer of the article nor anyone here is actually advocating what you are. One can only think you are either attempting to be satirical, or trolling.

    3. who said blacks are poor?

      Am I the only one who realizes that people keep using old demographic data?

      And all that ignores other behavioral/life choices data that is much more relevant to actually being successful. Anyone who isn’t a fuck up in America can pretty easily lead a really good life.

      1. Newsflash, there are more poor whites than poor blacks, so it has nothing to do with skin color or systemic racism, it is the choices people make throughout their lives.

  17. The Original Intent of The Minimum Wage: Put The Unskilled into U.S. Concentration Camps.
    It is said that “Nature abhors a vacuum.” We can dance around the invisible elephant in the room until pigs fly and we’ll get nowhere. Nevertheless, in the following, I am not offering a solution to the problem. I am merely illuminating it.

    Humans are very adaptable creatures and act on the basis of incentives, positive and negative. Without getting into a discussion of the merits, if any, of Skinnerian theory, we can look at certain “unanticipated consequences” of government policies. But first, we examine some basic psychology and economics.

    Desire is an incentive to take action. To take action requires the power to do so. Until the levels of both the incentive and the power to take action are great enough, the situation will remain static. Desire will remain unnoticed and unfulfilled.

    In the sphere of economics, power is measured in units of capital. Desire without capital has no practical meaning. Desire plus capital equals demand (economic demand).

    Someone lacks something he desires and is unable to produce it by himself. He sees the way to fill the lack is to obtain it from someone who has or can produce what he desires. Unless he expropriates the object of his desire from that someone else, he must enter into a exchange transaction. In this transaction, he exchanges something he values less for something he values more. On the other side of the transaction, the same thing happens. Thus, each actor negotiates to exchange something he believes is of lesser value to get something he believes is of greater value. In other words, each actor pays what he believes is a “fair price” for what he takes out of the transaction. This is called a “win-win” situation. If either of the actors in the transaction does not believe that is going to happen, he does not complete the transaction. It just does not take place. This is called market pricing. A job is such a transaction.

    When government establishes a “minimum wage,” it removes, through the exercise of its police power, the ability of the actors to negotiate what represents to them a “fair price” for a unit of labor. This creates a situation of greatest consequence at the lower end of the labor market. This is the area of jobs not requiring significant job skills, i.e., unskilled labor. The saving grace (in a non-socialist economy) is that neither actor is forced to give or take the job. The bottom line is: if a ‘win-win” situation is not sensed, the job goes unfilled and the job seeker remains unemployed. Thus, the minimum wage is a major cause of unemployment at the low end. Over time, the unemployment problem is reflected upward in the labor market.

    Where did we get the “minimum wage?” It is more than just interesting to note that the original intent of the “minimum wage,” or “living wage,” originated in the United States during the “Progressive Era” which began in the late 1800s and lasted until the early 1900s. Implementation of minimum wage laws was designed to remove unskilled people from the labor market so they could be put into concentration camps.

    Say What????? Read on.

    “Reform-minded economists of the Progressive Era defended exclusionary labor and immigration legislation on grounds that the labor force should be rid of unfit workers, whom they labeled ‘parasites,’ ‘the unemployable,’ ‘low-wage races’ and ‘industrial residuum.'”

    “Progressive economists…believed that binding minimum wages would cause job losses. However, the progressive economists also believed that the job loss induced by minimum wages was a social benefit, as it performed the eugenic service of ridding the labor force of the “unemployable.”

    “A minimum wage was seen to operate eugenically through two channels: by deterring prospective immigrants [intending to enter the U.S. legally] and also by removing from employment the ‘unemployable,’ who, thus identified, could be, for example, segregated in rural communities or sterilized.” To make the deterrence factor operative, effective immigration controls were assumed to be in place.

    “The minimum wage protects deserving workers from the competition of the unfit by making it illegal to work for less.” “‘We have not reached the stage…where we can proceed to chloroform them once and for all; but at least they can be segregated, shut up in refuges and asylums, and prevented from propagating their kind.'” (See: Thomas C. Leonard, “Retrospectives: Eugenics and Economics in the Progressive Era”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Volume 19, No. 4, Fall 2005, pp. 207-214.)

    These days, nobody thinks about chloroforming the “unemployable.” Nobody even tries to define the term “unemployable.” What we do know is, government policies based on a “minimum wage” actually create unemployables. But, that’s only the beginning.

    Government can’t let the unemployables starve. The fix for that is welfare. Of course, welfare payments comprise capital expropriated from the private sector in the form of taxes or borrowing. And, of course, higher taxes mean more capital removed from the private sector. Obviously, the more capital that is removed from the private sector, the higher unemployment goes. If you don’t believe the last sentence, then explain how government stimulus packages designed to “pump capital into the economy to create jobs” work. (These packages don’t result in a net creation of jobs, by the way. They merely redistribute jobs. Jobs follow capital. In the area where capital is removed, jobs are destroyed. If any further proof is needed, it is easily observable that businesses and the jobs they represent will move from areas of high-tax to areas of lower-tax.)

    So, what does all of ths mean? The answer: Government knows that the minimum wage causes unemployment. The penalties paid by taxpayers for societal unemployables are higher taxes and more unemployables. The minimum wage leads to illegal immigration. Illegals have an incentive to come over the border and fill the “unskilled” jobs that are left unfilled. Why? Because they can. It’s a vicious circle. And, government policies are the progenitors of the problem.

  18. There should be a minimum wage. Paychecks should dip into negative dollars.

  19. The State Against Blacks (aka Dred Scott)

  20. He hires fewer people no because of the minimum wage but because of the maximum jheri curls.

  21. Slavery doesn’t count as employment.

  22. Go to other countries and tell them to raise their minimum wages? Don’t give Obama any ideas.

  23. Maybe the answer is to stop talking to people on the street when that street is in Manhattan, John.

  24. Ben Bernanke is the front row there.

  25. Uh oh, the hair braiding example again.

  26. Useless cosmotology license? Not when you run out of TP.

    1. Is that what happened to the white house’s copy of the constitution?

  27. You’re leading the witness again, John.

  28. Two words for ya: Population Control.

    Stop fending for these ugly, sickly, worthless minorities with our beautiful white tax dollars. Seriously, it’s fuckin’ disgusting.

    Would you intentionally feed a roach colony just so they don’t starve to death and die?

    Truth has to be told eventually…

    1. Thanks for coming to the Liveblog try-outs. You came on a little strong but you got heart kid. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

  29. Rangel! Is that a tie or a bib?

  30. Lack of big enough government is causing my internet to cut out, so liveblog is cutting out early. (Unless someone picks it up hint hint.)

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  33. the minimum-wage-causes-less-employment claim is accurate, if you’re talking about competitive markets. This isn the 40’s anymore where every tom dick and harry has a factory job. Modern economies are heavily teriary-sector in terms of jobs, and such businesses are far from the idealized competitive market.
    There was that study done that showed that raising the minimum wage didn’t affect fast food workers in terms of employment. This should come as no surprise as fast food places, like the businesses most jobs are in, are not completely competitive markets. A burger King in one town is not the same as a burger king in another – I’m not going to go to the next town just to go to a different fast food place just for lower prioces. It’s more of a competitive monopoly situation.

    And there’s the added issue of even if the less employment claim is true, maybe it’s still the better option. Another feature of a lot of lower-end jobs (like fast food workers, supermarket cashiers, etc.) is high flexibility in shifts. All the cashiers I always see are high school or a little bit older girls, none of them qworking regular. It’s the farthest thing from 9-5 m-f. If the boss needs more labor-hours, he asks everyone, and someone offers if it;s worth it. If he can’t afford as much, he cuts some shifts.
    So a minimum wage could be cutting the quantity demanded of labor-hours, but it might be more preferable for poorer people, in light of the higher rate than what the market would offer. That is, for any one poor person, he’d prefer that there be less overall labor-hours demanded but that he get a higher rate when he does work. In the long run no matter what there are plenty of shifts here and there all over town to cover, whereas a higher rate flat out wouldn’t exist without the law.

    And note that none of this has to do with our current jobs problem, which is more of a regular-work scarcity. That has other, more significant issues involved with the cost of having a regular employee cuased y issues with taxes, unemployment insurance, health insurance, etc. It’s exorbitantly expensive to hire someone as a regular worker nowadays, but the minimum wage isn’t part of that issue (at the rate that the minimum wage is set at nowadays, which is pretty low, and only represents specific typoes of jobs klike I mentioned above).

    1. “There was that study done that showed that raising the minimum wage didn’t affect fast food workers in terms of employment. ”

      No, but it did cause prices to go up, which lead to less sales, less revenue, and slowing of expansion, so raising min wage didnt cause jobs to disappear, it just stopped them from being created in the first place.

  34. I have to admit that about two thirds of the way through reading this I started thinking about TARP!?! It is eerie how ideas that don’t work get used over and over again.

  35. ctrl+f ‘police’ – zero hits. John Stossel is a whore.

  36. Reason has a lot of intelligent writers. So why do they continue to employ John Stossel? It makes no sense.

    1. Why do you think Stossel is not intelligent? Have you ever tried to make complex topics simple to understand to people unfamiliar with them? It’s hard and he does it well. It tells me he more than understands the concepts, he can manipulate them in a particular way that most intelligent people have difficulty.

      He’s also smart enough to interview Walter Williams who is brilliant by any lights.

      When I want info on a nuanced economic problem I’ll go over to LVMI. When I want to introduce someone to a particular concept I’ll link them a Stossel article.

      Who do you think does more good? I say Stossel, he brings people in.

      1. To those who have been studying this philosophy for years, Stossel can seem quit dull and elementary. On the other hand, for those just coming into this line of thinking, he does a pretty good job of breaking things down for people.

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  39. Because blacks have a substantially lower average IQ than whites, there is no situation other than outright communism that would lead to equal outcomes for the two groups. I agree that welfare creates perverse incentives and minimum wage laws create unemployment, but let’s not pretend that those are the only reasons for black failure. Just look at Africa.

  40. Welcome to the real world Stossel!! The liberal leftists have been buying votes for decades with their incessant government programs dedicated only to assurring votes from the minorities.

  41. To anyone here who thinks welfare by any name = good for people, how about we get someone who’s on the system disabuse you of that stupidity.

    I live in Ontario. I collect disability. I have been since March 1995. The system does next to nothing to actually help people like me go out and see if we’re actually as unemployable as the doctor [who has to fill out whatever paperwork the government requires in order to determine eligibility] says we are. And I mean nothing.

    Oh, sure, if you’re of the mind to want to work, ODSP [Ontario Disability Support Program] will help you out, but the stubs sent out every month never include a list of employers and/or agencies that are dedicated to helping people find employment. None. And I’m pretty sure that I get the same kind of stub everyone else gets. At least, those sent out to singles anyways.

    No. The assumption seems to be that if you’re collecting disability, then, well, you’re unemployable.

    But by whose standards? The doctor’s trained to tell if you have a health problem, but is he or she able to determine how long this condition will leave you unable to work? Or that by having this condition-that-keeps-you-from-working you’re permanently unemployable? They’re not.

    I mean, my father is deaf. He was born deaf due to prenatal rubella. He never collected disability. Hell, he worked from the day he graduated school, building school buses for over thirty years, right up until the plant closed and he was laid off.

    My father certainly would qualify, but he worked. And I can too, though at the beginning, when I had wanted to know what this condition was that I had that somehow prohibited an otherwise able-bodied person like me from working, I was told to not ask. Just don’t ask and accept your cheque each month [I did that for a long time – shut up and held out my hand].

    It’s thanks to things like that old Stossel special on freeloaders that really drove home the point: I wasn’t being helped up, I was being kept where I was. Not going down, but certainly not going up, either.

    When people liken welfare to a hammock they’re absolutely right. That’s what it is. When you’ve got people supporting you you have no reason or incentive to get up and try to support yourself. The government does it for you, so why bother trying?

    The good news is that after trying a few times I now have a job delivering newspapers. It doesn’t pay much – just eight cents per paper – but it’s a start. It’s experience that will lead to something better, and that in turn will lead to something better yet, and, I hope, will lead me to get off the system that keeps people in place, neither falling and certainly not advancing.

    That’s what welfare is. A trap to keep you at whatever point you were when you started, with no incentive to advance yourself and those around you. Anyone else who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.

    Take it from someone who knows.

  42. ty rights, etc. seem like a more accurate measure of freedom than democracy.

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