Quais foram os resultados depois de colossal gasto público da chamada Guerra à Pobreza nos Estados Unidos? Ontem, observou-se o 50º aniversário desta política que foi estabelecida pelo presidente Lyndon Johnson (foto acima). O assunto é extremamenmte importante hoje em dia em que muitos países seguiram o mesmo caminho, mas continua-se gastando mais e mais, um sinal de que milhões ainda continuam na pobreza e outros milhões se apegam às ajudas financeiras públicas para viverem.
No Brasil temos inúmeros ajudas sociais, o mais conhecido programa para combater a pobreza é o Bolsa Família.
Por que o Estado parece não conseguir a resolver a pobreza? Por que as doações em dinheiro não reduzem a pobreza?
O site do National Review Online convidou vários especialista para discutirem estes resultados da Guerra à Pobreza americana depois de 50 anos. Em resumo, eles dizem que a Guerra à Pobreza foi uma "falha gigantesca", não conseguiu tornar as pessoas mais auto-suficientese piorou a moral das pessoas. A ajuda financeira pública tornou-se narcótico.
Que coisa não é? Como é que dinheiro de graça tornaria as pessoas mais trabalhadoras?
O pior é que depois de 50 anos, os esquerdistas americanos e de todo mundo ainda apoiam esta polítca com todas as suas armas.
Aqui vão as opiniões de alguns analistas mostrados no National Review Online. Marco em vermelho os pontos relevantes. São muitos analistas eu só mostro aqui os primeiros da lista, vejam todos no site da National Review Online.
The War on Povery at 50.
Experts reflect on what went right and what went wrong with LBJ’s initiative.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s announcing his “war on poverty.” What went wrong? What, if anything, went right? What would a real war on poverty look like in 2014? Some experts reflect.
Our country is better when we have a meaningful safety net. The most prosperous nation in the history of the world should provide basic protections for the most vulnerable. But that safety net was intended to be effective, affordable, focused, and committed to moving people toward self-sufficiency. As we mark the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, we see how far off the mark we are from his attempt to move beyond the “Kennedy legacy.”
No, and the dramatic expansions of social-welfare programs such as Medicaid and food stamps these last few years swim in a deep pool of uncertainty. Taxpayer costs are growing. And the people in honest need of help must compete for scarce services with an expanded population our welfare programs were never meant to cover. The War on Poverty is breaking the other way.
Seventy percent of low-income kids grow up to become low-income adults. We need policies that break the generational cycle that traps people in poverty. We need the political will and the moral imperative to shut down failing programs and redirect resources toward anti-poverty measures proven to work.
Reforms should transfer more management of these programs away from Washington and to the states. Past welfare reforms worked this way, with local officials able to decide how to get the right help to the right people and support them on their road to financial independence.
Change is imperative. Without it, we will continue to fight daily battles against poverty, but we will lose the war.
— Josh Archambault is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability.
John H. Armstrong
The War on Poverty was the most ambitious attempt in American history to eradicate poverty through government planning. I believe it was a virtuous plan, driven by idealism and deeply humanitarian concerns. But it was a massive government failure. The problem was that government’s good intentions were put into a hugely bureaucratic program with little awareness of the consequences of the moral choices the program created.
Michael Novak rightly writes in Writing from Left to Right, “There is a right way and a wrong way for government to get involved in humanitarian attempts to better the human condition.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt recognized this when he warned Congress in 1935: “The lessons of history, confirmed by evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration to the national fiber. To dole out relief . . . is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.”
It was this “narcotic” that was the real culprit in the War on Poverty. LBJ’s program clearly improved the condition of the elderly. It also brought attention to the great needs of many poor African Americans. But it lost sight of the moral consequences of good intentions gone awry by removing personal responsibility. In the end it eroded the national character of millions of Americans who were subtly taught that it really is more blessed to receive than to give. The fabric of this program, as FDR warned, was flawed. In time it was a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, along with President Clinton, who legislatively addressed the flaw!
— John H. Armstrong is president of the ACT3 Network in Carol Stream, Ill.
On January 8, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty. How goes the battle?
The administration is quick to blame the Great Recession (or George W. Bush), and everyone knows the fierce headwind that the economic crisis created. But ultimately, there will be no excuses: History will assign responsibility to the president of the United States. Barring a miracle, the Obama years will be remembered as the time America gave up ground in our War on Poverty.
How could the administration right the ship? It could put genuinely pro-poor policies ahead of the perpetual political campaign. The president’s denunciation of income inequality and call to increase the minimum wage may be handy political cudgels, but neither is a policy that actually helps those most in need. Equalizing incomes per se does nothing to expand opportunity. And as my colleague Mike Strain points out, high minimum wages destroy job opportunities for marginalized Americans.
A better path forward would be to lower the minimum wage while expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. Add in disruptive education reform and a radically pro-jobs agenda including everything from energy production to corporate-tax reform, and the Obama administration could execute a political turnaround for the ages.
Will President Obama be remembered for a legendary comeback or a historic failure to help vulnerable people? Listen carefully to his State of the Union address. If the president focuses on tangential issues such as income inequality and insists on counterproductive minimum-wage hikes, we will have our answer.
— Arthur Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute and the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise.
In developed economies, even the most systematic private charity is insufficient, so government must act. But persistent poverty is more than a lack of money, and its ending takes more than money and services. Alas, LBJ’s War on Poverty, like the first big welfare expansion in the 1930s, did not rightly address the non-economic dimensions. Civil society — especially families, neighborhoods, and religious charities — was bypassed. Worse, some government programs harmed rather than rejuvenated essential institutions — think of AFDC’s damage to married families, urban renewal’s uprooting of functioning neighborhoods, and secularizing government-funding requirements that either excluded religious charities from partnerships or undermined their full vigor.
Doing nothing was no solution to real problems, but the War on Poverty, while bringing some relief, also helped to undermine structures, processes, and attitudes essential for long-term success in overcoming deeply rooted poverty.
Have we learned from experience? Are we doing better? Not much better. The national policy debate seems to have regressed to “more government vs. less government,” leaving civil society marginalized. We have little idea of how to help neighborhoods flourish. The consensus that started to form in the 1990s about the necessity of strong marriages and families — moms and dads — has been disrupted by other relationship passions.
One bright spot: The faith-based initiative of the Clinton, Bush, and now Obama years has highlighted the vital role of religious organizations, and its reforms, such as Charitable Choice, have lifted the secularizing pressures from partnerships.
But five decades after LBJ, we still have a long way to go to understand the non-economic aspects of persistent poverty. And tragically, contemporary government’s insistence on enforcing progressive values is undermining the very civil-society institutions that need to flourish.
— Stanley Carlson-Thies is president of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance.
Grant E. Collins II
To fight injustice, or in this case for the poor, is always noble, and there are varying opinions on how effective some of the approaches are in the end. What we can appreciate about the War on Poverty was a recognition that something needed to be done and that our government leaders were engaged and met the spirit of the challenge with the methods of that era. Today the issue isn’t poverty as much as it is a wider segment of society not flourishing. Today, many more, even with jobs, degrees, cars, and garages, also feel this sense of injustice. Poverty is as much a state of mind as it is the lack of material goods and resources, and as such, many of us are poor even with a paycheck. Our challenge today includes addressing the issues of poverty while also addressing the reasons, causes, and policies that keep so many more from flourishing.
— Grant E. Collins II served as deputy director of the Office of Family Assistance at the Department of Health and Human Services.
According to official U.S.-government figures, there has been no progress whatever in reducing the prevalence of absolute poverty in our country for nearly half a century. For the year 2012, the Census Bureau counted 15 percent of the total U.S. population as having incomes below the fixed and unchanging official federal poverty line, which is adjusted only for inflation. Back in 1966, America’s “poverty rate” by that same measure was reported to be 14.7 percent.
(The poverty index used for such readings was devised during 1964 at the very start of the War on Poverty, was publicly unveiled in early 1965, and ever after has been the main government calculation deployed to track our country’s performance against poverty.)
If these statistics accurately reflected conditions in real-life America, they would be cause for alarm, outrage, and maybe even something much like political revolution, considering the enormous increases in per capita income and per capita wealth the nation enjoyed over that same period. But these figures are nonsense numbers, generated by an obviously cracked algorithm. Which is why no one in Washington (or in the various reaches of the academy) really takes them seriously.
Here is the fundamental and irremediable flaw with America’s official poverty rate: It measures the wrong thing. It assumes that annual income is the yardstick for determining living standards. In truth people’s living standards are always determined by annual consumption: expenditures, asset draw-downs, gifts, non-cash transfers, and all the rest.
Income levels are a miserable predictor of consumption levels for the bottom ranks in America today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual spending power of the poorest quintile in the U.S. income distribution is well over twice their annual pre-tax reported income — and that mismatch has been gradually widening since at least the early 1970s. (And we don’t even bother to estimate total consumption for the poorest quintile, including things such as Medicaid and other public non-cash transfers.)
If we had a decent set of official poverty metrics and social indicators, we would know that the sort of material deprivation that afflicted a troubling portion of our society back in the early 1960s has been essentially eradicated — and was in fact eradicated some time ago — but that disturbing pathologies are spreading new forms of misery in our land nonetheless.
Our government officially declared war on poverty in January 1964. That long war has been the occasion of many tragedies. One of them is that we have used a broken compass to guide our long and expensive campaign to redress material want, and we have begrudged the relatively trivial outlays that could have allowed us to get a better statistical sense of our bearings.
— Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.
Chester E. Finn Jr.
Forgive an aging education-reformer’s reminiscences, but LBJ’s declaration of war on poverty shaped the next 50 years of my life.
I was a Harvard undergraduate at the time, dabbling in social reform and social action via a slew of student-volunteer programs in schools, settlement houses, public-housing projects, and hospitals; not studying very hard; and expected by my family to join my father and grandfather in their Dayton law firm.
Then two things happened.
Professor Edward Banfield brought into his course on “urban problems” a young assistant secretary of labor named Daniel Patrick Moynihan, whose enthusiastic explanation of the nascent “war” fired my imagination — and introduced the man who would later become my doctoral adviser, chief mentor, and the source of three riveting jobs.
And Lyndon Johnson’s oft-stated conviction that education was the surest route to vanquishing poverty engaged both the do-gooder inclinations of a 20-year-old and reflected what I was seeing among children in poor neighborhoods of Cambridge and Boston and the miserable schools they attended.
Between LBJ and Pat Moynihan, I now had a sense of mission. So I applied to the ed school instead of the law school. And on it went from there.
In retrospect, I have no career regrets, but I’ve also learned a ton about the limits of formal education (which makes up a relatively small part of a person’s life); about the difficulty of changing our major institutions; about the hazards of inflating what Uncle Sam, in particular, can do to bring about such changes; about the predilection of our politics to place adult interests ahead of children’s; and about poverty’s dogged capacity to defeat just about every intervention that a free society can devise.
— Chester E. Finn Jr. is senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
After 50 years and trillions of dollars, the War on Poverty has brought new meaning to an old phrase: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Would any of the War on Poverty’s architects drive through our nation’s worst ghettos or enclaves of rural poverty and think, Mission accomplished? Or would they be appalled at the now-entrenched fatherlessness, the multi-generational poverty, and the addiction to “the draw” — the monthly government check that sustains entire local economies?
It’s time for a new anti-poverty program, one that begins with a seemingly modest step — a step, however, with transformational potential. It’s time to tell the government, “Do no harm.”
In other words, stop hurting the poor.
The message is simple, but the execution is difficult. Government, stop hurting the poor. Citizens, extend your hands to your brothers and sisters in need. That’s a “war on poverty” I’d sign up to fight.
— David French is senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice.
We have spent $15 trillion “fighting” poverty since 1965, and we are currently spending $1 trillion a year — an amount equal to about $22,000 per poor person or $88,000 for a family of four. Yet our poverty rate today (nearly 16 percent) is higher than it was in 1965 (14 percent)! If there has been a war on poverty, poverty won.
If not to reduce poverty, what difference does all this spending make? These programs are destroying the culture of the recipient communities. They are replacing a culture of self-reliance and self-help with a culture of dependency. Amazingly, a record 91.5 million people of working age — almost one-third of the entire population — are not working and not even looking for a job. Is it not obvious that we are subsidizing and enabling a way of life? To put it bluntly, we are paying young women to have children out of wedlock. We are paying them to be unemployed. And we are paying them to remain poor.
What is more, the welfare state appeals especially to those in near-poverty, promising a wide range of non-cash benefits in exchange for only one thing: a low income.
Putting more money into the system to combat poverty would probably only increase the number of poor, not decrease it. If we want to win the War on Poverty, we need to move away from government-provided aid and toward the private sector. We could funnel aid through private organizations by allowing taxpayers to allocate a portion of taxes to qualified charities that provide assistance to the indigent, rather than sending those tax dollars to government programs, such as the food-stamp system. By moving away from the public sector, which only reinforces the behaviors that make the need for aid permanent, we could wage an actual war on poverty.
— John C. Goodman is president of the National Center for Policy Analysis.
In many ways, the War on Poverty, which was such a key part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society program, represents the apogee of progressivism in America in the 20th century. Though the groundwork for this and other programs had been laid decades earlier by figures such as Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, even the latter’s New Deal paled by comparison, in terms of resources devoted, with Johnson’s effort to abolish poverty from the United States.
As we know now, Johnson’s offensive against poverty did not have the impact envisaged by its progenitors. By the early 1970s, the failure was stark. Even today, this failure remains Exhibit A for the ineffectiveness of government intervention when confronting many economic problems. Not that this has led to any major rethinking on the part of most modern leftists when it comes to their conviction that you really cannot have enough state intervention or spend enough taxpayers’ money when you’re addressing an issue like poverty. Their approach remains unchanged: Pass more laws and throw more dollars at the problem.
If there is any good news coming from the War on Poverty’s failure, it’s that we now understand more about what causes poverty — and that sometimes the causes have little to with economics per se. More of us recognize that family breakdown, addictive behavior, and mental illness often contribute to people’s descent into substandard living conditions. I fear, however, that until America exorcizes the demon of false hope — thinking that there’s nothing that can’t be fixed by a few enlightened bureaucrats armed with mountains of cash — we will continue to repeat the progressivist error over and over again. Which is, of course, the definition of insanity.
— Samuel Gregg is research director at the Acton Institute and author, most recently, of Becoming Europe and Tea Party Catholic.
Conservatives often complain, with some justification, that President Johnson’s War on Poverty did more to increase the taxpayer-supported adult work force than to improve the lives of poor children. But we shouldn’t neglect one of the major reasons that rates of child poverty have not budged in 50 years. The poverty war coincided with a massive cultural shift in attitudes toward fathers. Starting in the mid 1960s, Americans grew increasingly blasé about the universal connection between marriage and childbearing. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was observing the first signs of this transformation when he noted in his legendary 1965 report, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” that black births outside marriage were on the rise even as marriage-friendly black male employment was also improving.
To be entirely fair, Johnson was deeply affected by Moynihan’s findings and gave a graduation talk at Howard University, which he later called “the greatest civil-rights speech” of his presidency, warning of a crisis in the making. Still, the protest against Moynihan’s paper by black leaders and feminists was so intensely bitter that Johnson dropped the issue and for decades no one in official Washington dared to mention the growing connection between poverty and family breakdown. Today almost three-quarters of poor families are headed by a single mother.
Much as we might condemn government fecklessness, the prevalence of poor single mothers raises challenges for thoughtful conservatives who wish to wage war on today’s poverty. Marriage-promotion programs run by the government have had disappointing results. Though the 1996 welfare-reform law sent a record number of single mothers into the work force and briefly reduced child poverty, its impact on the poor has been limited. The truth is that a low-skilled single mother will have to depend on hefty government assistance even if she is working. Over the past decades — partly in response to changes in the low-wage labor market and partly in response to the inexorable decline of two-parent families — federal, state, and local governments have created an expensive infrastructure that enables and sustains the fragile single-mother household. The support system comprises food stamps, health insurance, subsidized housing, child care, afterschool programs, and in many cases, Social Security disability benefits and special education.
It’s by no means clear how to entirely dismantle this infrastructure, even if it were politically possible — or morally wise — to do so.
— Kay Hymowitz is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor at City Journal.
Para complementar, eu lembro que Judas Iscariotes também quis ajudar aos pobres e exigiu isto de Cristo (João 12:1-8). O que Cristo respondeu?