Perpetuating Ineffective Anti-Poverty Programs

The Obama presidency has been distinguished for unprecedented levels of federal social welfare spending. In his second term, President Obama is pursuing new and expanded federal anti-poverty initiatives. There has been a sharp increase in the food-stamp and Children’s Health Insurance programs. Obama has proposed more federal funding for Head Start and pre-school education generally, job training for laid-off workers, and Medicaid. In fact, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) has bloated the Medicaid rolls. He is even seeking free federally subsidized community college education. I have seen numbers ranging from 79 to 126 federal programs aimed at reducing poverty and an annual price tag of $668 to $927 billion. The number of programs and cost figures vary depending on how one wants to categorize the different programs. Apparently, it isn’t enough for Obama. He wants more.

It’s the appropriate time to examine the federal anti-poverty effort, since this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of President Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” when the federal government entered this arena in earnest in an ongoing way. LBJ proclaimed an objective of fashioning “a society of success without squalor.” The obvious question is: What has been the effect?

About the War on Poverty itself, I wrote in The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic that there is, to put it mildly, much doubt among historians and other scholars about whether it was successful. How much it was even needed is in question. The overwhelmingly Democratic Congress at the time seemed to just rubber-stamp LBJ’s domestic policy agenda. Historian Allen J. Matusow of Rice University writes, for example, that there is no evidence that Medicaid provided easier access to health care for the poor or better quality care than the previous charity care. He also says that Medicare—another Great Society initiative—has not significantly affected the lifespan of the elderly. What did happen in the decades afterwards was that these programs added considerably to the increase of health care costs that began with the introduction of private insurance plans in the 1950s. The main economic effects of these programs, according to Matusow, were to transfer income from middle-class taxpayers to middle-class health care professionals and create new inequalities among the states and among the welfare and non-welfare poor. This was a good example of the problem of unintended consequences of government programs—although they might have been at least somewhat foreseeable if better research had been done in the first place.

Head Start has been shown not to give pupils any enduring academic advantage. In fact, there has long been a question generally about whether it is academically counterproductive to start formal schooling at too young of an age. If this is the case, one wonders why Obama wants to pump more money into preschool programs. Perhaps his strong support from teachers unions has something to do with it. There are a lot of jobs at stake. I remember years back someone from the educational community writing that it shouldn’t pay attention to the higher levels of education anymore because the real action—that is, job expansion—was in early-childhood schooling. Actually, Obama’s community college proposal may get the teachers unions chortling anew at the other end. Never mind, of course, that higher education—especially community colleges—is already suffering a decimation of standards because of a flood of academically unqualified students. Another freebie will only exacerbate that.

The revelations in the last few years about inflated placement claims and other problems in the Job Corps program, another LBJ legacy, should give pause to anyone who thinks that federally-funded job training programs are likely to be a smashing success.

There are other significant unplanned effects of federal anti-poverty programs. One, much talked about, is the growth of an ethic of government dependency. Obama, of course, has claimed that the programs have worked (if that’s the case, one wonders why he insists we need more of them and why he keeps clamoring about an increasing income gap). In a certain sense, though, he’s correct: the programs have put all kinds of benefits in the hands of recipients. A 2013 Cato Institute analysis showed that the benefit package (nontaxable), ranging from cash payments to food stamps to rent and utility assistance, which a typical recipient gets is larger in eleven states and the District of Columbia than the average pre-tax wage for a first-year public school teacher. In thirty-nine states, it is higher than the average starting wage for a secretary. So, poverty programs may be “working,” if by that one means that people are being provided for at the price of ongoing government dependency.

When Obama’s initiatives to weaken the work requirements for welfare recipients are factored in, it becomes clear that federal anti-poverty programs provide no incentive—human nature being what it is—for personal initiative or self-improvement. In a certain sense, they promote poverty of another kind: impoverishment of character. This brings into sharp relief the point of Marvin Olasky’s noted book of the early 1990s, The Tragedy of American Compassion, which contrasted nineteenth-century private charity with our era’s welfare state. The older charity came with the condition of the individual working to make himself a better person. The welfare state insures material well-being—and not just what’s needed to survive, as the free cell phones for the poor of the Obama era illustrate—as a matter of right.

It’s no surprise currently that we see nearly thirty percent of all Americans taking part in some means-tested federal anti-poverty assistance program, excluding the school-lunch program. That’s about 90 million people, which is an all-time high. Somehow, one thinks that that wasn’t what LBJ meant by “success without squalor.” He probably also didn’t anticipate the other unplanned effect: that anti-poverty benefits would also go to people above the poverty line. As Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute points out in a recent article, as of 2012 there were twice as many people above as below the poverty line receiving anti-poverty benefits (he calls it “defining dependence upward”). (By the way, before one dismisses analyses by Cato and AEI as being ideologically driven, he should consider that no left-leaning think tanks are likely to even study this for their own ideological reasons.)

Eberstadt mentions another unexpected development of the anti-poverty program era: the exiting of males in their prime adult working years—including young men—from the labor force. He says that this cannot be explained just by the greater presence of women in it or by any educational or health disadvantages. He doesn’t draw the connection directly, but suggests that the “alternatives” presented by anti-poverty programs may have had something to do with it.

Then, of course, there’s the jarring level of illegitimacy and family breakdown since 1965. One cannot say that federal anti-poverty programs caused that. There are probably multiple causes, and we should keep in mind that the War on Poverty came along at the very time that the sexual revolution, the “Me generation” phenomenon, and contemporary feminism erupted. Still, Eberstadt says the programs have made these conditions “more feasible” on a large scale today. He is no doubt thinking of such things as how in an era of loose sexual restraint some may be additionally encouraged to be irresponsible because, after all, if something like an out-of-wedlock pregnancy occurs the state is always there for financial support.

What is to be said about all this from a Catholic social teaching standpoint? Catholics on the political left, who seem to identify the platform of the Democratic party with Catholic teaching and see those Catholics opposing the welfare state as dissenters, don’t blink an eyelash. Even some faithful Catholics defend federal anti-poverty efforts as part of the Christian obligation to help the poor. It’s what’s being done now—what’s available—to address the problem, so they support it and even want to expand it. The leftist Catholics need take seriously Pope St. John XXIII’s admonition that Christians “conform their behavior in economic and social affairs to the teachings of the Church.” Church teaching comes first, not ideology. The well-meaning faithful Catholics have to keep in mind that how something is done is often as important as what’s done. Indeed, that’s suggested by the venerable principle of subsidiarity. If things have to be done, they must not be done at the higher, more distant, more centralized level unless they clearly cannot be done successfully at lower levels.

Pope St. John Paul II indicated that the American experience is not unique. In Centesimus Annus, he called generally for turning away from the “social assistance state” that saps human initiative, requires inordinate public spending, and is more concerned about “bureaucratic ways” than serving those in need. Instead, a renewed emphasis should be placed on family, neighbors, and the Church (#48). Subsidiarity isn’t something that one can take or leave. Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno said that violating it is “an injustice” and “a grave evil” (#79). Even when government has to be in the picture, Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate suggested “fiscal subsidiarity,” where citizens themselves decide how to allocate a portion of the taxes they pay (#60). So, unlike Obama and the left, we don’t just have to accept that public officials and bureaucrats know best.

Nor is subsidiarity trumped by the principle of solidarity, as some in Catholic university theology and social science departments suggest. The principles must work together: solidarity stresses the affinity of different groups in the community and obliges them to assist each other. Subsidiarity specifies how it’s to be done.

Also, the Church hardly embraces a nonjudgmental perspective that would just give things to the poor without expecting them to assume responsibility. John Paul spoke about the necessity of work (Laborem Exercens #16) and the Church has never encouraged indolence.

The obligation of Catholic teaching to help the poor hardly requires us to be oblivious to how effective the efforts are, much less to jump on the bandwagon of every initiative that proposes to do that. As just stated, it does not require a federal or any government-run effort but seems to discourage it when other alternatives are available or can be constructed. Perhaps the fiftieth anniversary of the War on Poverty signals that it’s time to avoid more of the same and look for a drastically different approach that actually might look more like the time-tested and traditional one.

Editor’s note: The image above titled “St. Lawrence Giving Wealth to the Poor” was painted by Jacopo d’Antonio Negretti in 1575.

Stephen M. Krason

By

Stephen M. Krason's "Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic" column appears monthly (sometimes bi-monthly) in Crisis Magazine. He is Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. He is the author, most recently, of The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic (Transaction Publishers, 2012), and editor of three volumes: Child Abuse, Family Rights, and the Child Protective System (Scarecrow Press, 2013) and The Crisis of Religious Liberty (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014); and most recently, Challenging the Secular Culture: A Call to Christians (Franciscan University Press). His next book is Catholicism and American Political Ideologies (forthcoming this fall from Hamilton Books). He is also the author of a new novel, American Cincinnatus.

  • SnowCherryBlossoms

    How will this be corrected? Once these programs are put into place it literally takes an act of God to remove them. One example, on a massive scale is the ACA. This is so insidious, so needed but so wrongly accomplished, if at a later date, any President tries to remove or replace it for the good of the whole Country, they will most likely be torn to shreds by those who receive the care for free, not understanding that it is not sustainable in the long run. So basically it will collapse on itself and there will be no care for anyone. Concerning all of the other poverty programs, how does our current President plan to fund them? Tax increases? Nothing that has been “accomplished” by him was done well or done honestly or done for the right reasons.

    • john smith

      What is there to do? The world will end with a whimper, not a bang. The vitality will slowly drain from the nation, the cultural dynamic will be chilled, degree by degree, almost imperceptibly.

      The new generations will not miss the skilled doctors and nurses they never knew, or the quality of healty care that they never experienced. Nobody will yearn for medicines that were never developed. They will simply never exist, and that will be that.

      Nobody will envy those who obtain a quality, well-rounded education, because virtually nobody will have one. A small upper segment of quasi-aristocrats will have empty credentials bestowed on them by universities; a mere formality for the next generations of Bushes and Clintons and Kennedys and Romneys to inherit positions of privilege in business and politics from their family connections.

      The remaining members of the ‘educated class,’ those who are not political/corporate aristocrats, will be comprised of overworked, overstressed, over-indebted high-achievers who will receive the narrow, intense professional training required for them to serve their economic roles in society but that will leave them socially ignorant and emotionally hollow.

      And most of us will be the faceless mass of peasants with no hope of betterment and no knowledge of a life with actual freedom, self-determination, and economic opportunities. Nobody will struggle to achieve a fulfiling career, a profession or occupation that can financially support a family while still leaving one emotionally and physically capable of actually enjoying a home and family life. Such an idea will be absurd fantasy.

      This article makes it seem as if not supporting Obama and the Democratic party would somehow have prevented this state of affairs. But the Republican party has not presented a real alternative.

      • john smith

        …oh, and of course, at every stage of this water boiling hotter and hotter, should any of us noisy frogs dare point out that we seem to be getting slowly cooked alive, there will be some snap-heeled apparatchik to confront our heresy–with a list of numbers and dates, demanding that we gratefully acknowledge modern literacy rates, or improving violent crime statistics as published by the FBI, or ‘infant mortality’ rates as defined by UN bureaucrats who literally promote infanticide as a social good–and pointing to various historical circumstances of injustice such as segregated lunch counters or lack of seat belts in automobiles, in order to demonstrate that obviously This Is the Best of All Possible Worlds, and that We Have Always Been at War with Eurasia, and that of course very soon, this time finally, our Tower Will Reach All the Way to the Heavens.

      • SnowCherryBlossoms

        No they have not yet, I don’t know if they will either. But Obama has done much damage, much of which probably can’t be reversed. I think both parties are corrupted beyond repair.

  • Steve

    The old adage still applies. “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.”

  • Kevin Aldrich

    Given our culture’s rejection of the most basic truth that marriage is between a man and a woman, it is hard to see how people, let alone self-serving politicians, will take up more seeming abstract ideas like solidarity and subsidiarity.

    • Paul B. Lot

      “our culture’s rejection of the most basic truth”

      As far as candidate “basic truths” go” I would’ve thought you’d go with “I think therefore I am.” .
      Or 0 + 1 = 1
      Or “To be or not to be, that is the question.”
      Or T != F.
      Or “You must not do unto others what is hateful to yourself.”
      Or E = MC^2.
      Or “You must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool.”

      But, alas, no.

      You chose as your most basic truth that an English word, “marriage”, should be defined as 1 M + 1 F.

      This, despite confessing a faith whose tradition has been….flexible….on this point.

      https://upworthy-production.s3.amazonaws.com/nugget/4fad667a42542a00030018ba/attachments/biblemarriage.jpg

      • The sad part is that these are all anti-poverty programs. Eventually, the nuclear family was proven to be the most effective.

        • Paul B. Lot

          The “sad” part of these is not that they are anti-poverty programs.

          The sad part of most of these is that they were ever sanctioned parts of human societies.

          The sadder part is that a huge number of sentient primates are still deluded into thinking that these traditions form a righteous part of their tribe’s history.

          • The reason for all of them were anti poverty programs- forming families to share the cost of child rearing and elder care. Which is why the limit in all of them was pretty much “what can the man afford to care for”, combined with “What level of care do women deserve?”

            • Paul B. Lot

              Man + Rapist = A level of care women deserve.

              Bravo.

              • In a society where women can’t own property and need to be married or be temple virgins or children to even survive, where there is no governmental welfare, and where a raped woman is of lower value, then yes, forcing the rapist to save his victim from certain death is a level of care that the victim deserves.

                In a more modern version, this would be like putting the man in jail at hard labor and turning the proceeds over to his victims or their families, which is a form of punishment for any crime that I very much support.

                You are failing to understand the cultural context.

                The same goes for the widow of one’s brother- who would surely die without being brought into the brother-in-law’s home.

                That’s one of the problems Catholic Bishops in Africa are currently facing. Polygamy is not valid under current canon law. There is no welfare. So what happens when a polygamous man converts to the rest of the wives? What would you have them do in that situation?

                You’re thinking like a western feminist, where women have more choices for survival, not like a member of that culture.

                • Paul B. Lot

                  You’re thinking like a western feminist

                  That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me, Ted.

                  where a raped woman is of lower value, then yes, forcing the rapist to save his victim from certain death is a level of care that the victim deserves

                  She’s going to be cared for with particular assiduity, given the style of courtship she received.

                  Being forced to depend on your rapist for the rest of your life sounds like a fate worse than death. I can’t imagine condemning any of my female relatives/friends to that; indeed, I know more than a few who would kill their rapist given the chance rather than face such an abomination.

                  You are failing to understand the cultural context.

                  I promise you I’m not, or at least not in the way you think I am. I just find the context deplorable, and this “solution” more so.

                  • “She’s going to be cared for with particular assiduity, given the style of courtship she received.”

                    That is an assumption that is not necessarily correct. For one, in such a culture, the rapist is going to be expected to work harder to pay for his additional bride *and child*, as well as to pay back the dowry price to the father. Depending on how prudent he was with the original rape, chances are there will not be enough time left in the week to do what you are thinking.

                    Remember, this is in a primitive culture- where just getting food and water for one is a full time job.

                    “Being forced to depend on your rapist for the rest of your life sounds like a fate worse than death.”

                    Maybe to you, but you aren’t a woman in one of these cultures.

                    “I can’t imagine condemning any of my female relatives/friends to that”

                    All of your female relatives and friends are first world people- who have other options.

                    “ndeed, I know more than a few who would kill their rapist given the chance rather than face such an abomination.”

                    Thus, in one of these cultures, assuring their own death, either from starvation or at the hands of their own relatives.

                    Once again, you’re thinking like a western feminist, and thus are not using your brain, just your emotions biased by modern convenience.

                    “I promise you I’m not, or at least not in the way you think I am. I just find the context deplorable, and this “solution” more so.”

                    You already proved that you are, that you cannot imagine conditions where this might be a fate better than death. You have a distinct lack of imagination, and thus a distinct lack of ability to empathize with the women of that time.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      Shoot, you’re making a liar of me Ted!

                      This is my last reply for a bit.

                      “You already proved that you are, that you cannot imagine conditions where this might be a fate better than death. ”

                      No no, I can imagine a woman preferring life to death – even if that life is a constant waking nightmare.

                      What I’m saying is that I know women who think of themselves as human beings with dignity (do you know what that word means, Ted?), and who would not (or not wish to) submit to this truly awful situation; who would fight during the original violation, and who would render their rapist’s long-term peace of mind…doubtful.

                      Just as I admire those warriors throughout the ages who fought until their dying breath in the face of overwhelming odds, those slaves who fought against their masters in the face of certain retribution, I admire those women who had the strength of will to consider their persons their own, and it is in solidarity with them that I denounce your pseudo-empathy.

                    • I know what dignity means to you, and I know what dignity means to me- and I know that dignity means something very different to me.

                      I suggest reading Fr. Boadt’s book on the subject of the history of the Middle East, _Reading the Old Testament_, to see why each of these forms of family was created to begin with.

                      You are not your own, that’s a lie of the modern age.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      You’re suggesting reading now?

                      Maybe you are right; I’m finding it very hard to imagine what processes are occurring in your brain which lead you to believe that it would matter to me what you recommend.

                      In any case, you have no idea what dignity means to me.
                      Sorry, try again.

                    • I do not believe it matters to YOU what I recommend. I believe it might matter to a lurker who finds this discussion 20 years from now in an internet archive long after we are both gone. That is why it is important to expose lies in internet discussions. It’s amazing the alerts I get from forums that I haven’t posted in since the 1990s, and it causes me to go back and re-examine my own opinions and sources.

                      I do not believe for a second that you personally can escape from the common New Atheist bigotry against the past, the myth that everybody prior to the present day was evil and stupid. You’re clearly brainwashed to the point that even if you read Fr. Boadt’s book, you would disregard everything he says despite the immense amount of scholarship and archeology in it. You think that every society has to be a carbon copy of your liberal elitist bigotry, and cannot imagine a society that might have different assumptions, different values, and different definitions.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      If you are not actually recommending the book to me, but to other readers…why not say so? Or are you like the Muslim fanatic who believes the teaching of “Taqiyya”, that it is permissible to lie to infidels?

                      Ted, it’s not important to ME what YOU believe about whether or not I’m bigoted against the past.

                      If you want fruitful, brotherly dialogue you have 1 task ahead of you:

                      Apologize to me, to everyone reading this, and to Almighty God for sinning against me and against Him by bearing false witness while claiming to know the contents of my heart.

                    • Apparently you are new to the whole idea of an internet flame war. You already admitted to being a bigot about the past above, not just in your original post, but also in your replies in this thread. It is not the contents of your heart that makes you a bigot, it is the contents of your reasoning that makes you a bigot. I bore no false witness against you sir, unless you bore false witness against yourself when you wrote:
                      “Being forced to depend on your rapist for the rest of your life sounds like a fate worse than death. I can’t imagine condemning any of my female relatives/friends to that; indeed, I know more than a few who would kill their rapist given the chance rather than face such an abomination.”

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      I bore no false witness against you sir

                      Ted, now you’re lying. Again.

                      The list of things you must do before I’ll respond to any of your other ridiculous mumbo-jumbo just doubled in length.

                      Now you must first apologize for your original slander and arrogation of God’s sole right to judge a man’s heart by stating that I did not value truth and honesty.

                      Next you must apologize for lying about doing so here.

                      Ted I don’t like watching you drag yourself through the mud and dig your hole deeper.

                      If you will simply clear your conscience and the air by apologizing, by asking forgiveness of me, the readers, and God, we can move on.

                      (If you’re a devout Catholic, and you realize the gravity of your slander, you might want to get yourself to confession; but that’s not a definite statement on my part, just a recommendation. I don’t claim to know the contents of your heart.)

                    • You don’t value truth and honesty. You lied about the following:
                      – The role of these other forms of marriage in the cultures they occurred.
                      – Your knowledge of other cultures.
                      – The intentions of past generations.

                      We’ve already proven that you have lied and do not value either truth or intellectual honesty. You are continuing it in accusing me of slander- when your own words betray your hatred and bigotry against past generations and cultures. I am a devout Catholic, but I see you as nothing more than just another modern Pagan. It is sad to see a pagan claim to understand Truth when they clearly do not, to see a pagan claim to honor Honesty when being patently dishonest.

                      The fact that you didn’t, as I suspected, even bother to look up the reference I listed, shows your dishonesty.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      I do value truth and honesty, therefore I will not interact with you further (except to keep this tally going) Ted until you’ve shown contrition and asked forgiveness for 3 things:

                      1st for your original slander and arrogation of God’s sole right to judge a man’s heart.
                      2nd for lying and saying you hadn’t.
                      3rd for doing it again just now.

                      The fact that you didn’t, as I suspected, even bother to look up the reference I listed, shows your dishonesty.

                      Ted, “dishonesty” is not defined as “not doing as Ted asked.” Dishonesty is knowing A and stating B.

                      It is possible that I have been mistaken about any number of things under discussion in the past few days, but I have a 100% clear conscience on the lying front: I have knowingly said nothing that was false.

                      I will keep expanding this list as we go, but I hope you believe that as soon as you show contrition and publicly ask for forgiveness I will address all the incorrect assumptions and additional accusations you are making.

                      (I can’t state whether or not you need private confession for your sins here; only God and you know whether they have put your soul out of communion with Him)

                    • If you valued Truth and Honesty, you’d start by admitting your meme is just a lie promulgated by those who have zero clue about history and the purposes of marriage in an attempt to pervert those purposes.

                      You are the one who lied. You are the one who slandered the past, and are attempting to transfer your guilt to me. You are the one who is bigoted against other cultures. And you are the one who attempted to insert into this conversation your own bigotry and ignorance of pre-Christian Semite cultures.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      Ted, no.

                      Your logic, among other things, is flawed, and it’s leading you to error.

                      [P1]If you valued Truth and Honesty [?and P2] [?and P3], [C] you’d start by admitting your meme is just a lie promulgated by those who have zero clue about history and the purposes of marriage in an attempt to pervert those purposes.

                      This is an incomplete argument; two of your omitted (perhaps implied) premises are incorrect.
                      P2 -and if your original purpose was to make a comment about the purposes of marriage
                      P3 – and if you believed that the meme was a wholly inaccurate representation of the forms and purposes of marriage

                      If your ?implied? P2 and P3 were correct, then I would agree that your conclusion was valid and true. As you omitted them, your argument might in fact simply be invalid.

                      But in any case, both P2 and P3 are false, therfore you have reached your conclusion in error.

                      This seems like a genuine error on your part, which I’ll forgive out-of-hand as such.

                      However, before we continue, you’re going to have to ask for forgiveness for your aforementioned 3 slanders.

                      *Edits for style and clarity.*

                    • It is your assumption that P2 and P3 are false, yet that once again leads back to YOUR bigotry against previous cultures and forms of family.

                      You are simply wrong about that, and have been since the very first post. I see no honesty or truth in your reasoning, no logic, zero attempt at understanding the point, thus, no respect for either Truth or Honesty as anybody other than your liberal elites understand it (which is a form of propaganda and brainwashing, in and of itself). There is no truth in what you say, so why should I believe you when you claim anything at all?

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      A)
                      Ted, you implicitly agree with my correction of your faulty logic, above. You state “It is your assumption that P2 and P3 are false…” yet If it weren’t the truth value of P2 & P3, but their logical necessity, which were in question, a logically skilled person like yourself would have said so.

                      You know that silence denotes consent, right?

                      B)
                      Ted, you’ve seen and/or read “A man for all seasons”, haven’t you?

                      Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

                      More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

                      Even if I were Satan himself, what good would it do you to deny logic, reason, and truth to attack me?

                      “I see no honesty or truth in your reasoning, no logic, zero attempt at understanding the point…no respect for either Truth or Honesty…There is no truth in what you say”

                      And yet this is not true…which we just noted per A), above; you’ve already acknowledged that I have at minimum deployed logic, and in so doing correcting your error, once. At the very least. So, once again, you are denying truth. Where will you turn in the final moments, now that you’ve denied truth more than three times over?

                      C)
                      “It is your assumption that P2 and P3 are false” No. Ted, that was not an assumption.

                      P2 and P3 are and could only be known by me (and from your point of view by God). You will admit this.

                      As I said before; I forgive you for your logical mistake, we’re all human. But I expect you to acknowledge your mistakes.

                      Your lies and slander, including this most recent bout, those you will have to ask forgiveness for.

                      Again, I will address all your errors (well, those of which I’m aware, anyway) after you do so. Until then, I’m just going to have to respond by reiterating my inflexibility by pointing out your most recent additions to the list.

                      1st for your original slander and arrogation of God’s sole right to judge a man’s heart.

                      2nd for lying and saying you hadn’t.

                      3rd lying again.

                      4th and again.

                    • I did not attack honesty, reason or logic as concepts. I attacked you as an intellectually dishonest individual.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      “I see no honesty or truth in your reasoning, no logic, zero attempt at understanding the point…no respect for either Truth or Honesty…There is no truth in what you say”

                      You said those words during the same post in which you acknowledged my logic and honesty about your prior logical error.

                      P1: You say I am dishonest and have no logic
                      P2: You acknowledge and admit my logic and truthful analysis
                      P3: You are aware of both P1 and P2
                      P4: P1 and P2 are contradictory
                      P5: Admitting that you are wrong would cause you pain

                      C: To maintain your face and your pride, you lie.

                      Again.

                      This lie, and all your previous ones, are attacks on honesty, reason, logic, and truth.

                      Isn’t your God supposed to be the Truth? Why do you keep attacking your Lord Jesus Christ?

                      1st in your original slander and arrogation of God’s sole right to judge a man’s heart.
                      2nd by lying and saying you hadn’t.
                      3rd and lying again.
                      4th and again.
                      5th and again.

                      *Edit for clearer premise order and to add 1 premise*

                    • I acknowledged nothing. Your purpose is clear in this thread, which is to attack Roman Catholic teaching. You have done so using inherently intellectual dishonest methodology, with an obvious bias and bigotry, using hate filled rhetoric from the very beginning.

                      If you can’t use honesty and truth, then how do you claim to be honoring honesty and truth? You can’t- because your original premise, that these forms of marriage were instituted for evil and nefarious purposes, is incorrect at the start. And you KNEW it was incorrect at the start, else you would not have used that meme.

                      There is nothing in there of any substance left. You are an inherently deceitful person.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      “because your original premise, that these forms of marriage were instituted for evil and nefarious purposes, is incorrect at the start”
                      >This is false.

                      “I acknowledged nothing.”
                      >Then where is the error in the logic of this post? You didn’t question it before, in fact you incorporated it into your next post. Now you’re claiming there was a flaw? What was it? Why didn’t you point it out immediately? Have you not seen/read “A Man for All Seasons” re: silence/consent ?!

                      “Your purpose is clear in this thread, which is to attack Roman Catholic teaching.”
                      >My purpose is anything but clear to you. I can, do, will, and love attacking the RCC and it’s teachings. That was not my purpose in posting here.

                      Let’s add this to the list of your lies as well.

                      1st in your original slander and arrogation of God’s sole right to judge a man’s heart.
                      2nd by lying and saying you hadn’t.
                      3rd and lying again.
                      4th and again.
                      5th and again.
                      6th and again.

                    • I could easily read your point, so could everybody else in the thread. No use denying that you think those other forms of marriage are evil and denying women their rights. You just keep digging the hole deeper.

                      I’m the one arguing that all of those forms of marriage, were originally created for the extremely just purpose of economic care and the defense of women and children, remember? And that they each fit the assumptions and beliefs of the culture in which they existed? And that monogamous heterosexuality won out in the end precisely *because* one man was better at taking care of one woman and her children than many wives and many children? And that this was in fact the reason why Christ preached monogamy?

                      These things are all plain to those of us who know the cultures involved. That there would be any question about these facts, indicates a severe lack of historical knowledge and a disregard for the truth.

                      I saw through it all from the very beginning. You can’t claim to be honest, because you came into this argument with a dishonest position.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      “I saw through it all from the very beginning.”
                      >You can’t see through the haze of your own misunderstanding.

                      “You can’t claim to be honest, because you came into this argument with a dishonest position.”
                      >1) You don’t know what my original position here was. 2)We’re adding this to the list.

                      “I could easily read your point, so could everybody else in the thread. ”
                      >I imagine everyone else in this thread was better able to understand my first post than you. Do you remember what it was?

                      Go find it. Link to it. Break it down for me piece by piece and I’ll answer for it.

                      I dare you, you fool.

                      The list of lies for you to answer to:

                      1st in your original slander and arrogation of God’s sole right to judge a man’s heart.
                      2nd by lying and saying you hadn’t.
                      3rd and lying again.
                      4th and again.
                      5th and again.
                      6th and again.
                      7th and again.

                    • “You chose as your most basic truth that an English word, “marriage”, should be defined as 1 M + 1 F.

                      This, despite confessing a faith whose tradition has been….flexible….on this point.”

                      Was quite clear to anybody who has been in the culture wars, it’s not like you were making a new point.

                      It’s the same old garbage we’ve been getting from sexual revolutionaries ever since the invention of birth control.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      I asked you to link to my original post, why didn’t you? Here, because you can’t even do the most basic of tasks, let alone understand what’s happened in this thread.

                      1) “Was quite clear to anybody who has been in the culture wars, it’s not like you were making a new point.”
                      >What was quite clear, Ted? What? What was my f**king “dishonest position” originally? That I know that in the Judeo-Christian tradition arrangments other than 1M + 1F have been known and sanctioned as “marriage?”

                      That’s what I was saying. I was not making a point about those forms of marriage per se. I could, and I will in the future, but I was not. You fool.

                      You can tell I wasn’t because of the rest of that original post:

                      2) What was the emphasis of the rest of my post, the parts you did not quote?

                      I spent a large amount of time thinking up aspects of human knowledge and experience which could be considered foundational, at least in one sense or another.

                      SO AS TO CONTRAST THAT LIST WITH @Kevin Aldrich ‘s ignorant statement “the most basic truth that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

                      Marriage, as human institution, has evolved greatly over the years (despite how much you think I don’t know/care about prior contexts) and that very evolution is what puts the lie to @Kevin Aldrich ‘s characterization of it as if it were a brute unchanging facet of the universe.

                      Those were my points Ted. Those, and those alone.
                      1) “Marriage” has known many forms throughout even Judeo-Christian history (let alone the rest of the globe)
                      2) Thus, referring to it as a “most basic truth” is wildly inaccurate.

                      Did I later make comments in responses about the morality of some of those 7 forms of marriage as you lead me down the rabbit hole, yes. Was any of that contained in my original post? No.

                      Have you lied about that and about me for two days now? Yes.

                      You have been shown that I have been truthful, at minimum, once during our exchange, but you refuse to acknowledge it.

                      You have been shown that I have been logical, at minimum, once during our exchange, not only do you refuse to acknowledge it you don’t even claim that there’s a flaw in the logic nor show where it resides.

                      Ted, you are either capable of coherent thought despite your disease, or you are not. If you are not, better for you to be silent.
                      If you are, you need to acknowledge when you are wrong, when you lie, and when you mistreat.

                      You have done all three, with incredible vigor.

                      You should ask forgiveness.

                      For:
                      1st in your original slander and arrogation of God’s sole right to judge a man’s heart.
                      2nd by lying and saying you hadn’t.
                      3rd and lying again.
                      4th and again.
                      5th and again.
                      6th and again.
                      7th and again.

                    • I am disregarding anything you say beyond the first sentence, because you have already proven yourself to be an intellectually dishonest person to me.

                      You made a point even trying to come into this thread. I have no illusions about your purpose and deceit here.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      Well, as I said a few moments ago; it is best for everyone if you remain silent.

                      Maybe pray for wisdom next time, before wading into the fray?

                      I don’t know man, it sounds tough living in your head.

                      My purpose here was to call out @disqus_Lm3vEeCcUJ:disqus for shoddy thinking/writing.

                      That’s it and that’s awl.

                    • You are the one who should have remained silent instead of posting nonsense.

      • Kevin Aldrich

        The most basic truth about marriage and the family, which all these social programs are supposed to be helping.

        What do you mean by a flexible tradition? The Catholic faith tradition on marriage begins with Christ’s restoration of marriage as a one-flesh union of man and woman when he taught that the marriage bond cannot be broken.

        • Paul B. Lot

          What do you mean by a flexible tradition?

          Why would you ask this question? At minimum you have the seven non 1M+1F marriage situations I listed. Seven prior definitions. Those are in your tradition; Jesus might have retooled the practical day-to-day going forward, but you still have to fit those into your scheme (I’m not even going to go into nuns marrying christ/priests marrying the church). To do so, you have to be flexible.

          Like a limbo dancer. (<- this is a double entendre, fyi)

          The Catholic faith tradition on marriage begins with Christ’s restoration of marriage as a one-flesh union of man and woman when he taught that the marriage bond cannot be broken.

          I mean; no. Now you’re just lying to me, or to yourself, or both.

          Your tradition does not start with Christ. He didn’t come to abolish, but to fulfill.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            When I responded to your comment the chart was not visible. I see it now. None of those seven other arrangements are part of the Catholic faith tradition. Christianity is the New Covenant.

            As for “lying,” what an unwarranted and inflammatory thing to say.

            • Paul B. Lot

              None of those seven other arrangements are part of the Catholic faith tradition.

              You are lying again.

              “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” -Matthew 5:17

              Whatever else you may say about the relationship between the RCC and the OT/Jewish culture, what you may not say is that they are disjointed.

              As for “lying,” what an unwarranted and inflammatory thing to say.

              I am very sorry for you to hear that the truth has inflamed you.

              *Edit*

              For any other Catholics who are reading this, and might take up some of Aldrich’s umbrage by osmosis, I have two questions for you.

              How many Sundays (or extraordinary days/feast days) have you sat in Mass and listened to readings directly from the Old Testament? How does that number jive with his claim that the OT is not a “part of the Catholic faith tradition?”

              • Kevin Aldrich

                I am not saying that the OT is not part of the Catholic faith tradition. I am saying that those seven forms of “marriage” are not any part of the Catholic faith tradition.

                As far as hearing OT passages at Mass that mention any of those seven, please provide evidence that they are in the Lectionary.

                Your understanding of what “fulfill” means is defective.

                • Paul B. Lot

                  I am not saying that the OT is not part of the Catholic faith tradition. I am saying that those seven forms of “marriage” are not any part of the Catholic faith tradition.

                  There is no need to use scare quotes here; either they used to be legitimate forms of marriage, which are no longer, or they weren’t ever legitimate and we should use a different word.

                  Now that we’ve dealt with your equivocation through typography, let’s look at what the sense of this sentence is. You’re saying that, while the Old Testament is a part of Catholic faith tradition, these several passages from different books within the Old testament are not.

                  Did you buy a redacted Bible?

                  As far as hearing OT passages at Mass that mention any of those seven, please provide evidence that they are in the Lectionary.

                  There are huge swathes of the OT that the RCC doesn’t put in the ordinary lectionary. Does that mark those parts of the OT as “outside” the Catholic faith tradition?

                  If we’re going to throw around words like “defective,” can we talk about the soundness of countering the claim “the OT is part of the Catholic faith tradition….you read from it at least weekly” with “well, we don’t read XYZ parts!”

                  As if the selection of text for a given service was the necessary litmus test for that text being a part of your religious tradition, and not just the quickest-to-mind example.

                  Whatever the defects of my understanding may be, and I’m sure they exist, at the very least I know that you cannot claim that verses which are in books which are *in* your canon are not a part of your religious tradition.

                  Kevin, look down: is that smoke wafting from your pantaloons? Don’t worry, I won’t tell.

                  • Kevin Aldrich

                    Whatever, dude.

                  • fredx2

                    Ah, you are a fundamentalist.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      Ah, you are a fundamentalist.

                      Nope.

                      But I do value truth and honesty; I can understand why you disagree with me so much.

                    • No you don’t. If you valued truth and honesty, you’d look at the full culture in which those previous constructs of the human family were created. Since you don’t, you have rejected truth and honesty in favor of something else.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      As it happens, I did consider the “full culture” to the best of my ability, but that’s to one side now.

                      Teddy, you’re not the arbitrator of who’s being honest and who values truth.

                      You’re arrogating to yourself a right your religious tradition teaches you belongs to your god alone. Don’t feel too bad about that, you’re not the first Catholic to do so, and you won’t be the last.

                    • “As it happens, I did consider the “full culture” to the best of my ability”

                      No, you didn’t. You have a definition of individual dignity that did not exist in those ages, that you are applying to those ages.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      False.

                    • Then why do you keep insisting on using YOUR modern definition of dignity when applied to women who live in other cultures and ages with other definitions?

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      Before I respond to you further you must first apologize to me and to your God for trying to take His place.

              • fredx2

                You are an inordinately silly person. Of course the OT is part of our faith tradition. Polygamy has never been part of our faith tradition, nor has it been part of the Jewish faith tradition for thousands of years. Simple minds are easily confused by the depth and richness of the bible, and (horrors!) they can find lots in there to raise questions about.

                • Paul B. Lot

                  You are an inordinately silly person.

                  You sure are fond of the word ‘inordinately’….I wonder if there is a word I could use to describe your excessive use of it…

                  Of course the OT is part of our faith tradition. Polygamy has never been part of our faith tradition, nor has it been part of the Jewish faith tradition for thousands of years.

                  Polygamy is a part of the Jewish tradition, as set down in the OT. The OT is a part of your faith tradition. Therefore, Polygamy is a part of your faith tradition.

                  End of story. That’s just plain logic my friend. If A -> B. If B -> C. A. therefore C.

                  Simple minds are easily confused by the depth and richness of the bible, and (horrors!) they can find lots in there to raise questions about.

                  That you feel the need to resort to personal attacks so quickly lets me know you’re on the defensive, which is nice.

                  But, @fredx2:disqus , when you take the time to re-read this series of exchanges you’ll understand that I had a simple purpose in posting.

                  That purpose was to point out the hyperbole of @disqus_Lm3vEeCcUJ:disqus’s assertion that, not only was “marriage = 1M+1F ” a constant, it was a “most basic truth.”

                  With your admission that the equation is really “marriage = xM + yF; x>0, y>0” you have made my point; the definition of marriage has been flexible within your own religious tradition.

                  That being said, we haven’t even touched on the other half of my purpose; the hyperbole of calling this flexible word association a “most basic truth.”

                • The City of Lot…. nihilism bring annihilation.

          • fredx2

            You are apparently inordinately impressed with your own graphic. Again, it does not show seven types of marriages. It shows that every arrangement (and some of these are clearly property arrangements, some designed to lower conflict or provide for the poor) But in all cases, there is ONLY one man and one woman – except for the polygamy thing. Do you know any Polygamous Jews? I don’t, so I suspect this polygamy thing is old news. And the net result? In all cases marriage requires at least one man and one woman.

            • Paul B. Lot

              You are apparently inordinately impressed with your own graphic.

              It’s not my graphic.

              Do you know any Polygamous Jews? I don’t

              http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12260-polygamy
              http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/558598/jewish/Does-Jewish-Law-Forbid-Polygamy.htm

              I suspect this polygamy thing is old news.

              I mean…aren’t we…discussing….the old testament?

              • You are. This page, at Crisis Magazine, probably not.

                • Paul B. Lot

                  I am. This sub-thread. Which you’re. Responding to. Right now. Is. Discussing. The.

                  OT.

                  Which means you are, too.

                  You see, Ted, conversations by and between humans are allowed to move to new facets of a topic.

                  If my interlocutors didn’t want to talk about the OT, that was their prerogative. But @disqus_Lm3vEeCcUJ:disqus and @fredx2:disqus chose to. If you think this sub-thread has gotten off-topic; it’s the only branch I’ve added to the thread.

                  The branch only grew because you and your coreligionists responded.

                  • You are the one who injected the OT into it. Neither of them.

                    • Paul B. Lot

                      You are the one who injected the OT into it.

                      Of course I am, Ted, I just said so; “it’s the only branch I’ve added to the thread”.

                      I’m sorry Tedd-o, I’ve got to get back to work for now.

                      While I’m gone; feel free to keep repeating things I’ve already said to me, below!

          • One good point is that these are *prior to Christ* traditions, and very much the Catholic Church started with Christ (and not even him, really, but rather it is on Peter’s Faith that Christ built His Church).

            Having said that, I think you really haven’t thought through the cultural context of those OTHER 7 constructs, and thus are being rather prejudiced.

            • Paul B. Lot

              you really haven’t thought through the cultural context of those OTHER 7 constructs, and thus are being rather prejudiced.

              That’ll happen when you don’t read and pay close attention to the context of this discussion.

              I am not here to lampoon or lambast those seven constructs, though I could and will, if push comes to shove.

              I commented solely to point out the hyperbole and irrationality of @disqus_Lm3vEeCcUJ:disqus ‘s original statement.

              If you insist on bringing in NT considerations; the RCC’s teachings on marriage are that it’s a qualified good, per St. Paul. Acceptable only because it’s a way to avoid sin. That together with with nuns marrying christ and priests marrying the abstraction ‘the church’, the RCC’s NT attitude towards marriage is … not un-nuanced.

              When we add the NT’s take to our current discussion about these OT situations, @disqus_Lm3vEeCcUJ:disqus ‘s characterization of “marriage” as some sort of universal constant is not apt.

      • fredx2

        In fact, there are only one real model of marriage here. (some are just property arrangements) In all the cases listed , a marriage requires at least one man and at least one woman.

        To say that marriage has been “flexible” is being a bit too easily shifted by a graphic.

        • Andre B

          I agree, that graphic should have been more explicit with the models, seeing as some people will consider ‘property arrangements’ or rape as being part of the one real model of marriage.

        • Paul B. Lot

          In all the cases listed , a marriage requires at least one man and at least one woman.

          So now, at least, we’ve gotten a modern day member of the Church Militant to agree that, despite what another fellow Crusader stated, marriage !=== 1M + 1F. (triple equal is my equivalent to a 3 line equal, i.e. exclusive equal)

          This new voice states that for a given marriage to be an instantiation of the “real model” it must, at least conform to the following: xM + yF; x>0, y>0.

          (No mention of the wills, wishes, or well-being of each/any of the terms of that model’s equation, simply a greater-than-zero number of each sex…but that’s another can of worms.)

          Well, that’s progress of a kind.

          To say that marriage has been “flexible” is being a bit too easily shifted by a graphic.

          No, I don’t think that’s true.

          I think that getting you to admit that marriage has encompassed more than a strict 1M + 1F relationship in your religious tradition is all I need to achieve for the ‘flexible’ adjective to be apt.

          • lifeknight

            You guys have confused me. I was thinking the exchange was leading to the SSM. I’m headed for the Tylenol.

            • Paul B. Lot

              I’m headed for the Tylenol.

              Well, that’s good for you! At least you’re thinking hard.

  • lifeknight

    I have just begun to understand the principle of subsidiarity while managing a clinic for the poor. We are able to live by Catholic teaching and promote those tenets because we receive no government funding. Somehow it is always

    Although fundraising has been difficult for the last twenty years, the fact that we can serve and SAVE the community millions is a huge help. Having said that, the Obamacare “operatives” come into the clinic daily to try to convince the poor that they should sign up. We have posted a sign to stop their intrusion. “No Obamacare Solicitation.”

    Charity, in order to be charity, must be freely given. Not governmentally imposed.

    • “Charity, in order to be charity, must be freely given. Not governmentally imposed.”
      And as such, you are not relieved of a duty of charity, however the diabolical nature of this is that you might very well be scandalized and incapacitated.

    • St JD George

      I often think about this in the context of tithing. As the state assumes all power in regulation of our lives the church’s role is diminished to a weekly meeting of mostly like minded people who are free to discuss their ideas about God’s divinity, but only within the 4 walls of our houses of worship lest we offend the intollerant. I know we need to give to Cesar what is Cesar’s, but when Cesar consumes most of our labor it doesn’t leave much left to tithe, though we have time and talent to give as well.

  • Don

    Modern Christianity has been twisted into being all about assistance to the poor and a disassociation with repentance (because repentance means there must be some actions that are sinful). This social justice spin seems to have some Catholics believing that opposition to programs that create dependency is a moral failing. While Jesus certainly endorsed acts of charity but he never cured anyone of poverty. Of all of his miracles, he never produced a pile of money to help those in need. It is good and necessary to help the poor but simply throwing money at it isn’t the answer and is, in the end, irresponsible.

    • Andre B

      Instead of curing the deaf man, Jesus should have taught him modern medicine so that he could invent ear implants on his own and not be so dependent on Jesus to cure his ailments.

      Now, all kidding aside, the evidence that social programs creates dependency is…?

      • St JD George

        Good analogy, but tell me again who is being healed in this massive state programs except for the largely unaccountable administrators? It certainly isn’t the families who are more torn apart than before they received this assistance. It certainly isn’t the increasing number of children who never had a chance at life because they were not allowed to be born. It certainly isn’t a healing act to destroy one’s understanding of the dignity of work and replacing it with ideals about victim-hood and entitlement. It certainly isn’t for society to replace God with state sanctioned immorality.

        • Andre B

          tell me again who is being healed in this massive state programs except for the largely unaccountable administrators

          Look, you started by complimenting my analogy, so I already really really internet-like you. Without knowing exactly what you’re referring to (ie. I don’t know what you mean by “state”, like is it the state-level insurance exchanges, or do you mean government programs more broadly?), I’ll assume we’re talking about more recent changes to health-care laws and policies. If that is what we’re concerned with, then I would point to something like extending the amount of time children can stay on their parents’ insurance as one such positive change.

          It certainly isn’t the families who are more torn apart than before they received this assistance.

          So, before we even get to correlation/causation, I would again rather know what you’re referring to here.

          It certainly isn’t the increasing number of children who never had a chance at life because they were not allowed to be born.

          I thought I’d make in through the day without another reference to those terrible Nationwide commercials 🙂

          It certainly isn’t a healing act to destroy one’s understanding of the dignity of work and replacing it with ideals about victim-hood and entitlement.

          Maybe I just don’t have enough experience with how unemployment works. My understanding is that there are enough limits in place that – with the caveat that some number of people will always abuse a system – the vast majority of people only use it when they really need it, and try to find better paying work as soon as possible.

          I’m not sure what is worse in terms of dignity – taking money from the government so that you’re not struggling to put food on the table…or struggling to put food on the table.

          It certainly isn’t for society to replace God with state sanctioned immorality.

          Que?

          • St JD George

            Do you believe there’s been a 5x increase in the number of people who became disabled suddenly in the last 6 years? I have one family experience, but I also have a family friend who works in a social services capacity for the government downtown. She tells me about hundreds of stories that she experiences of able bodied people who passively refuse to look for work even though there are jobs going unfilled. That’s not surprising, what is shocking is her telling me that her superiors tell her to not make a fuss and look the other way in asking them if they are looking, wink wink. She said a lot even have college degrees paid for of course which did surprise me a little. There is a culture in the community and throughout this government which promotes this unhealthy dependency and could care less about responsibility.
            Of course we should have a system that protects those truly in need, but we ought not have a system to perpetuates that need of those who are able to stand on their feet.

            • Andre B

              Do you believe there’s been a 5x increase in the number of people who became disabled suddenly in the last 6 years?

              Well, I grew up being taught to not believe everything you hear, which I think extends to internet conversation. On the other hand, if you point me to a study that shows this (and can’t otherwise account for the increase), it would be a great start!

              • St JD George

                That is good advice, believing. I’m sure I’ve fallen prey myself at times. You can Google and read for yourself, the articles have been published. Of course, the letter of the law is supposed to prevent fraud. The problem as in many cases are the judges who are soft and predisposed to perpetuate the victim-hood mentality who knowingly help doctor documents and game the system. Once the word is out they become magnets. I used to have friends in NY who spoke of this like it was a racket. There are always going to be those bad apples, but when there is an explosion of new cases over a few years you have to ask if there is a systematic problem, or whether there are new unspoken policies to promote and look the other way. Certainly Americans aren’t more prone to debilitating injuries than ever before, I hope.

                • Andre B

                  I’ll have to dig deeper into this, but I’ll note a couple things.

                  1) they seemed to have learned that charts showing percentages of American’s they deemed dependent weren’t alarmist enough.

                  2) Phrases like –

                  “The great and calamitous fiscal trends of our time—dependence on government by an increasing portion of the American population, and soaring debt that threatens the financial integrity of the economy—worsened yet again in 2011 and 2012.”

                  “The United States has reached the point at which it must reverse the direction of both trends or eventually face economic and social collapse.”

                  – don’t seem to have stood up to reality (if 2014 was any indication).

                  • – don’t seem to have stood up to reality (if 2014 was any indication).

                    Eventually is not 2014.

                    The Soviet Union wasn’t a sustainable model-and certainly not a moral one. Despite it’s eventual collapse, Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson’s popular “Economics” textbook had the followng to say about the USSR in the 13th edition (1989).

                    “The Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many sceptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive”.

                    • St JD George

                      Nobel – isn’t that some kind of fraternity of like minded individuals? They certainly have a sterling record for picking recent peace prize winners.

                    • It seems to increasingly be a fraternity of the mistaken and misanthropic.

                    • Andre B

                      Leaving aside both that — 1) ‘eventually’ our sun will explode and 2) i think it’s safe to say that we here in 2015 have far more accurate data about our own economy than Mr. Samuelson had then for the Soviet one — the two things the Heritage paper warns about (dependence and debt) have both improved since they wrote it, and seem likely to continue improving.

                    • “the two things the Heritage paper warns about (dependence and debt) have both improved since they wrote it, and seem likely to continue improving.”

                      Samuelson’s problem wasn’t inadequate data, it was recklessness and hubris, because he was dedicated to the proposition that such an economy was possible. He wasn’t the only one who made such comments, either. Same thing with all the people who told us “all is well” seven years ago, except for people like N.N. Taleb and the late Doris Dungy.

                      No, the debt has not “improved”. The annual deficit has been educed from $1.3 trillion in debt, to a 483 billion.

                      The deficit is not the debt. The debt cannot improve until there’s an annual surplus and there’s no surplus in sight.

                      To put it in perspective, we owe 18 grand on a credit card we owed 8 on 6 years ago, and now we’re adding 483 bucks a year to the balance instead of $1,300.

                      Fantastic news when your earnings are $16,800 and we’re now going to dinner because we just cardhopped into another low rate card.

                      No serious person can say dependency has improved. The most important statistic we have is the labor force participation rate, and that’s going nowhere.

                      http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000

                    • Andre B

                      Samuelson’s problem wasn’t inadequate data

                      The problem is always inadequate data 🙂

                      No, the debt has not “improved”. The annual deficit has been [r]educed from $1.3 trillion in debt, to a 483 billion.

                      To recap, the problem was ‘soaring debt’. If we’ve made significant strides towards reducing the deficit, we’ve improved. Not out of the woods yet, but still, improving.

                      No serious person can say dependency has improved. The most important statistic we have is the labor force participation rate, and that’s going nowhere.

                      I mean, again, I’ll just have to disagree (though perhaps you’ll find me un-serious for so doing). Let’s take just the labor force participation, since you think that’s the most important. Again, I’m of the opinion that when you were in a nose-dive, leveling-off constitutes improvement. If the recovery continues, we’re looking at those participation rates increasing in the next few years.

                      http://www.epi.org/blog/at-an-average-of-246000-jobs-a-month-in-2014-it-will-be-the-summer-of-2017-before-we-return-to-pre-recession-labor-market-health/

                    • The problem is always inadequate data.
                      No it’s not. Not everything is data driven. That’s a technophiliac answer, usual
                      Whether or not the debt is soaring, it is still rising and still exceeds our annual GDP.
                      You are right, I do find you “un-serious” (the non Orwellian term is frivolous). I also find EPI to be unserious, because Richard Trumka is a craven political animal and having him on the board is hardly

                    • Andre B

                      No it’s not. Not everything is data driven or can be data driven.

                      I thought the smiley face would clue you into that statement being somewhat…frivolous. However, since you seem to think that there’s no important distinction between Americans, in 2015, trying to analyze the data surrounding their own economy VS Americans, in 1989, trying to assess the economy of the Soviets they were engaged in a cold war with…well I’m not sure that puts you in the serious category either.

                      Whether or not the debt is soaring, it is still rising and still exceeds our annual GDP.

                      You’re correct here, and I will concede that the debt itself is not improving. However, the deficit (which drives the debt increase) is improving.

                      I also find EPI to be unserious…

                      I find ad hominem arguing to be unserious, which is why I didn’t object to your use of a Heritage Foundation study, and engaged with the arguments they were making. Perhaps you’d like to tell me what it was about their use of CBO and BLS stats that you found undercut their findings.

                    • The government has been using economic statistics since the days of Wesley C Mitchell. If you can figure out the limitations of accepting the statistics of an adversary, then you can be sure Samuelson knew those limitations (he was many things, but he was smarter than you and me). You seem to think people were using abacuses 25 years ago. There’s no defense for his statements.
                      It is not an ad hominem to point out that some one associated with a group publicly wished for a man’s death. Nobody at Heritage has ever issued such a malevolent statement.

                • Heritage is funded by corporations to twist the truth. On the other hand, insurance went up, because ACA was a giant gift to insurance industry.

                  • Heritage is funded by corporations to twist the truth.
                    When you can’t offer persuasive evidence to the contrary, you can always resort to character assasination.

                    • Mullally is funded by the Not-Enough-Mula Foundation, also known as the free market… 🙂

                    • “Mullally is funded by the Not-Enough-Mula Foundation”

                      Indeed. You are unsatisfied by your resources, but you spend your time complaining here, rather than doing something about your circumstances.
                      I have a neighbor in his sixties with a lawn cutting business-he put his daughter through college with that second job-but of course that required being behind a lawnmower rather than a computer.

                    • Hmmm, I think my mower came with wi-fi. OK, lemme let you go….

                    • Please let us all go.

              • LarryCicero

                Do you believe 26 year-olds are children? Is it the duty of the parent’s employer to insure them?

                • Andre B

                  Do you believe 26 year-olds are children?

                  Larry, I will presume that you have grand parents (whether they still live is irrelevant), yes? Good. I will further presume that you have great-grand parents (ditto re: live/not). I know, I’m out on a limb here. Would you describe the former as children of the latter? Does the former’s age have any bearing on whether or not you would call them children of the latter?

                  Is it the duty of the parent’s employer to insure them?

                  This, in stark contrast to your first (childish) question, is at least an interesting question. Of course, it’s entirely different than what I was responding to, which was – “tell me again who is being healed in this massive state programs”.

                  • LarryCicero

                    You have cited as positive change that “children” can stay on their parents’ insurance. You may think it is a childish question, but at what age should the employer provided insurance not be responsible for insuring the employee’s child? Doctor’s and medicine provide healing. Employers and/or employees pay for health insurance and what costs health insurance do not cover. The state does not heal anyone either. The question is not about who is being healed. Sick people need healing. The question is who should pay? The legal definition of child is under 18, except for alcohol consumption when it is 21. So why for insurance should it be 26? You have not answered my question. I will assume you are not an employer.

                    • Andre B

                      You have cited as positive change that “children” can stay on their parents’ insurance.

                      Yes, when the alternative is no insurance, this is an positive change.

                      You may think it is a childish question, but at what age should the employer provided insurance not be responsible for insuring the employee’s child?

                      I don’t know. Is 16 too old to start expecting children to start contributing to society, working a job and getting their own healthcare insurance? Have I gone soft in my old age?

                      The question is not about who is being healed. Sick people need healing. The question is who should pay?

                      I mean, that was literally the question I was being asked. That you choose to ask an entirely different one, well it’s fine, but you know…different.

                      The legal definition of child minor is under 18.

                      Let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you.

                    • LarryCicero

                      There are no alternatives for a graduate student to pay for insurance? How about the parent pays for it? Is 16 too old to start contributing? At 16, the child is still a child. If you have gone soft in your old age, there are medications available that can help with that. :>)

                    • Andre B

                      Larry,

                      I’ll let this by my last reply (and, not sure if you caught it, but I did flesh out my initial response to you re: the duty to insure).

                      There are no alternatives for a graduate student to pay for insurance?

                      I’m honestly not sure what point you’re trying to make with this. It seems in reply to my point that many young people, prior to the change in healthcare regulations, had a difficult time obtaining insurance. It’s just…well it’s just that grad students are a such a weird, wildly unrepresentative example (just 2m enrolled in 2012-2013). Maybe you’ll clarify.

                      At 16, the child is still a child minor

                    • LarryCicero

                      My point is that extending the age to 26 is not “positive change” as you have claimed. An effort to return to a payer/payee relationship would be positive change. Insurance should be for more serious illness not for minor things and standard doctor visits. The problem with healthcare is that nobody knows how much it costs. If the doctor says he needs to run some tests, many never question the necessity or cost, or assume insurance will cover most of it, even though the reason for the tests may be legal(CYA).

                      Making the employer responsible for yet another two years of an employee’s offspring’s “childhood” is adding to the problem. It may have been better to tax insurance benefits and encourage employees to shop for it the way they do for their other needs. Have a nice day.)

                    • Andre B

                      Larry,

                      Congratulations, you’ve gone and made a liar of me.

                      Insurance should be for more serious illness not for minor things and standard doctor visits. The problem with healthcare is that nobody knows how much it costs. If the doctor says he needs to run some tests, many never question the necessity or cost, or assume insurance will cover most of it, even though the reason for the tests may be legal(CYA).

                      The way you describe how insurance and healthcare should work is precisely the reason we have gotten so little care / $ spent in this country.

                      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/health-costs-how-the-us-compares-with-other-countries/

                      When you discourage people from routine check-ups, you end up not catching many preventable diseases / conditions.

                      It’s not true that nobody knows how much things cost – though I take your point to be that, depending on one’s insurance, costs for similar care can vary wildly – in which case I agree that this is a problem (and one that single-payer, among other options, would help improve).

                      If you’re interested, I found the Frontline series Sick Around the World a very interesting watch.

                    • LarryCicero

                      “Congratulations, you’ve gone and made a liar of me.” Typical lib, blaming someone else- victimhood mentality. “When you discourage people from routine checkups” – you fail to understand that in a payer/payee direct relationship costs are are kept in-check. If the premium weren’t so high there would be more dollars left to pay the doctor. When third parties become involved costs generally rise- see what has happened to college tuitions. You equate “care with $ spent”- wrong again, costs of care should go more to doctors/ hospitals and less to insurance/administration. Adding another layer won’t help contain costs.

                  • LarryCicero

                    As to your edit, I agree. They don’t insure employees’ toys, homes or cars, and they should not have to insure SSPs.

                • St JD George

                  Judging by what I see today I would say largely yes, many 26 year old’s are children. I’d even go so far to say that there a lot of 40 year old men who still behave as children. Why did they stop at 26? Was that a political calculation too on what they thought they could get away with on the first draft? Given how many aren’t working in this great economy I guess they felt it was another problem that they created which they needed to treat with fix for the wrong issue.

                  • LarryCicero

                    Just another free phone to buy votes.

                    • St JD George

                      And for texting to inform of upcoming political rallies and voting opportunities and instructions on who to vote for. You know, a community organizers dream come true.

                  • LoneStarLady

                    I think 26 years old was chosen as the cutoff in the Affordable Care Act because many states already required health insurers providing family coverage to include as an insured all a family’s dependents up to age 26. That was the case in my home state of Texas. If a person was claimed as a dependent for tax purposes (which means they are a full time student), and they were 26 or younger, they were part of the insured’s “family” covered under a family policy. The ACA adopted this policy, set by many but not all states, as a new nationwide standard.

                    • St JD George

                      I figured it was something like that that. The Un-ACA makes absolutely no caveats on status, even if working full time in a job that pays benefits.

          • These folks can’t let go, and have never even recognized the sad reality. The ACA, while flawed and while continuation of homogenization and slavery of citizenry, has fully satisfied the insurance industry. So it is here to stay.

            • Oh well, some of us saw that coming, but just wait, it isn’t even close to being fully implemented yet.

              • There you go, it is a stinky mess that every citizen must deal with… Your beloved GOP will make a feint, but will lay down for the insurance people, who informed the bill from day one and have been perfectly satisfied with it.

                • St JD George

                  You are so pragmatic Tom, you take all the fun out of debating its lack of merits. Who am I to argue.

                  • 🙂 …. Well, I hope they surprise me and try to reach a consumer-oriented compromise with the President, so he signs some kind of changes based on real problems that he can acknowledge…. But I doubt it, I do not think they can get so focused like that…

                    • St JD George

                      Not only do I doubt it, I’d wager against it and I’m not a betting kind of guy. Kind of like with an addict, you have to acknowledge there’s you have a problem first before you can take that first step towards recovery. The only thing this administration thinks is a real problem is any news that they can’t control which might make them look bad.

                • Not my beloved GOP, I trust no party.

                  On the other hand Obamacare was passed without a single Republican vote, but now that there’s so many constituencies-including those retail tax prep places who offer to get you insured today-they’ll follow the Tories in Britain, always promising to housebreak the dragon.

              • St JD George

                It will never be fully implemented because they keep making up the rules as they go along to appease one constituent group or another.

        • There you have it… more topsy-turvy US trade e.g. the evisceration of the real talent pool (doctors) by a superseding layer of arcane and inscrutable code, not even decipherable to the exhorbitantly paid administrators who supervise at the top, but under their control and therefore justifying the unconscionable resources they suck right off the top. Culminating into industry consolidation and securitization. Patients be damned…

          • St JD George

            Kind of like at the VA you mean, where bonuses are still being paid to retain all the top talent yet hardly a scratch on the systematic endemic problems that everyone in the administration is hoping will quickly be forgotten about(with the help of their propaganda arm course in the press corps) after they offered up a scapegoat to sacrifice for distraction?

            • Yes, but far worse… At least VA is a limited, hum-drum need. The ACA mandate has printed money for new insurance products and consultants. It is a giant effort to herd cats. The only ones that will do well at the outset, are the Ivy League grads who wiggle into the middle of all the parties as go-betweens and simply suck out their million plus per annum…. then they build out the adjunct slaveries from there.

              • St JD George

                Well I’ll be, for the love of mammon who could have foretold that this would happen. That explains the pictures I see of them raising their glasses and laughing at us while gratuitously toasting “those evil rich people” while they were feeding the flames to increase the income gap which grows further apart every day. I guess the benefits that do “trickle down” through the Un-ACA pipe will be like crumbs on the floor while every dollar vacuumed from our pocket will be return a quarter if were lucky. What a scam, I mean system. Equality and control will be achieved someday once the middle class is eliminated.

                • Programs since Clinton-Gingrich always involve a networks of private corporations or charities as intermediaries. The buck gets passed around, in the sense of divided reponsibilities, and also in the sense of Ivy classmates carving up the turkey. The problem is, the base to suck resources from, as you said, is already dried up. And soon the overseas credit will be too…. except for China who has to keep us on life support to redeem their dollars.

      • St JD George

        Too often we allow ourselves to get into these extreme discussions because we all know in reality that either no or total government control will lead to anarchy. We are blessed to live in a country where people still have a little (??) influence in altering the course of history without staging a revolution, though I believe Thomas Jefferson to be profound in his vision for keeping the tree of liberty healthy.
        I know politics is unseemly and as long as our government lives within it’s means and I generally trust the office holders I’m content to not stick my nose in too much. However, when nearly all trust is loss like it is with the current occupiers, they promote perversity as natural, they are immoral in their total lack of fiscal self discipline, lie about their true intentions and agenda … I get upset.

      • The United States Department of Health and Human Services defines ten indicators of welfare dependency:[1]

        Indicator 1: Degree of Dependence, which can be measured by the percentage of total income from means-tested benefits. If greater than 50%, the recipient of welfare is considered to be dependent on it for the purposes of official statistics.

        Indicator 2: Receipt of Means-Tested Assistance and Labor Force Attachment, or what percentage of recipients are in families with different degrees of labor force participation.

        Indicator 3: Rates of Receipt of Means-Tested Assistance, or the percentage of the population receiving TANF, food stamps, and SSI.

        Indicator 4: Rates of Participation in Means-Tested Assistance Programs, or the percentage of people eligible for welfare benefits who are actually claiming them.

        Indicator 5: Multiple Program Receipt, or the percentage of recipients who are receiving at least two of TANF, food stamps, or SSI.

        Indicator 6: Dependence Transitions, which breaks down recipients by demographic characteristics and the level of income that welfare benefits represented for them in previous years.

        Indicator 7: Program Spell Duration, or for how long recipients draw the three means-tested benefits.

        Indicator 8: Welfare Spell Duration with No Labor Force Attachment, which measures how long recipients with no one working in their family remain on welfare.

        Indicator 9: Long Term Receipt, which breaks down spells on TANF by how long a person has been in receipt.

        Indicator 10: Events Associated with the Beginning and Ending of Program Spells, such as an increase in personal or household income, marriage, children no longer being eligible for a benefit, and/or transfer onto other benefits.

      • SnowCherryBlossoms

        I can ask that too, I see your point. Is it the focus on the (recent) increase in those dependent on them? I’m not sure if that’s due to the economy and the numbers of unemployed who are no longer counted or long term dependency (which is apparently a problem in inner cities). Programs like this are good to get people back on their feet but how do they get back on their feet with few available living wage jobs? I have no issue with giving help financially or otherwise to those who have real need. Everyone needs help at some point or another.

        • It’s the multigenerational dependency that bothers me the most. You are right, every individual needs help at some point. But when you are on your third generation of living like a cartoon character on squidbillies, or when the front yard and every front yard in your family could be featured on “Redneck yard of the week”, you *might* have a dependency problem.

          • SnowCherryBlossoms

            Yes, exactly, help should not be abused! So here’s the problem I see and I could be wrong, but does our current administration encourage certain people to abuse help? I think it may be doing just that!

      • Jacqueleen

        Jesus, did say that we would always have the poor among us. Jesus said that He hears the cry of the poor…..etc. Obama is not creating jobs that globalization has destroyed ….Jobs would certainly reduce poverty…Since Obama has been in office….and the Democrats have been in power for the past century….POVERTY HAS INCREASED….? So much said for the party for the poor. JOBS …MR. OBAMINATOR NOT MORE DESTRUCTION AND DEPENDENCY.

    • Vinny

      Jesus said something to Judas when he said the money should be going to the poor. Although Judas seemed to think of himself as “the poor.”

      • St JD George

        Up until he realized he’d be had and was holding blood money, i.e. the unjust redistribution of other’s labors through the temple guards for his immoral act which cost him his soul and his life for his actions.

    • SnowCherryBlossoms

      Reminds me of that old saying- give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, give him a fishing pole, he will eat everyday. (or along those lines- I don’t recall it exactly)

    • Patent nonsense. And you pretend to be pro-life? After Ferguson, Mo debacle everybody is scratching their heads– why do the poor black children still have problems, why are their family lives still broken? Really for almost 20 years, they were driven backwards by the above mindset, which is anti-life:

      The “Personal Responsibility” Act of 1996 which inducted the poorest mothers from homes into the workforce, and in favor of increasingly expensive and corrupt state-funded child care, was informed by the book The Bell Curve by Hernnstein and Murray, published only two years prior. The thesis? That poor people simply have lower IQ’s, they are by definition America’s “undermensches”, and therefore should be reduced…. From the book: “The technically precise description of America’s fertility policy is that it subsidizes births among poor women, who are also disproportionately at the low end of the intelligence distribution. We urge generally that these policies, represented by the extensive network of cash and services for low-income women who have babies, be ended.”

      • Glenn M. Ricketts

        Why, I wonder, do poor black children have so many more problems than they had 50 years ago, why are their family live significantly more broken than in the past? Would you kindly explain the connection between Ferguson, Mo. and dysfunctional urban social circumstances , I don’t take your point. And how do you conclude that the 1996 law was a direct outcome of the Bell Curve? Did you j=know someone close to the lawmaking process who told you so?

        • The “concern” for iniquities of lower class family structure or lack thereof, from the right-leaning, NY-based intelligentsia, began with DP Moynihan, and then C Murray came along in 1980’s… complaint was that welfare undermined fatherhood. Good idea, for reforming it… but then complaint became, that welfare was just “expecting less” of poor people, weed to “instill a work ethic” even if child care cost are higher… More programs!!! And then to save money for the bombs, bullets and wars… Finally, to get their way they reached over to the far right: welfare is just money down a hole, they aren’t “productive” or “skilled”, period (as per last post).

          Reforming welfare to get fathers back in home was the move, instead it was gradually changed to, drive mothers out of the home into the workforce. As usual since Bill Clinton eviscerated old-line liberal opposition, what finally passed was…. a bigger labor pool, depressing wages but increasing profits.

          • Glenn M. Ricketts

            Your reply has nothing at all to do with my question. As I said, the key social pathologies seem to be far more pronounced than they were 50 years ago. Why is that?

            • Which part of, instead-of-helping-to bring-fatherhood-back-to-poor-families-they destroyed-motherhood-too, is hard to compute?

              • Glenn M. Ricketts

                I asked why the black family is so much more dysfunctional now than it was 50 years ago, and I’m still trying to understand what your response is. As of now, I don’t understand what you’ve posted – it seems unconnected to my question.

    • hombre111

      The conservatives just can’t see the difference between charity and justice. For every person helped by charity, the unjustly distorted political and economic structures now reigning in America create a hundred more.

      • You promised to leave.

      • OK, I’m back from my minimum wage supplemental job recommended by DE-173…. I’ll say this, he is certainly up on how we are supposed to conform to the latest requirements, to “stand on our own two feet”!!

        • Have something to share besides your dyspepsia?

        • hombre111

          DE-173, also known as the Elridge, was a destroyer with a distinguished record during WW II. I doubt if the DE-173 who writes in Crisis was a member of the crew, but maybe his father was. But now it has vanished, decommissioned, scrapped, and turned into razor blades. By choosing the handle DE-173, is our author saying he is an old tub left behind somewhere in the back-wash of history?

          • Seems he is just emulating the system he imagines as optimally efficient and just… DE-173 is painted with great majesty, but really it is just an anonymous destroyer of life.

  • Atlas

    I have seen personally the ineffectiveness of “anti-poverty” programs.I am no professional but have spent many years with poor people as they navigate their way through the system and learn how to game it. The system as it stands turns people away from their humanity.
    The best and most enduring method of mitigating poverty is a school system that teaches reading, writing and math at grade level.Civics also should be taught.
    Spending a life on welfare is a cruel punishment if it could be different.Idleness also leads to trouble as we have seen. Children are always the first to suffer the decisions made by adults.Children mimic adult behavior and so the cycle continues.
    Religious institutions and people motivated by their religion seem to be most efficacious in alleviating the dilemma’s of poverty.

    • St JD George

      You have to ask yourself: what could be the possible positive motive for eliminating the means test getting people to try and look for work; is there a legitimate reason why there’s been a 5x explosion in disability claims over the past half dozen years; why is there more poverty now (by the government’s statistics) than there was at the start of this multi trillion dollar war to eliminate; why have there been more families destroyed be these benevolent programs than sustained; why are there far more babies born out of wedlock (the ones that survive infanticide) than there were before these programs were created; why have people lost the dignity of work and instead replaced it with the dependency on dole when there are jobs to be filled; why are we filling peoples heads with victim-hood and entitlement poison? Satan could not have designed a better system for destroying souls.
      I too have a family member who was quite capable of work but when he lost his job was quite comfortable getting a check from the state for years instead of looking for work. When the threat of terminating the benefit finally struck home he managed to find something. I read an article last week that attributed most of the job growth last year to the equal number of people who re-entered the work force after their benefits programs were terminated. Tells you something about human nature.

    • St JD George

      Any change you’re related to the lady Jane Galt who posted here the other day?

    • >> “The system as it stands turns people away from their humanity.” <<

      Kind of like the military system, which costs as much as 10 next largest budget combined? Or the prison system, with its rate of incarceration 650% of the People's Republic of China?

    • What civics? As it is, it seems to me that the poor people gaming the system learned their civics lessons very well. After all, isn’t it taught in them that the state responsible for the sun rising every day?

      • “Gaming the system”… how crass. It is called survival. There are no jobs.

        • Funny response. How come there are groups of illegal immigrants early in the morning at home improvement stores and all day long on the bed of pickup trucks of lawn mowing services? I’ve never seen an illegal immigrant panhandling, the beggars are invariably able bodied Americans.

          • I like your first thought there, the immigrants to stand as our model!

            Yes Americans are spoiled, for sure… but it is throughout the strata, not just among poor! Do you think the more fortunate, high earners work hard? They might, but probably not… also, noticed you dislike military and prions, so I am going to go hack at someone like DE-173 who is more doctrinaire… 😉 .

            • Hack, but always with charity, unlike myself.

            • You know how Obama made that comment about bring a knife to a gun fight? Spitballs are even more unwise.

              • Hah!… yes, I wrote that thinking for sure I would find one of your posts to counter, but was unsuccessful… but be patient!

                • You would need something other than your recycled Occupy Wall Street rants that seem to be all you have to offer. I used to have to walk by one of their encampments to get lunch, so I recognize the screeds.

  • St JD George

    Your premise is that the end goal for the overlords is to end poverty programs, it isn’t. They are filled with greed envy and really don’t want to see everyone succeed, they are much more comfortable in their new program “Race to the Bottom”. That is, for everyone but themselves. When the middle class finally implodes having successfully executed the Cloward-Piven doctrine they will still have their favored wealthy donor class to keep their nests feathered in mink. Meanwhile the vast population will have acquiesced one pound of candy at a time “because it’s good for you” until the sugar coma wears off and their goal of near total dependency on the state has been achieved. Who indeed is strong enough to break their chains of bondage? There is one. Meanwhile the church’s will continue to be squeezed in the vice of tolerance until the message over every door reads “the state is the brothers keeper” and “the state requires tolerance of all behavior”, while the hymns sing praise of victim-hood and entitlement.

  • 1.) Panem et 2.) Circenses.

    1.) SNAP. TANF, Section 8, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamaphones….

    2.) What occurred last night, sponsored by a tax exempt entity whose housing is often subsidized at the state and municipal level. Note the lack of acrimony from the left about the NFL “loophole”. Just think of how much money we could spend to militarize municipal constabularies with that bounty, if the NFL just “paid its fair share”.

  • Dick Prudlo

    There have been no acts of Charity on the part of the State. This is true whether we look at the “war on poverty” or Obama’s “war on rationality.” No honest person could agree that these efforts were even humanitarian. They were and are acts of aggression against those they purport to help. They take the manhood out of the men and leave the other half holding nothing.

    • They are acts of conquest, designed to ensure that the state controls the citizenry, rather than visa versa.

    • I agree with this.

  • The problem with all of these programs to me is summed up in the word “federal”. Big government, like big business, has a severe issue with the inability to treat human beings as human past a certain level of friendship.

  • “where citizens themselves decide how to allocate a portion of the taxes they pay (#60). ”
    Oh but we do. It’s right at the top of your 1040.

    Presidential Election Campaign

    Check here if you, or your spouse if filing jointly, want $3 to go to this fund.
    Checking a box below will not change your tax or refund.

    Popular appropriation on any other scale will defeat the central purpose of politics. Take small, indiscrete amounts from people who cannot see their common interest, while expending the money conspicuously to people who have or perceive a common interest and will therefore reward you with contributions and votes.

    Just remember, you aren’t as smart as a politician. Even one that thinks there’s 57 states, Navy CORPSEMEN (one two many episdodes of the Walking Dead?) or that George Washington, who died in 1799, brewed beer in the White House that was completed the next year, but who was reported to have an “incandescent” intellect prior to election.

  • ferdinandgajewski

    And you don’t know what Jesus had to say about all this?

    • Scott W.

      Everything in the article suggests the author does indeed know what Our Lord had to say about all this. Our Lord tells in the parable of the sheep and goats to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc. What He most decidedly didn’t say was to turn the poor into human cattle with demeaning, subsidiarity-violating government entitlement programs that turn national economies into socialist quadriplegics.

      • St JD George

        I sometimes try to shut down the side of my brain that sees through the hollow redistribution rhetoric and say give them the benefit of the doubt that their hearts are pure and that they are just naive in economic ways. If you can do that you still come to the same conclusion for the definition of insanity “if you keep doing the same thing expecting different results and they only get worse, what are you, stupid”?
        Of course, knowing a little history about man’s desire for lordship over his fellow citizens and how that’s worked out time and time again, and knowing where most of the gaggle of current world leaders earned their discipleship we ought to be thankful for and remind ourselves of our founding fathers vision of a free an prosperous nation unchained from the tyranny of the state.

  • Vinny

    The whole idea is to bankrupt the U.S. government.

    • Andre B

      Well, the ebola thing didn’t work out, and we’re too smart to fall for Sharia law, so that’s the only other option.

      • St JD George

        Too smart? I’m not so sure about that. We seem to have an administration who is more than fond of promoting this “Peace”, particularly the type that the “Brotherhood” preaches, the one whose charter is wipe Israel off the face of the Earth and chants about our own country’s destruction. Strange bedfellows to keep company with.

        • Andre B

          Yeah, it would be interesting to know if the “Brotherhood” feels like Obama is talking out of both sides of his mouth – both promoting Israel’s destruction AND giving Israel billions of dollars in economic and military aid ever year (not to mention the extra emergency ammo resupply of Israel in the most recent Gaza war).

          • St JD George

            You’d have to look inside his heart to really know, but based on body language and the occasional accidental revelation slips I feel comfortable predicting which side he’d stand with if the chips were to suddenly start flying. Given the deep pockets of some of his political base and standing treaties his hands are partially tied.

  • Captain America

    I’m no anti-government rankled guy. I DO think that if we have programs they should be effective. DARE and Head Start are known flops: let’s try something else.

    • They are flops and so will something else be. The government has no motivation to be efficient or even effective. Taxes will be collected and the recusants will be sent to prison, regardless of the results. Any surprise that the government, the most irresponsible entity in the nation, rewards irresponsibility in its irresponsible programs?

      • I worry about “efficient” governments. They also seem to be accompanied by gulags.

  • hombre111

    The usual effort to divert attention from the real source of the problem: Our economic system built on predatory capitalism. We have the situation we have, and it stinks. The 1% goes through the roof, the rest languish and sink. We seem unable to do any better. The Republican cure is more for the rich and pray for pennies falling out of their overstuffed pockets. Essentially, we are subsidizing a huge transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top.
    Pope Francis has been very definite on this. Places like Crisis have to work hard to explain away what he sees so clearly.

    • Still won’t honor you promise, huh?

      • hombre111

        I enjoy making you unhappy. :>)

        • You enjoy making yourself unhappy.

    • Our economic system is built on the merger of corporations with the state which, according to Mussolini, defines it as fascist. If only the economic system actually were capitalist and the market, free!

      • The government and the corporations, are controlled by the mega-financiers. Mitt Romney is low on the totem pole, compared to some of these guys.

        • Yes, do tell us about the political activities of George Soros & Tom Steyer.

    • Yeah– and these people think they are “pro-life”… wringing hands over social programs but paying for military costing same as NEXT 10 LARGEST COMBINED, wars of same, plus prison system WITH INCARCERATION RATE 650% of China’s.

    • Yeah, and these people think they are “pro-life”…Lately, after the Ferguson MO debacle, everyone wants to know, why do the poor black children still have problems, why are their family lives still broken? Really for almost 20 years, they were driven backwards by the above “fascist” mindset, already:

      The “Personal Responsibility” Act of 1996 which inducted the poorest mothers from homes into the workforce, and in favor of increasingly expensive and corrupt state-funded child care, was informed by the book The Bell Curve by Hernnstein and Murray, published only two years prior. The thesis? That poor people simply have lower IQ’s, they are by definition America’s “undermensches”, and therefore should be reduced…. From the book: “The technically precise description of America’s fertility policy is that it subsidizes births among poor women, who are also disproportionately at the low end of the intelligence distribution. We urge generally that these policies, represented by the extensive network of cash and services for low-income women who have babies, be ended.”

      • hombre111

        Thanks

    • Scott W.

      I carry no water for capitalism, it being a heavily Protestant concept. But the problem is that the people that want to end capitalism’s reign of terror want to replace it with their own.

      • hombre111

        That is an assumption about somebody else’s frame of mind. Canada and the European countries did what they did without violence to anyone.

        • You promised to leave.

          • hombre111

            But how could I? Not when my presence makes you miserable!

            • Nice try but no.

            • Actually I pity you.

              • hombre111

                So says the old tub, decommissioned and vanished in some scrap yard.

                • Decommissioned? Hah. I carry three licenses in my pocket.

      • “Capitalism” is a Marxist concept, but market based exchange predates Protestantism, by Millenia. Of course the “father” of modern double-entry accounting, Fra Pacioli was very much Catholic.

  • Mara319

    Love that ornate dalmatic St. Laurence wears in that picture!

  • Ruth Rocker

    Given all the money that’s been flooded into these programs in the past and what the idiot-in-chief is proposing for the future, the poor would be probably just as well off, if not moreso, if the money was just divvied up and everyone got a check. Heaven forfend that everyone starts taking responsibility for their lives and their actions and behave in a more responsible fashion!!

  • Rickage

    We can learn from history what worked.

    Marvin Olasky in his book The Tragedy of American Compassion
    documents America’s care for the poor from Colonial times to the present. In
    summary churches used to take care of the poor and distinguished between the poor
    and paupers. In the early 20th century the government figured they
    could do what the churches did, only on a grander scale. He argues care was
    more effective prior to the government’s intervention.

    Lastly to paraphrase economist George Gilder in his book Wealth and Poverty, when the family collapses and the state takes over we get a “nanny” state to take care of women and children, and a “police” state to handle the boys. For proof, look at the black family in America since 1962.

  • Jdonnell

    This right-wing rant, posturing as “neither right nor left” exemplifies once again the Crisis uses religion to promote a rightist political agenda. Krason doesn’t even seem to know that the “food stamps” he refers to no longer exist. What is important that he ignores is the expansion of aid to the poor because there are increasing numbers of poor and the charitable organizations that operate on local or regional or whatever levels can’t deal with the problem. Only the govt. can now handle a poverty problem that is the result of an economic system that cannot provide enough jobs or pay living wages to many millions of workers. Most of the food aid goes to children or old people. Like right wing commentators, he ignores that fact and in doing so reveals an uncharitable and thus unchristian attitude.

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