No one is opposed to “making sure our economy works for every working American.” However, President Obama voices a common misconception as his premise: “middle-class America’s basic bargain that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead.”
Fifty years ago President Johnson declared a “war on poverty” and signed legislation progressives promised would end poverty in America through government programs. Today the poverty rate is essentially the same as it was in 1965.
President Obama spoke of the “decades-long trend” that began in the mid-60s when progressives passed massive legislation that has cost taxpayers $15 trillion, but has had no effect on reducing poverty.
American history is filled with stories of people rising out of poverty. Some through education, others through connections, and still others working in companies that offered opportunities for advancement. The notable thing about all these success stories is people advanced from one standard of living to higher standards of living by getting better jobs. In other words, it’s not enough to work hard if you are working in a job that offers no chance of advancing.
Currently 46 million Americans are living in poverty as defined by the government. According to a recent annual Census report, in 2011 the poverty rate for those who worked full time was only 2.8 percent, but the poverty rate for those working less than full time was 16.3 percent. The poverty rate was 32.9 percent for those who didn’t work at least one week in the year. The key to helping people get out of poverty is helping those who can work get jobs, and helping those with part-time jobs get full-time jobs with opportunities for advancement.
The goal should not be to reduce the inequality of income gap, but to help those at the lower end get on career paths leading to more rewarding jobs.
President Obama’s own hallmark legislation, the Affordable Care Act, which progressive Democrats promised would provide affordable healthcare for all Americans, is projected to cost taxpayers trillions more dollars. So far the ACA has caused more than 6-million people to lose health insurance while the highest estimates say only 2-million people have signed up for health insurance.
Businesses are cutting full-time workers back to part-time status, and economists predict tens of millions more will lose health insurance when businesses drop employer-provided health benefits due to ACA incentives. In essence, the ACA, passed solely by Washington’s elite progressive Democrats, is costing workers hours, jobs, and benefits while failing to help the uninsured get affordable insurance.
Maybe we’d be better off if progressive Democrats stopped trying to help us?
(Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville. You may contact him at Daniel@DanLGardner.com, or visit his website at http://www.danlgardner.com)