A prominent CEO in real estate services and investment management, a business leader and tremendous philanthropists in Raleigh, North Carolina, posted something on his Facebook page recently that garnered my attention.
He said in the posts that he was sick of hearing a lie. “Rich people do not create poor people or income inequality. Think about it for a second,” he said. “Rich people actually want and need more rich people so they can stay rich. So who or what is creating income inequality? Our culture is the dominant creator and promoter of income inequality and poverty.”
He then proceeded to name what he called “devastating robbery schemes” that prevail in the country. Several of them were of particular interest, some of which might be categorized under “Government Entitlements” and “Vice.”
In his list, he argued that a primary culprit of the nation’s impoverishment was “[e]ntitlement programs that reward and reinforce poverty and dependency.”
That’s an astute recognition.
During the administration of former President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s, America set out to eradicate poverty and create what Johnson called “The Great Society.” Charles Murray’s book, Losing Ground, is considered by many as the classic study of these government programs, and the book advanced a vexing but accurate thesis concerning them. They were too expensive and mostly counterproductive.
In 1988, The Economist noted less than 1 percent of the poor in America were couples who had finished high school, gotten married, remained husband and wife, and kept a job for at least a year. It was the incentives introduced during the 1960s and carried on through the following years that made it improbable that people would see this as the most favorable chance for escaping poverty.
Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous French philosopher, who came to this country in 1830 to discover the secret of its greatness, warned: “America will last until the populace discovers that it can vote for itself largesse out of the public treasury.” “Largesse” is simply a term meaning, “vote for themselves gifts or handouts.”
Much of the country has discovered this with a vengeance. Politicians use it as a means of buying votes by giving away taxpayer money. Nevertheless, these entitlement programs through the decades have produced more of what they sought out to cure. Such an approach to lessening poverty hasn’t and doesn’t work.
The late Dr. D. James Kennedy, a former pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, explained:
“The welfare state creates a desire in people to take advantage of public money. Those on welfare will expect to be cared for and will even want more money. Those not on welfare will grow envious and desire, if not to be completely supported, to be helped for their own selfish ends. The few who work will become discouraged. They will see work as unnecessary or undesirable for earning a living. When people no longer desire to work or to work hard, the whole system will collapse.”
Moreover, before these entitlement programs were so abundant, men and women were led to marry, and the husband entered the job market. But now people can seek modest economic security outside the institution of marriage.
Thus, family instability, a remarkable increase in out-of-wedlock births, and with all of this came the pathologies that deeply affect children born without a mother or a father, most profoundly those without a good father, producing rampant crime, alcohol, and drug addictions, etc.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Rev. Mark H. Creech