Larry Elder

President George W. Bush, according to Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., doesn't care about the poor.

 Rangel recently called the president "our Bull Connor," referring to the racist former Birmingham, Ala., police commissioner who turned fire hoses and attack dogs on civil rights activists in the '60s. "If you're black in this country," said Rangel, "and you're poor in this country, it's not an inconvenience. It's a death sentence."

 Once again, Rangel displays the unique ability -- apparently only possessed by Democrats -- to peer inside the president's soul, to conclude he lacks compassion and concern about the poor. For, one certainly cannot accuse the president of indifference to the poor based on his actions.

 Since Bush took office, according to the Heritage Foundation, federal anti-poverty spending -- including Medicaid, food and nutrition programs, housing, earned income tax credit and child credits, plus other programs -- increased 42 percent. This is nearly double the rate of increase under President Clinton. Some critics claim increased poverty has driven up poverty costs. But poverty rates have increased less than 1 percent under Bush, and remain lower than the average poverty rates under Clinton.

 Bush doesn't care about the poor? Let us count the ways.

 Education: Under No Child Left Behind, Bush increased federal spending on education -- in inflation-adjusted dollars -- from 2001 to 2005 by 38 percent. During the same period, Education for the Disadvantaged Grants (this includes Title I) -- the program designed to decrease the performance gap between urban and suburban school districts -- received an inflation-adjusted increase of 58 percent. Bush increased spending on Education for Homeless Children and Youth by an inflation-adjusted 57 percent during those same years. Under Bush, federal spending for bilingual education has increased 44 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars since 2001. Bush has increased by 52 percent (from 2001) funding for Pell Grants used at technical schools and community colleges.

 Job Training: President Bush's 2005 budget included 12.5 percent more funding than in 2001 for job training and employment assistance. This comes to a total of $23 billion for 30 programs in nine agencies. The Trade Adjustment Assistance Program pays for job training for those "displaced" as a result of free trade. Bush, in his first four years in office, more than doubled the inflation-adjusted dollars spent on this program.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.