Michael Medved

Would the establishment of a new cabinet level “Department of Poverty” enable the government to cure, finally, the frustrations and hardships of America’s poor?

Hillary Clinton apparently believes that it would, and thereby illustrates the vapidity and illogic at the very core of contemporary liberalism.

In a Memphis speech meant to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, the New York Senator and Presidential candidate claimed that she, too, had a dream.

“I believe we should appoint a cabinet level position that will be solely and fully devoted to ending poverty as we know it in America,” she solemnly intoned. “A position that will focus the attention of our nation on the issue and never let it go. A person who I could see being asked by the president every single day what have you done to end poverty in America? No more excuses. No more whining, but instead a concerted effort.”

The media largely ignored her proposal but her former rival John Edwards applauded it. His formal reaction declared: “America’s need to address the great moral issue of poverty demands strong action and a cabinet level poverty position is exactly that kind of action.”

Creating a new job in government amounts to “strong action”?

Mr. Edwards can’t be serious. The only American to feel the impact of such “action” would be the individual hired to fill the job.

The entire proposal highlights the Democratic Party’s current addiction to the politics of gesture dictated by the “Do Something Disease.” Under the grip of that dread malady, public figures feel the compulsion to stage a response to any perceived problem – even if that reaction accomplishes nothing in terms of meaningful solutions.

The Do Something Disease compels posturing that shows off the compassion of politicos, rather than policies that actually improve the lives of afflicted citizens. Results don’t matter, as long as the leader manages to demonstrate concern. Good intentions—feelings-- count for everything, with no consideration of real world consequences.

If nothing else, these high-minded, low-impact initiatives may lead the public to shrug: “At least they tried to help the situation. It’s better than doing nothing.”

Consider the last time we focused on the goal of eradicating poverty across the country: Lyndon Johnson’s “War On Poverty” cost an estimated five trillion dollars over the course of thirty years but, as President Reagan suggested: “We fought a war on poverty. And poverty won.”

Michael Medved

Michael Medved's daily syndicated radio talk show reaches one of the largest national audiences every weekday between 3 and 6 PM, Eastern Time. Michael Medved is the author of eleven books, including the bestsellers What Really Happened to the Class of '65?, Hollywood vs. America, Right Turns, The Ten Big Lies About America and 5 Big Lies About American Business
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Michael Medved's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.