Star Parker

Here’s free advice for Mitt Romney.

Before bringing up the poor again, read my book “Uncle Sam’s Plantation.”

Romney has been taking a drubbing about his remarks in a CNN interview that he is “not worried about the very poor…we have a safety net there…If it needs a repair, I will fix it.” And then going on to say it is “..middle income Americans…that are really struggling…” that are his concern.

What the now Republican presidential frontrunner missed in his off-the-cuff economic analysis of American class is that the cause driving the struggle among both low and middle income Americans is the same.

Economic stagnation and social breakdown caused by welfare state socialism.

As I explain in “Uncle Sam’s Plantation,” America’s inner cities offer laboratory results for what is wrong today with the whole country.

If you want to know why America is failing, look at why our inner cities are failing.

Governor Romney is incorrect to label as a safety net welfare state programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training, Emergency Assistance to Needy Families with Children, Section 8 Housing, and Food Stamps.

A safety net is what is provided when a free person, acting on their own initiative, falls and we offer assistance to help them get back up and start again.

The welfare state amounts to wholesale takeover of individual lives. As opposed to government stepping in to soften the blow, the welfare state assumes from the start that individuals won’t make it without government managing their lives.

It is not an accident that despite some ten trillion dollars spent on anti-poverty programs since the 1960’s there is little discernable change in our poverty rate.

The problem was made worse because the broken families and broken spirits resulting from government plantation dependence have institutionalized inner city poverty.

If America is going to get back on track, we must appreciate that we are doing to our whole country what we did to America’s poor.

Seventy percent of government spending today consists of transfer payments – government redistributing funds from one set of individuals to others.

Even before the Obamacare government takeover, our health care market was already dominated by government. About ten percent of our healthcare expenditures today are out-of-pocket expenditures by individuals. About half of health care expenditures in 1960 were individual out-of-pocket expenditures.


Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.