Star Parker

Haskins’ testimony presents an abundance of facts about our experience with poverty and with government-centered approaches to dealing with it. Experience generally characterized, for those that choose to consider facts, by more and more government spending getting less and less.

According to Haskins, federal government spending, per person in poverty, has tripled, since 1980. The total being spent by all levels of government – federal, state, and local – per person in poverty is now about $23,700 per person.

Despite dramatic expansion of government spending on poverty programs over the years, there has been little change in the overall rate of poverty.

What’s key in alleviating poverty?

Individual initiative and personal responsibility. According to Haskins, following three rules reduces to 2 percent the chances that an individual will wind up in poverty and increases to 72 percent their chances of winding up a middle class wage earner.

“Complete at least a high school education, work full time, and wait until 21 and get married before having a baby.”

According to Haskins’ research, those violating these three rules have a 77 percent chance of winding up in poverty.

What can government do so that our economy will grow more rapidly and generate more jobs?

Appreciate that government cannot create jobs or wealth. Only private individuals can do this. Government should do its proper job and protect lives and property of citizens and minimize getting in their way so they may work, produce, and invest.


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.