Lots of Suckling at the Welfare Teats

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I am very happy that Peggy Noonan's, Barbara Olson's and Pat Buchanan's books are all on the bestseller list. What this shows is that the liberal media, whose noses are so far up Tom Daschle's and Ted Kennedy's rectums they can perform a tonsillectomy from inside, have nothing in common with the majority of the American people.

Buchanan predicts that America will be a Third World nation by 2050, a prophecy that does not qualify as such. It is a certainty. A most important part of his opus deals with the values the 1960s generation turned its back on, those that made Western civilization prosper. The result has been family breakdown, drug abuse and AIDS. One thing, however, that this generation has preserved intact is its strong sense of victimhood. No matter how horrendous the crime, the criminal is always a victim of sorts. Just look at this Mumia fellow. He murdered a police officer in cold blood, has never bothered to deny the fact he murdered him, yet there were rallies and midnight vigils trying to keep him from frying.

Yet miracles do happen. There are now half as many poor people in America as there were five years ago, despite what the Daschles and Kennedys and their media lapdogs tell us ad nauseam. Five years ago there were five million families on welfare in the United States, today there are only two million. Once only 35 percent of black children lived with both their parents. Figures show that now 40 percent do.

The Republican takeover of both houses in 1994 had a lot to do with it. The rot started with LBJ, a man who personified the arrogance of Beltway insiders, a megalomaniac wheeler-dealer with a rapper's fondness for obscenity who throughout his life exhibited the sourness of the excluded. In 1964, Johnson decided that too many Americans, especially black Americans, were poor, and that they should be given federal money. It sounded fine when he announced it, especially as he was about to send many poor whites and even poorer blacks to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. After 1965, and as the war escalated, Uncle Sam threw money at people?the poorer they were, the more money they received.

There was only one problem. People are rational. When they are rewarded for being poor, they try their damnedest to stay poor. Until LBJ starting throwing your money around as if it were confetti, black Americans had managed to enrich themselves enough that the proportion of those living in poverty had fallen from 60 to 30 percent (starting in the late 1950s). After 1968, as the federal handouts took their effect, the percentage of blacks living in poverty stagnated at 30 percent. A more important reaction to the federal munificence was the crime rate. It tripled in five short years. The illegitimate birth rate of blacks, which was only 20 percent in 1965, doubled by 1975. This was the key statistic. Children raised by single parents are more likely to commit crimes and to produce illegitimate children of their own.

There were many, starting with yours truly, who blamed black backwardness for the illegitimacy epidemic. But it was Uncle Sam who was the culprit. By offering welfare to single mothers, he encouraged them to ditch biological fathers for him. He proved a very poor surrogate. Ever since, people, especially poor blacks, have looked to government for social leadership. Predictably, race hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton recognized the opportunity for shaking down the state, and have been doing just that with a vengeance. Although everyone by now knows that single parenthood often leads to dependency on the state, very few black leaders concentrate on freeing their people from this dependency. The cycle of deprivation that is initiated by single parenthood is the manna that feeds black demagogues.

So what is to be done? Well, the days of laissez-faire are over, otherwise I would suggest doing away with welfare altogether. A more realistic plan is that of Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin. Thompson led American governors in reinventing the role of government not as a handout champion, but by implementing workfare. By providing benefits to those who obtained jobs, it consequently impelled three million people to go to work.

There is an ancient Athenian saying, "Sin Athina Ke Hirakin." An Athenian slave had his wheelbarrow stuck in a ditch while he stood idly by and prayed to Pallas Athena, the guardian goddess of the city. A wise passerby advised him to keep praying but to try to pull the cart out. "It won't come free by prayer alone." We conservatives have been preaching this for years. We were on the side of the angels all along. LBJ and his fellow liberals are those who committed the great crimes against America's poor.

The Jacksons and Sharptons of this world continue to commit crimes against their people by encouraging them to feel and act like victims. Mike Bloomberg may have only shaken Sharpton's hand symbolically, but it was a very bad move. Sharpton does not care for the welfare (pun intended) of his people. To the contrary. He needs blacks to feel disenfranchised and angry. Buchanan may have been pilloried by the media elite, but he's among the wisest men of the Republic. Now that we have welfare under control, let's tackle immigration.

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