It seems that every minute I tune into the several news networks like FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR and call in shows like C-Span's Washington Journal, I keep on hearing folks rattle on and on about the poverty that is rampant amongst inhabitants and how we can solve it by returning to a LBJ like Great Society for cities like New Orleans. Now I'm all concerned about people living in poverty and would like to find a solution to erase such conditions but I don't see how spending adding billions more to the $6.6 trillion that we have spent so far on the "War on Poverty" is going to solve the problems that propagate poverty. Instead the general excuses of poverty being due to a low minimum wage, lack of money or some silly notion of racism, the MSM needs to glance at the true villain which is the internal corruption of culture within the poor communities. Yes, the culture is the villain within New Orleans and various inner cities throughout this country. As long as you have youngsters and adults who live in areas in which having multiple children out of wedlock, dropping out of high school, single mother families and a dependency towards government entitlements rather than searching for employment, you will still continue to have the hands of poverty wrapped around their throats slowly but surely robbing them of breath. In fact, the liberals(And President Bush to a lesser extent) who have been advocating this spend, spend , spend mentality towards eliminating poverty seem to have forgotten that the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) had observed this deficit within the culture as being a chief culprit for poverty within the black community some 40 years ago.(This could be applied to society as a whole rather than one subsection). Thankfully, Detroit News columnist Thomas Bray seems to have a strong memory and noted such in his September 21, 2005 column. Take a look:
Among the pictures from New Orleans were lots of heart-rending shots of displaced mothers and children, but few of fathers and husbands. Liberal critics say Hurricane Katrina ripped aside the veil on America's extreme poverty. What it really ripped aside was the veil over the collapse of family, particularly among inner-city blacks, that lies at the heart of poverty.I just hope that it's not to late for US government to think about what kind of Pandora's Box they might open by flooding massive quantities of money into a poverty zone like New Orleans without treating the main problem which is the decline of culture which lead to poverty. It sort of like a doctor being more concerned about someone's headache rather than attending to the patients severed foot. We need to develop programs that solve problems not create more. In fact it seems that when people within predominately black communities follow Moynihan's recommendations to preventing poverty: 1. Graduate from high school, 2. Don't have a baby before your married and 3. Don't marry while you are a teenager, they generally rise above the tide. According to a recent Q&A between Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Bill Steigerwald and syndicated columnist Star Parker (Whose pulled herself up from the ocean of poverty) it seems that Moynihan advice is gaining ground and folks are pulling themselves up much like Booker T. Washington recommended almost a century ago. Parker notes the effectiveness of such advice in the following exchange:
The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the Harvard sociologist turned Democratic U.S. senator from New York, tried to warn of the problem four decades ago. Things were looking good then for minorities and the poor: The economy had grown, unemployment and poverty had declined by record amounts, the major barriers to equal opportunity had been stripped away by Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act, and blacks had moved into the middle class.
But Moynihan found a sharp rise in single-mother families among blacks. He spelled out the alarming implications in a Labor Department report titled "The Negro Family: The Case for National Action." As recounted by Kay Hymowitz in a recent article in City Journal, Moynihan argued that "marriage orients men and women toward the future, asking them not just to commit to each other but to plan, to earn, to save and to devote themselves to advancing their children's prospects."
Moynihan concluded that there was a "tangle of pathologies" that would undermine black progress if left unchecked.
Q: What are some encouraging statistics about black families and households in the United States?You'd think if so many people like Washington, Moynihan, Steigerwald, Parker, Bray, George Will, Thomas Sowell and Kay Hymowitz notice such a blinking neon sign about the culture being the main cause then maybe the politicians would conclude the same. The only problem is that too many politicians are so afraid that they're going to offend some section of the American public or an interest group by revealing the truth that they prefer to just say yes to more spending rather than getting to the heart of the matter. I guess that's why I'm a strong believer in limited government and prefer faith-based and private solutions to our problems(In fact I'll bet you that a lot of America feels the same way.).
A: Where we see marriage and raising children in black America, we see health. We see financial health, we see moral health. We do not see the social pathologies. Where you see a marital household -- husband, wife, children -- the poverty rate is 8 percent. In single-headed households raising children in black America, the poverty rate is at 65 percent.
The problem for black America today is that more households are single-headed than ever in the history of black America. Today we are looking at out-of-wedlock birthrates of 69 percent in black America -- as opposed to in the 1960s, when out-of-wedlock birthrates were 22 percent. So we are diminishing our opportunities to be successful in this society.
But where blacks make sure that they are responsible with their choices, make sure that they aspire educationally, make sure that they marry before they have children, make sure that they take any job and work harder than the person above them, and make sure that they save and invest, we are seeing tremendous strides in black America. We are seeing tremendous growth.
Also check out Thomas Sowell's book Black Rednecks and White Liberals to learn more about this decline in the culture within the black community and how it has led to poverty.