Poverty. Article.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Video Rating: / 5

What’s the best way to help people stuck in poverty get out of poverty? Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, shows where conservatives and progressives differ.
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What’s the best way to help poor people escape poverty?

Progressives and conservatives have very different answers to this question, but before we explore those answers, let’s agree on this:

Both progressives and conservatives believe that the government has a moral obligation to help those who, through bad luck or unfortunate circumstances, can’t help themselves.

Here’s what a conservative icon, Nobel Prize-winning economist, Frederic Hayek, said on the subject:

“There is no reason why, in a society that has reached the general level of wealth ours has attained, the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all…some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing sufficient to preserve health and the capacity to work.”

Whatever the media might tell you, there isn’t a conservative out there who would not agree with Hayek’s statement.

As I have documented in my book, Who Really Cares, when it comes to philanthropy and charitable giving, conservatives actually out-give progressives — by a lot.

Where the two sides disagree is on the role the government plays – not in protecting the poor from poverty, but in lifting them out of it.

Here’s a disturbing piece of data: On balance, since President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty programs came fully online in 1966, the poverty rate in America has hardly budged.

That rate, as computed by the United States government, was 14.7 percent in 1966.

And today?

It’s 13.5 percent.

The rate has fluctuated a few points up and down over the decades. The net result is just one percentage point of progress. And this is after the government has spent over 20 trillion dollars on poverty relief programs.

20 trillion dollars – the current size of the US debt — and the needle has barely moved.

Now, it’s true that the official poverty rate doesn’t measure consumption. Certainly, poor people today have many more things than poor people did in 1970.

Across all income levels, including the poor, Americans are likely to have cell phones, air conditioners, flat screen TVs, computers and a car. And life expectancy has lengthened considerably thanks to overall improvements in health care.

But it demeans poor people to say that this material progress makes poverty less of a problem. Our goal should never be to merely make poverty less miserable for people. Our goal must be to make poverty more escapable.

Many progressives offer a straightforward solution: more funding for poverty programs. They believe that we need to transfer more wealth – through government taxation — from people who have money to people who don’t. This is the income inequality argument.

For the complete script, visit https://www.prageru.com/courses/economics/there-only-one-way-out-poverty
Video Rating: / 5


  1. Jeanette Avila says:

    Low minimum wage keeps everyone in poverty and they don't care about it as long as greedy people run the world we will never have equity how depressing government's are evil

  2. deadbutmoving says:

    If poor people where given opportunities to get out of poverty Liberals wouldn't have a voting base. And Therein lies the problem. Naturally, it's better for Lefties to maintain a large amount of impoverished people permanently stuck in a cycle of welfare and poverty.

    Ending poverty was never and has never been the goal of lefties and if it ever happened, it would be a total disaster for them.

    This fundamental conflict of interests is why I think all leftists are evil. Perhaps most of them are too dumb to understand concepts like "conflicts of interests" and just follow blindly. But I'm sure most of their more intelligent leaders and intellectuals are just plain power hungry.

  3. Spongebob Squarepants says:

    this is a bit of a straw man.

  4. James Fairweather says:

    But… Muh big government

  5. Stefan Röhrl says:

    Sounds great, but the devil is in the detail. First of all: yes! Finally a speaker on PragerU that understood that most political differences between the left and the right are a question of proposed solutions, not different goals.
    Concerning this proposed solution, I see many unaddressed problems. (Besides the obvious fact that it is a surprisingly "socialist" one)

    1. Any welfare-system has to distinguish between different circumstances. (I don't think he suggests sending highly challenged or sick individuals to work for their benefits).

    2. As soon as we accept circumstantial differences, the organisation gets complicated and potential room for misuse and corruption is born.

    3. In detail it would also highly depend on the kind of assigned work, whether it would ever enable individuals to liberate themselves from such a system. I don't see career opportunities rising just because you spend your day working in construction while you need to make time to find and apply for a job for your particular skill set. At best, you are saved from procrastination.

    4. It does not address the growing lack of work we are facing in the future. While we understand that we don't need the same amount of farm workers anymore as we rose the output with technology and engineering, we have to face the reality that less and less people will be necessary to actually work on a job. As a programmer, I daily develop code that drives automation forward. From office workers, paper supplies, time spend on organizing, sorting, bookkeeping and so on: My professional field alone frees humanity from previously necessary tasks. And there are hundreds of other occupations like engineering or biotech that achieve this at equal rates. Economically speaking we misunderstand this development as "eliminating jobs". However, it is always been the goal of humanity to secure survival with the least possible danger and invest. While we are happy that we don't have to be afraid of not having enough to eat if the harvest was lower than expected, we should be happy that we are on the verge of simply not requiring 40 hours per week of every adult anymore. These individuals will become more and more. And society has to overthink the general approach of how one is supposed to carry one's part in it. It can certainly not be the solution to ignore the possible benefits for society of a certain individual's abilities just because there are no paid jobs available. The potential creative or intellectual output wasted grows already. In short: We have to overthink our economical system and remember that the market needs the consumer while the consumer only needs the market as it's the only option to obtain its demands and necessities. ( And nobody demanded an iPhone prior to it's introduction )


    If we look at historical programs throughout the world that invested in infrastructure by sending their unemployed to built streets, train tracks, schools, grids, landscaping, canalization and so on, we can find evidence that the economy surrounding it directly (e.g. suppliers of materials) and indirectly (e.g. more public transportation enable better commuting options, more or better equipped schools enable better education) grew in most cases. Given our modern possibilities we could probably allocate a small fraction of our military spending to send voluntary unemployed people to built up the third world and end hunger within a few years. But now I start dreaming…

  6. Jacob Lee says:

    This right here is where conservatives lose me!  What about people working 60+ hours a week that are still broke as fck!?  It happens all the damn time!  The system in America is broken!  We have to much money involved in politics!  Less than ten percent of the American population make over 100K a year!  I am in that less than 10% and I can tell you that 100K a year really isn't shit any more!

  7. Medna Luka says:

    How's the debt the 1-5% placed on the 95-99% in order to enact usury that generates unearned income for the former devoid of any labor treating y'all? Me, it's keeping me poor just like the way the Devil intended. Jesus died to reinstate the Day of Jubilee against the Romans who forgotten that wisdom of cancelling crippling personal debt in favor of oligarchy and imperialism and eternal slavery and we've largely forgotten that lesson and sacrifice. So now our real economy has ground down to a halt because everyone has too much debt and rent to pay and not enough money to circulate around. One persons spending is another persons earnings and the Finance Insurance and Real Estate (and Automotive) industries are making a killing. Proud to be a PragercUck working for the globalist Devil that runs the US and the rest of the world.

  8. Medna Luka says:

    The only way out of poverty is revolution against the 1-5% because the neoliberal socialism for the rich system is hopelessly rigged against the cucked 95-99%. Proud to be a PragercUck.

  9. mtndewman1022 says:

    I've also thought about the following dilemma- If the poverty rate has stayed the same after spending 20 trillion dollars on it, why are today's poor much better off than back then? And i basically came to the answer- the free market. Capitalism has given us phones, laptops, free use of information on the internet, incredible tv's, and even things you wouldn't think of like scientific calculators. Each of these started out incredibly expensive and poor-performing, but are now ten times better for a tenth of the cost. All with little to no government interaction. I walked by a 60" flat screen tv last week that was selling for $900. Unreal! Would've been exponentially larger just 10 years ago. Don't see a "Federal Agency for Flatscreen Televisions" or any major regulations for the tv industry do you?

    Now we looks at what the government controls. Healthcare- horrendous. Soaring costs, terrible coverage, long wait times. Public housing- Also horrendous. Terrible facilities, likelihood of gang activity, even the erosion of waterways like Flint, Michigan. Public education- Absolutely horrendous. High drop-out rates, disgusting lunches, unions sucking in money and deploying undeserving faculty. If throwing money at the system helped, we'd have solved public edcucation a long time ago. It's no wonder why we still have so many citizens in poverty- governments run on them

  10. daniel halachev says:

    I'm 14 and have already realised the last part of this video without watching it.

  11. Sarah S says:

    This is my favorite one from PU! Love this guy. Great presentation and easy to understand!

  12. Geoffrey Beebe says:

    I was homeless, and I'm only speaking from my perspective.
    I maybe got some unemployment money. that was my only government assistance until the ACA kicked in, and I paid a low monthly deductible.
    I have a federal job now, and I'm slowly building a savings.

    There were four things I needed. A phone to make calls (I had a photo interview for my current job), the internet to find jobs as almost no one accepts walk-in/dropped off resumes), transportation – some way of getting to and from work reliably, and shelter where I could make my own food and clean my clothes.

    If I lived in a rural area, I might have never found work. charities aren't interested in helping single white men, and I wasn't disadvantaged enough to get the stability I needed to find work.

    Instead of blaming people who want a better life, why not enable them? someone wants a better job than flipping burgers? ask your employer if they need a secretary and help that person into it.

    I could not have found my current job if I didn't go to networking events.

    People who criticize others for getting a phone or something nice? I saved a dollar for weeks, putting all my dollars aside so I could afford a 3ds. I didn't get a unemployment check and run off to gamestop, I saved my change. I needed that for my sanity.

    it's really easy to be mean to folks, but let's try to help them instead. it might not take a whole lot of effort. I'm not saying we each should fix another person, but a helping hand brings more joy to the world than a scornful gaze.

    peace be with everyone.

  13. Order and Entropy says:

    I like that you said, "Our goal must be to make poverty more escapable", and not, you know, strive to make sure people aren't poor in the first place

  14. KIT2142 says:

    If you have an Iphone, flatscreen TV, airconditioner, computer, and even a car- you're a not in poverty by any stretch of imagination

  15. lil goat aka young kid!!! says:

    I work a back breaking 40 hours and make 800 every two weeks no cell phone no car no flatscreen 1000 a month for rent and a family to feed wonder what i should do wtf!!!

  16. Flaysoft says:

    Soooooo…get a work?

  17. Tharindu Fernando says:

    I don't disagree that the government should focus on jobs but getting rid of welfare would also affect most people who are hard working but aren't earning that much and are struggling to support their family.

  18. Jose Reyes says:

    the problem is that people that never felt the pain of poverty are the ones trying to solve it. Also, cc conservatives have a real mean way of approaching the issue.

  19. Thomas P says:

    "Bad Luck" is a weird way of saying systemic inequality and inescapable poverty

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