Victory in the War on Poverty!

The War on Poverty is over. America won – poverty, hunger and homelessness lost.
Victory in the War on Poverty!
By: George Noga – September 30, 2018

          We have written for years that poverty per se barely existed in America; now,  it’s time to declare victory in the War on Poverty! The White House Council of Economic Advisers recently issued a report which included the following: “Based on historical standards of material well-being . . . our War on Poverty is largely over and a success.” Predictably, progressives and poverty pimps won’t accept victory; they continue to rant that anti-poverty programs are insufficient and must be expanded.

          Please note we use the term “per se“. There are about 8 million Americans, or 2.5%, living in material poverty. The normal distribution of human IQ dictates 2.5% will have IQ below 70, which is de facto retardation. That means there are 8 million Americans in that category – the same number as in material poverty. It should be incandescently obvious that those two cohorts are one and the same; a Venn diagram would show the two circles nearly 100% overlapping. This is the basis of our statement that there is no poverty per se, because the real problem is retardation, not poverty.

          In addition to poverty, low cognitive ability accounts for hunger, homelessness and a host of other social pathologies. Venn diagrams for these also would mostly overlap with low IQ. As with poverty, hunger per se has been eliminated. Nearly 40% of Americans are obese and food insecurity has replaced hunger in the liberal lexicon. We have reversed the centuries old paradigm; today, the wealthy are thin and the poor fat. Homelessness also is extinct, apart from low IQ and untreated mental illness.

        By far, the biggest flaw with usual measures of poverty is that they are based entirely on reported income. When we look at spending instead of income, the picture changes dramatically. The poorest quintile of Americans spend $2 for each $1 of reported income. Official measures of income fail to take into account benefits such as SNAP, EITC, public housing, Medicaid and many others. They ignore the underground (cash) economy estimated at $3 trillion and concentrated among low income groups. They also fail to account for quality changes and shifts to uber low-cost stores.

       Today, the bottom quintile of Americans live as the middle class did a generation ago – as measured by size of homes, number of rooms per person, air conditioning and  other amenities. The top income quintile spend only about twice as much per person as the bottom quintile, showing low inequality. The poorest 10% of Americans live equal to or better than most Europeans. If Sweden, touted by many as a socialist paradigm, were a US state, its per capita GDP would be similar to Mississippi, our poorest state.

         No discussion of poverty is complete without noting relative poverty, defined as less than 50% of a nation’s median income. By this stilted metric, the US has more people in poverty than many third world countries. A country uniformly and utterly destitute has less relative poverty than America because in places where everyone is dirt poor (Haiti, Congo, Guinea), no one is relatively poor. When you see news stories asserting high poverty rates in America, they invariably are based on relative poverty.

         America has extinguished poverty, hunger and homelessness per se. Nonetheless, there are 8 million still living in material poverty – many of whom also are hungry and homeless. These people deserve our compassion and assistance. We do not help them by being politically correct and ignoring the true cause of their predicament. Instead, we need to tailor solutions to deal with low ability and untreated mental illness.

         We also should recognize our victory over poverty. This truly is a great American accomplishment and worthy of being honored and celebrated throughout the land.


Next: The definitive account of socialism in the Nordic countries.
MLLG

MLLG State of the Union Address

By: George Noga – October 1, 2014
      My fellow Americans: I begin with first principles. Governments are instituted among men to protect their rights which include life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. Indeed, this is the only legitimate purpose for government. Experience has shown that legally sanctioned force, i.e. government is necessary to secure our rights including defense against foreign threats, protection from domestic violence and enforcement of contracts. Government therefore is a necessary, albeit evil, force that must be tightly controlled and used only for the carefully circumscribed purposes noted supra and then only to the absolute minimum extent necessary.
      All of human experience demonstrates free people, free trade and free markets result in the greatest prosperity for all. Government is inherently coercive; it is not about logic, reason or persuasion; it is about brute force including the threat of force. In contrast, civil society is always voluntary and cooperative. No company, no matter how big or powerful, can compel you to buy its product or service. A consumer armed with a free choice is the most powerful force on earth.

     The principles identified supra lead to twelve major initiatives I now announce. There is much more to be done; however, this is where we must begin to restore our Constitutional Republic.

  1. The Constitutional Box: We are a government of laws and not men. The identity of those who hold executive, legislative or judicial offices should be of little consequence to citizens provided they act within the confines of the Constitution, i.e. stay inside the Constitutional box. This means shrinking government to its core responsibility of securing our rights and, to a very limited extent, providing infrastructure. Accordingly, we will scale the federal government back to 15% of GDP, a level which empirically is demonstrated to result in the maximum rate of economic growth and hence the maximum well-being for all our citizens.
  2. Free Trade: Wealth and prosperity are created by trade among peoples. Traders take substantial risks and can accrue riches; however, their wealth ultimately depends on improving the lives of their customers. If they fail to make you better off, they do not prosper. Free and unfettered trade is universally good – always and everywhere. For that reason I announce the United States unilaterally will eliminate all tariffs and trade barriers – even if other countries do not reciprocate. We will be better off for that action and those who do not follow will be worse off.
  3. Sound Money: The Federal Reserve will have one mission only: to maintain sound money. This means purchasing power will be maintained, inflation eliminated, and increases in the money supply subject to strict constraints. The Fed will be audited regularly and we will take a hard look at reestablishing a gold standard.
  4. Taxation: As we scale government back to 15% of GDP, taxes can be slashed. I am asking for repeal of the 16th amendment to eliminate the income tax. We also will eliminate the death tax and Social Security/Medicare payroll taxes. These will be replaced by  a consumption tax at the lowest rate possible – likely in a single digit. The 60% of Americans who currently pay no income tax (net of credits) will begin to enjoy the dignity that comes with being a taxpayer. Moreover, they will have a personal stake in controlling spending and holding taxes to the absolute minimum. The crisis of spending, debt and deficits will end instantaneously.
  5. Defense and Foreign Affairs: We will follow the admonition of President John Quincy Adams that “America is a friend of freedom everywhere, but a custodian only of our own.” Simultaneously, we will observe George Washington’s advice  that “The best way to keep the peace is to be prepared for war.” We will strengthen and then consistently maintain the military for the long term at such a high level as to deter any possibly adversary.
  6. War on Drugs: The war on drugs is over. As we learned with prohibition, the drug war is unwinnable and never should have been fought. Henceforth, all drugs will be legal but regulated, taxed and discouraged just as with tobacco. Drug taxes collected will go solely for rehabilitation of those who continue to abuse them. We immediately will realize benefits including: (a) releasing non-violent drug offenders; (b) ending drug related crime; (c) putting drug cartels out of business; (d) reducing police corruption; (e) refocusing our foreign policy; (f) ensuring safety of drugs; and (g) eliminating drug dealers as role models.
  7. Regulation: All regulations will automatically sunset ratably every 10 years. Congress must enact any that need to be replaced. Any regulations promulgated by bureaucrats that have an economic impact of over $25 million must be voted on and approved by Congress before taking effect.
  8. Role of Juries: Henceforth, defendants (and their attorneys) will have the right to explain to juries that juries are sovereign and, as intended by our nation’s founders, have the final say about the legality and enforcement of all laws. The grand jury system will be reformed to stop prosecutorial abuse and to allow citizen grand juries.
  9. War on Poverty: The war on poverty is finished. The percentage of Americans who, by their own reports, lack a healthy level of food, shelter, clothing or medical care is 2%-3%. This cohort is identical to the 2% to 3% of Americans with very low mental acuity, i.e. those who struggle to fill out a simple form. We will therefore refocus our attention and also our solutions to better deal with the real problem. Even though the percentage in poverty is low, it still equates to 7-8 million of our countrymen to whom we pledge a strong safety net.
  10. Entitlements: Obamacare is to be repealed and replaced with free market solutions. Entitlements  will be placed on budget. Social Security gradually and voluntarily will be privatized. In the interim, benefits will be maintained by changing indexing and lengthening eligibility ages. Medicare benefits will be maintained by gradually lengthening eligibility ages and changing to a premium support model; also, medical costs will moderate given real prices.  Medicaid will be block granted to the states to administer as they see fit without interference.
  11. Energy/Climate: The Keystone Pipeline will be built and natural gas exported. We will drill and frack in ANWR, offshore and on federal lands – all ASAP. Our national delusion about manmade global warming  is over. Warming is a solar phenomenon to which man’s contribution is minimal. We will continue to develop alternative fuels for the future while eliminating subsidies for wind, solar and biofuels. The EPA’s mission will be refocused.
  12. Education: School choice is the civil rights issue of our time. We will move with all deliberate speed to universal school vouchers. We will bring education into the 21st century with technology and by furthering alternatives such as online and home schooling and by creating entirely new paradigms.
          Thank you and may God bless the United States of America.