In his continuing effort to pit races and classes against each other, Democratic presidential candidate and socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has said that if you are white, “you don’t know what it’s like to be poor.”
He should drive some of the roads I’ve driven in West Virginia, among other places. Some of the homes of the white poor look like throwbacks from an earlier time.
Sanders attempted to “clarify” his comment (a political synonym for walking it back when it didn’t play well) during a town hall meeting Monday night in Detroit. Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked him about his remark and Sanders replied, “I know about white poverty. There is no candidate in this race who has talked more about poverty than I have.”
Therein lies the problem. The left talks a lot about poverty, but when it comes to programs and ideas to help people climb out of poverty their only solution is to spend more money. If money alone were enough to extricate people from poverty and help them sustain themselves with a job and a strong family, then the more than $1 trillion spent on anti-poverty programs since the Great Society was launched by President Johnson in 1964 would have reduced the number of poor people in America. And yet, the poverty rate changes very little. A rational person might conclude that spending more money on programs that have failed to achieve their stated goals is not the right answer.
In April and May of 1964, President Johnson and the first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, toured the Appalachian states. After their visit he vowed to wipe out poverty. He didn’t and his successors haven’t either.
What do I, a now “prosperous” white guy, know about poverty?