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October 26, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Is this war still worth fighting?

Another view?

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Forty-seven years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared War on Poverty, citing the fact that some 12 million Americans went to bed hungry every night. Today, we have 49 million people receiving food stamps — well, it is now debit cards to save the recipients from embarrassment at the exit counter.

As our liberals ask about every American war they do not like:

1. What is the definition of victory in this war on hunger and poverty?

2. What is our exit strategy in this war now in its 47th year?

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  1. LBJ went a step farther. He said if Congress would appropriate ONE BILLION DOLLARS, we could end poverty in the USA forever. Congress did. In fact, to the tune of ONE BILLION times 10 to infinity power. Guess what? Still here.

    CarmineD

  2. Well, at least they have food stamps so they don't go to bed hungry every night (only some nights). We're a better country for the fact that we have a safety net for the poor, not despite it. I wonder if the writer has a suggestion on how to eliminate poverty other than pretending it's not there.

    Forty years ago President Nixon declared a "War on Drugs". Any thoughts on that Mr. Jeric?

  3. Facts and statistics would lead one to believe that the war on poverty has been about as successful as the war on drugs. I'm not sure the letter writer was advocating an end to the effort against poverty. Maybe he is but he'd have to answer that question.

    As any endeavor gets larger, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage properly. To me, the problem with the war on poverty is that this huge endeavor is managed exceedingly poorly. If more effort was made to root out the fraud, the duplication, and the inefficiencies, it would go along way to reduce the costs and raise the results. Many programs badly need to be changed to operate better, but instead, we seem to have one side that just wants to eliminate programs and the other that just wants to throw more money at existing programs. Both approaches are wrong headed.

    As a decent society, we need a good safety net, but one where we allow so much waste, abuse and inefficiency, ends up hurting our society instead of helping it.

    Our social safety net could be made a lot better and a lot less expensive, but only if we made a real effort to improve it with innovation and better management; something we don't do currently.

    Michael

  4. If more money were, as President Johnson erroneously thought, the answer to ending poverty in America, it would no longer be pervasive and prevalent. Obviously, as the letter writer suggests, it's not. Just as more money is not the best answer to other problems: Drugs and education, to name just two already mentioned.

    CarmineD

  5. I understand the focus of this War on Poverty that was declared decades and decades ago. And there have been some successes, but overall we're still fighting it.

    It went, and it's going, nowhere.

    I say this. And it's going to enfuriate the rabid right wingers out there. But I don't care.

    I say we outright declare War on the Rich.

    From everything shown lately, grassroots efforts are starting already to make sure there is some kind of fairness in pay, health benefits, making the rich pay their fair share of taxes, reforming the tax laws and get rid of the stupid loopholes that allows a vampire like Romney to invest in other foreign countries more than America, get rid of outsourcing, safety regulations in the workplace, get rid of subsidies for corporations that don't need it, get rid of too big to fail and institute stuff that ensures the big businesses understand they are not too big to smack silly when they step out of line, get rid of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, and force corporations to knock off trying to influence the vote with their employees.

    I'm sure there are other things that can be done, but the above is a start.

    War on the Rich. Because if you don't, they will just want more and more and more and more. Thereby turning them into vampires that help to destroy the middle class, snowballing down to the poor and the very poor.

    Put me on the front lines. War on the Rich.

    Not to take away what they got.

    To MAKE them play fair.

    Because capitalism exists because of democracy. Not the other way around. They can go into the playground and have fun and make money, but they damn sure better play by some rules. Rules that have either not been set, or rules that have been manipulated to make them fortunes, all at the expense of everyone else.

    Total war.

    Change the focus.

    No more War on Poverty. We start at the top and work down.

    Okay. Lemme have it, righties. Heads are exploding all over the place. I anticipate the reaction will probably be instantaneous....

  6. The "War" on poverty was never about ending poverty. It was, as are most "Commie-Lite" initiatives, merely another way to make people dependent on government handouts and to buy their votes. In other words, it was a ploy to gain power and increase it as time went by and has been, as we have just seen in the reelection of the guy with the "Cheshire Cat" grin, pretty successful. As for Weber wanting a "war on the rich." No surprise there. Like all "good" leftists, Weber wants someone else to pay for the things he covets. No segment of American society is greedier or more selfish than "Commie-Lites." That they steal from future generations, even their own blood relatives, matters not a whit to those slugs!

  7. I have always wondered why the conservative cabal believes that increased funding solves absolutely noting save the military and its associated military-industrial complex. Not a dime for child nutrition but lard it up for the F-35 strike fighter or the destroyer hulls which split or the newest non-performing gizmo.

  8. Considering several years of commentary from Jerry, Carmine, Re and other conservative correspondents all I see is universal criticism of our quite modest American system of support for folks less well-off, less able or just plain less lucky than most of us. To steer things towards a positive note here's a challenge to you guys. Name a country that has a similar standard of living to the United States and that offers the opportunities that we do but operates on the principles that you promote and describe how it works successfully.

  9. ByBChap,
    Having read your 4:39am post today I find your life very interesting.I also remember reading past posts of your life growing up ,along with your military service as a dedicated Marine.

    All I can say is that you did a good job of pulling yourself up and making a decent life for you and your family.Looking back can be painful,but you have much to look forward to.You turned out to be a good and respected person.

  10. "Considering several years of commentary from ....Carmine...and other conservative correspondents all I see is universal criticism of our quite modest American system of support for folks less well-off, @ Pat Hayes

    Quite the contrary. I have always believed that a society should be judged on how it cares for the least among it and most needy.

    Having said that, EVEN the most liberal of liberal democrats, Bob Beckel, a political pundit I repect and follow since the 80's, has taken issue with the growth of the USA as a welfare state. He has said repeatedly, and I totally agree with him, that in an effort to assist those truly in need, we've made it easier for those who are not, to live off the public dole. Not just for a short time but for generations and generations. Beckel, a liberal talking, not me. Check it oput for yourself.

    There is a huge differnce between a hand up and a hand out. The former is a good thing. The latter, if taken to its extreme as it is, will cause the self-destruction of a society.

    CarmineD

  11. The ultimate victory in the war on poverty is to have jobs for everyone. And we will not be able to achieve that without adjusting our trade policies so that American labor is more valuable to manufacturers than from other sources.

  12. Due to technological and medical advancements along with the lack of world wide population control, perhaps there has to be some poverty in our Capitalist system. I submit that automation and immigration are two factors that have reduced the amount of jobs and wages for whatever low skilled labor is available in this country. How can there not be an increase in those who are in need of public assistance when you combine those factors with the lack of education in these relatively advanced times?

    Eventually, and perhaps even now, we will need only a fraction of the teachers the country currently employs (See Khan Academy). The internet and automation will make teaching and many other jobs and employees unnecessary and obsolete, and many of those future worthless well educated souls-- many of them commenting here--may be in line waiting for their public assistance handouts. What will they say? Oh what will they say?

  13. BChap,

    I suggest reading a book titled "The Emperor's New Mind" by Roger Penrose. He makes the argument that true AI can not be achieved unless we discover/understand quantum gravity.

    He might be right.

  14. BChap,

    There is little to suggest that the current occupants of the halls of Congress are capable of thought to begin with.

    Joking aside, speaking as a software engineer, I do not think we will see robots or computers take our place anytime soon.

    Computers are extremely good at following logic chains of the "if..then.." nature. But they can only follow those chains using the rules they have been programmed with by a human.

    What computers are incapable of doing is asking the question "What if?" Only a human is capable of doing that, quantum computers not withstanding. Computers should ultimately free humans from mundane tasks and allow everyone to pursue the answer to "What if?"

  15. Mr. Jeric: NO, it was never worth fighting the way we went about it. Look at the results--more people in poverty, more people with MINDSETS OF DEPENDENCY. Many willing and able adults unwilling to work. I recall a welfare mother who insisted she should get the minimum wage ON TOP OF all the government benies she'd been getting for years--she had 4 kids and took RX uppers. A bright woman with no interest in working but she thought the government should send her to graduate school--and we did.