Monday, July 8, 2013

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Thoughts?"Leaders of the left in many countries have promoted policies that enable the poor to be more comfortable in their poverty. But that raises a fundamental question: Just who are 'the poor'? ... 'Poverty' once had some concrete meaning -- not enough food to eat or not enough clothing or shelter to protect you from the elements, for example. Today it means whatever the government bureaucrats, who set up the statistical criteria, choose to make it mean. ... Most Americans with incomes below the official poverty level have air-conditioning, television, own a motor vehicle and, far from being hungry, are more likely than other Americans to be overweight. But an arbitrary definition of words and numbers gives them access to the taxpayers' money. This kind of 'poverty' can easily become a way of life, not only for today's 'poor,' but for their children and grandchildren. Even when they have the potential to become productive members of society, the loss of welfare state benefits if they try to do so is an implicit 'tax' on what they would earn that often exceeds the explicit tax on a millionaire. If increasing your income by $10,000 would cause you to lose $15,000 in government benefits, would you do it? In short, the political left's welfare state makes poverty more comfortable, while penalizing attempts to rise out of poverty." --economist Thomas Sowell

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