Saturday, May 27, 2006

LBJ on Ford

You'll have to read it yourself.


Tom said...


Grant Jones said...

I guess it's hard to follow-up on LBJ's Great Society distruction of millions of lives now into their third generation of welfare dependence.

Bill L. said...


Jeff said...

LBJ created america's poor? While the GS did not live up to its rhetoric and may not have delivered services in an efficient manner (there were a lot of problems with the GS), it definitely did not "destroy millions of lives." We can critique the GS but let's be real.

Grant Jones said...

I didn't say LBJ "created America's poor," he just made many of them dependent on government handouts. Some of the results of this can be observed in the psychology of New Orlean's underclass.

Jeff said...

Mr. Jones,

The poverty you see didn't begin with LBJ and the WOP. I think we would all like to think that the sort of gut-wrenching poverty we see in many parts of our nation had a simple identifiable cause--but it doesen't. Blaming the GS for black poverty in the South makes little sense. Black poverty in the South was worse before the 1960s (in just raw numbers) so why does the GS get the blame for a phenomenon that was less of a problem than before its inception?

Grant Jones said...

Facts are stubborn things, blacks had been moving into the middle-class at a faster rate before the GS than after it.

The best way to get out of poverty is to produce goods and/or services on the market that are in demand. Sitting at home collecting food stamps has no future. Prosperity is achieve by production not government spending.

The poverty I see is largely the result of people who refuse to take responsibility for their own lives.

"But the poverty rate among blacks fell by half between 1940 and 1960, before any of the major federal civil rights legislation or the vast expansion of the welfare state under President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs. Between 1940 and 1960, black males' number of years of schooling doubled.

The psychological mechanism of welfare dependency has nothing to do with race or discrimination. As Theodore Dalrymple has vividly describe the same mentality in the British underclass of welfare recipients.

"In his new book, "Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass," Dalrymple describes the world of the underclass as one wracked with crime, senseless violence, drug abuse, illegitimacy, nihilism and a total -- sometimes scary -- refusal to accept even a shred of responsibility of one's actions. He argues these are simply byproducts of a system of "subsidized apathy" in which there is nothing to hope for, nothing to fear, nothing to gain and nothing to lose."

Jeff said...

Before the GS there was the New Deal, the FEPC, the GI Bill, and post-war economic expansion--all of these factors help to explain the expansion of the black middle class. To say all poor people are lazy (or fail to take responsibility for their lives) is just plain incorrect.

If you want to really understand poverty, I suggest that you read a tad more widely than I worked at housing project back in the mid-1990s and taught in inner-city urban core schools and the reality is so much more complicated than what conservative (or liberal) ideologues want to admit.

Grant Jones said...


You are being presumptuous. I grew up in the slums of Los Angeles. I do not need to read a book, or be a tourist, in order to understand poverty.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but most people in America today who are in poverty are their own worst enemies.

No, I don't have much sympathy for able bodied adults who refuse to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and take responsibility for their lives. Nor do I acknowledge the right of politicians to pick my pocket in order to make their feckless existence possible.

You also seem to think "poverty" in the US is limited to blacks. It's not, of course. There are more whites on welfare than blacks. But, they "refuse" to do the work done by illegal aliens. Why should they, when the can sponge of the productive members of society.

dcat said...

From 1960 to 1970 the poverty rate was cut in half. The idea that blacks were moving into the middle classes at a faster rate before the GS than after it is a simple reflection of mathematics -- rising from virtually zero is going to mean that of course in the early years of advancement, brought largely by the advances of the Civil Rights Movement, of course the rate of advancement into the middle class would be higher than it is now. Of course the rates have slowed. Furthermore, why isolate blacks in these assertions -- what segment of the population did not see increases in standards of living from 1940 to 1960? What group in American society did not see increases in education? And what does any of this have to do with the Great Society? This slapdash assertion of data has the taint of ideological preening and not intellectual seriousness.

The idea that the Great Society led to "destruction of millions of lives" is absurd.

these broad and useless generalizations about "the poor" do not get us very far. All data indicates that the vast majority of people on welfare stay for relatively short periods -- that the intractable cases are not the norm, even if rhetorically they are an easy whipping boy and thus become normative.

But the assertion that poverty is the fault of the poor is inane. Poor children do not choose to be poor. meanwhile, I still see neither causality nore correlation between the poor and the Great Society given the amount of poverty reduction that occurred as the result of LBJ's policies.