Have you ever had a conversation with someone that went something like this:
“We need this program because it will help the poor. How can you be against this? Do you hate the poor? Don’t you care about anyone other than the rich? “
When I find myself in such a situation I can confidently respond that I am conservative because I care about the poor, and that conservative policies help the poor far more than liberal policies. Below I have given a few of the conservative policies that help the poor.
I want the poor to be better off, and that is why I encourage and support traditional families.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau “Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families.” (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2011, Table C8. Washington D.C.: 2011.)
Children of fatherless households have far higher incarceration rates. “Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds.” (Source: Source: Harper, Cynthia C. and Sara S. McLanahan. “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration.” Journal of Research on Adolescence 14 (September 2004): 369-397.)
“A study using data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study revealed that in many cases the absence of a biological father contributes to increased risk of child maltreatment. The results suggest that Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies have some justification in viewing the presence of a social father as increasing children’s risk of abuse and neglect. It is believed that in families with a non-biological (social) father figure, there is a higher risk of abuse and neglect to children, despite the social father living in the household or only dating the mother.” (Source: “CPS Involvement in Families with Social Fathers.” Fragile Families Research Brief No.46. Princeton, NJ and New York, NY: Bendheim-Thomas Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and Social Indicators Survey Center, 2010.)
- 63 percent of suicides nationwide are individuals from single-parent families.
- 75 percent of children in chemical dependency hospitals are from single-parent families.
- Children that are raised with both parents in the home are far more likely to succeed socially and economically.
I want to help the poor move up the ladder, and that is why I care about welfare reform.
Benjamin Franklin said “I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
A great example of this principle in action is the Doe Foundation. The Doe Foundation has a 9 to 12 month program that takes ex cons, homeless people, and addicts, and puts them to work immediately while training helping them turn their life around and teaching them the skills necessary to be successful in life. When a person joins the program they immediately have to drop all forms of welfare and they begin to work for themselves. The foundation puts these people to work for 30 hours per week making around 8-10 dollars per hour. They provide meals, housing, vocational training, counseling and twice a week drug tests. THIS LINK is to the Doe Fund website and talks about how their program works. Here is a speech from one of the founders of the program explaining what their goals are and how successful the program has been for the past 30 years. It is well worth the 10 minutes to listen to.
If you truly want to help a person, then going through all the red tape and corruption of a large government bureaucracy is not the way to help them. The more personal and local the interaction is the better it will be.
Let’s use an example of a person on the street that is in need of money. I decide that I want to give him $100. I have two options. 1) I can walk up to him and give him $100 in cash. 2) I can give the $100 to the government and they will then tax me on the money I gave. They will use $20 of the money to pay for the building and operating costs. $5 goes to grease the hands of local politicians. $10 goes to grease the hands of Washington D.C. politicians. $15 goes to advertising and media telling how great their program is. That leaves $45 for the poor person, if they are lucky.
I care about the poor, so I support capitalism.
Capitalism has done more to bring people out of poverty than any other system in the history of the world. You can read about the good capitalism has done in just the past 20 years here, here, here and here.
I care about the poor, so I support school choice so they can choose where to send their children to school.
“A recent infographic published by Reason magazine online in honor of School Choice Week says it all in five fast facts:
— Charter schools are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional (government-run) public schools;
— In general, charter schools are producing better educational outcomes for less money;
— Charter schools are much more diverse, ethnically, than public schools (and you know, liberals and Democrats are all about diversity, right?);
— Minorities perform much better in charter schools than in public schools (which makes one of Obama’s first official acts during his first term in office – the elimination of a very popular charter school program in Washington, D.C., which was benefitting mostly minority kids – excruciatingly hypocritical); and
— Fully 91 percent of K-12 students in New Orleans attend charter schools, compared to 44 percent in D.C. (many of these are elitist schools for the anointed and empowered D.C. elite), 55 percent in Detroit, and 21 percent in Los Angeles.”
Next time someone accuses you of hating the poor because you are a conservative hopefully you will be able to share your own reasons about how your conservatism helps you care about the poor.