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The Destructive Legacy of the Great Society

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The Destructive Legacy of the Great Society

The Wall Street Journal September 23, 2021
OtherCulture & Society

Government subsidies for antisocial behavior stalled decades worth of black progress.

The Democrats’ $3.5 trillion proposal to expand the U.S. safety net is being described as a make-or-break moment for the Biden presidency. Regarding electoral politics in the short term, that may well be true. But some of us are more concerned about what it could mean for the country beyond the next election or two.

Liberals view a larger welfare state as an unalloyed good, but what’s the track record? Entitlement programs were dramatically expanded in the 1960s in the service of a war on poverty, yet poverty fell at a slower rate after the Great Society initiatives were implemented, and overall dependency on the government for food, shelter and other basic necessities increased. According to Howard Husock, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of a coming book on housing policy, “The Poor Side of Town: And Why We Need It,” the median time a family spends in New York City public housing today is 19 years. And 10% of public housing residents in the city have been there for more than 40 years. Housing intended to help families through a rough patch has become a multigenerational trap for some.

Continue reading the entire piece here at The Wall Street Journal (paywall)

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Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator. Follow him on Twitter here.

Photo by Halfpoint/iStock

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