NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 10, 2005

Post-Katrina critics constantly remind us that those who remained in New Orleans were black and poor; what they forget to tell us is that they were largely women and children, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

Poverty is not a function of race, but of class; and the real question is whether or not we have fought poverty or merely subsidized it, says IBD:

  • Since Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty," more than $7 trillion has been spent on poverty programs; today, there are 80 poverty-related programs that the government spends $500 billion annually on.
  • Before 1960, only 28 percent of black females between the ages of 15 and 44 were never married, and the illegitimacy rate among blacks was 22 percent; today, the rates are 56 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

If racism and discrimination were to vanish, poverty would persist in direct proportion to the number of broken or single-parent families in our society, says IBD:

  • Of all Americans in 2004, only 6.4 percent of those living in married-couple families were below the poverty level; among whites, only 6 percent lived in poverty while 6.9 percent of blacks did.
  • Among whites, 52 percent of children under the age of 5 in fatherless households were in poverty; among blacks it was 58.1 percent.
  • In 2003, 34.6 percent of all American births were to un-married women; African-American women represented 68.2 percent.
  • Only 30-40 percent of black males graduate from high school, and that if they do, they emerge with the reading and math skills of a white seventh- or eighth-grader.

A recovery effort that would make sense, says IBD, is to remove the growing stigma against marriage and give minorities the means to escape failing schools.

Source: Editorial, "Un-Married With Children," Investor's Business Daily, September 30, 2005.


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