Michael Bloomberg Channels the Big-Government Failures of LBJ

The billionaire 2020 Dem candidate insists he wants to commit 'our country to new and innovative ways to combat poverty — there has to be a war on poverty'

By David Kamioner | December 12, 2019

Billionaire 2020 Democrat presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to declare “a war on poverty” during a campaign trip to Stockton, California, on Wednesday.

“As president, my job will be to move all Americans ahead, and that includes committing our country to new and innovative ways to combat poverty. There has to be a war on poverty,” said the exceedingly upscale Democrat at the event, his first trip as a candidate to California.

Bloomberg may want to check his history books.

Dem President Lyndon Johnson made the same pledge more than 50 years ago — and the result was disastrous.

Multigenerational government dependency, the gutting of entire urban neighborhoods and cities, and the virtual destruction of the minority family unit due to the government’s welfare policies were just some of the consequences of statist income redistribution programs that attempted to replace individual initiative and work ethic with a government check.

But, not being a political party that has ever learned from history, the Dems are back at it again — through this initiative and through party leaders’ open embrace of socialism as a viable economic policy.

Bloomberg, seen by some as a relative moderate in the Democrat field of candidates for the White House, is likely regurgitating this failed mantra as a sop to the hard-Left of the party.

Many of them who have been, and still are, employed by the public assistance industry will like his inference of a great expansion of government programs that will bring their offices greater funding and more staff.

However, in a fact Bloomberg no doubt knows from his entrepreneurial background, giving money to government programs works in an opposite fashion from private investment.

When a private firm does a very bad job at whatever its goals are, it will lose money and staff.

But in a given year, if a government office has 10,000 people in a county on public assistance — assuming the goal is to move them to solvency — and the next year that number has jumped to 20,000, the government office will receive more funding and staff to combat the greater problem it has been unsuccessful in combating in the first place.

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Thus, there is a negative incentive for government income redistribution programs to help people get off welfare and a positive bureaucratic consequence for that office if more people become dependent on the government for basic sustenance.

Not to mention that there is a desired political consequence for Democrats with voters who rely on those programs. In “On Liberty” in 1859, J.S. Mill, the British philosopher and economist, opined that no one should be allowed to vote if he or she is receiving unearned government payments because it is an inherent conflict of interest.

Mill theorized that people would be voting for their own direct economic gain, not the interests of their community or the nation as a whole.

While Mill’s counsel may be too radical for this day and age, a Democratic billionaire trying to offset his wealthy image by proposing to take hard-earned taxpayer money and putting it toward programs that have proven miserable failures is not something Mill might have envisioned.

It is another peculiar aspect of our time — and the renewed leftward advance of the Democratic Party.

This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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