In response to Tony Smith's submission "Pundit attacks efficient programs" in regards to the RedBlueAmerica series, Mr. Smith needs a refresher on history.
Social Security was created in 1935. However he states that Medicare and Medicaid were part of that package. They were not. President Truman first proposed Medicare in 1945. Medicare, and its companion Medicaid never were signed into law until 1965. The first appropriation for the war on poverty was $1 billion. Keep that number in mind.
Smith refers to an obscure writing by ancient Greek novelist and biographer Plutarch. Relating to "the imbalance between the rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all Republics". It looks like the war on poverty (and class warfare) even existed back in those times. Looking back at the Greek aristocracy and Roman Empire the demise of those civilizations was a large part caused by social engineering based on class warfare. It is said history repeats itself when people forget.
Moving to LBJ's "Great Society" and "War on Poverty" in 1965, the $1 billion appropriation included job training. Empower people to think for themselves and take responsibility for their achievements while getting some basic assistance. But like all government programs, it always cost more and never solves anything. In fact, I would argue that the federal government's "war on poverty" is a complete failure.
Starting at a $1 billion appropriation in 1965, to over $700 billion in 2011, government has made poverty an institution. The "poor" are "given" cell phones with 250 minutes a month. What? In 1965 how many poor had a TV, car, cable, Internet, A/C? Few. Because welfare assistance was not expected to provide a way of life. Just a bridge to self improvement.
In 200 years America went from horse-drawn plows to rockets. Why? Because for most of our history people were unhindered by ridiculous and manipulative government regulations and taxation. Redistribution of wealth was earned, not handed out.
We don't need failed government programs dragging us down any more. Social welfare programs were the demise of the Great Roman and Greek empires. European style socialism and class warfare are incompatible with capitalism. Europe is crashing as we speak by the same failures being perpetuated on Americans. Throughout history there has always been beggars and wealth and class envy. Life goes on.