Thomas has written extensively about political issues and he supports, among other things, many American positions related to Israel.
He has written 10 books, including Blinded By Might, that discussed, among other things, the role of the Moral Majority in American politics of the 1980s. Thomas was vice president of the Moral Majority from 1980 to 1985. He is an evangelical Christian.
Cal Thomas’ latest book is “What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America” is available in bookstores now. (c) 2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Money alone is no solution for poverty
In his continuing effort to pit races and classes against each other, Democratic presidential candidate and socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., has said that if you are white, “you don’t know what it’s like to be poor.”
He should drive some of the roads I’ve driven in West Virginia, among other places. Some of the homes of the white poor look like throwbacks from an earlier time.
Sanders attempted to “clarify” his comment during a town hall meeting last Monday night in Detroit. Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked him about his remark, and Sanders replied, “I know about white poverty. There is no candidate in this race who has talked more about poverty than I have.”
Therein lies the problem. The left talks a lot about poverty, but when it comes to programs and ideas to help people climb out of poverty, its only solution is to spend more money.
If money alone were enough to extricate people from poverty and help them sustain themselves with a job and a strong family, then the more than $1 trillion spent on anti-poverty programs since the Great Society was launched by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 would have reduced the number of poor people in America. And yet the poverty rate changes very little. A rational person might conclude that spending more money on programs that have failed to achieve their stated goals is not the right answer.
In April and May of 1964, President Johnson and the first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, toured the Appalachian states. After their visit, he vowed to wipe out poverty. He didn’t, and his successors haven’t, either.
What do I, a now “prosperous” white guy, know about poverty?
In 1965, I was a private first class in the U.S. Army, working at Armed Forces Radio in New York City for the astronomical wage of $99 a month. All of us enlisted men had second jobs to make ends meet. I had no car. I had no savings.
What I did have was incentive. I did not accept my poverty status as the final verdict on a young life. To paraphrase the song, if I couldn’t make it in America, I couldn’t make it anywhere. And so I kept at it until my Army discharge, then I finished college, worked at a civilian media job and persisted until breaks came.
While poverty does not have simple solutions, there are solutions. They begin with relaying stories to the poor about people who used to be in their situation but liberated themselves from a life of want and need by making the right life choices.
Inspiration and hope do not come from government. They come from within. Cal Thomas is a columnist with Tribune Media Services. Reach him at .