Allen B. West

Shocking new US minority: children living in households without federal aid

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I often read stories which claim the U.S. economy is on its way back. However, the Dow Jones is not a true indicator of what’s happening down on Main Street.

Wages for Americans are still depressed and our workforce participation rate remains at a catastrophic almost 36-year low. The ruse of printing money and artificially keeping interest rates low can’t hide the truth forever — we no longer have a free market/free enterprise economy. We are entering the era of a government-driven economy.

And there’s another disconcerting aspect of our economy — the expansion of the welfare nanny-state and the dependency society, which is becoming generationally entrenched.

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As CNS News writes, “The Census Bureau reported in a study released this week that 65 percent of American children lived in households taking aid from one or more federal program as of the fall of 2011. “Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of children,” said the Census Bureau, “lived in households that participated in at least one or more of the following government aid programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Medicaid, and the National School Lunch Program.”

Now, I could be happier if this statistic included kids attending college who were receiving some type of financial aid — but then again, how much debt will they accumulate in an economy where they’re struggling to find a good paying job?

My concern is that the “new normal” seems to be that the temporary safety net is becoming a permanent hammock for subsequent generations. What are we teaching kids who grow up in government housing on government assistance?

And trust me, I lived in the inner city and back in the day, we black kids who lived in single-family homes kinda considered ourselves on a different scale. We watched our parents — notice I said “parents” — head off to work and at the dinner table tell us about what happened at work, while we told them about what happened at school. I remember the pride that swelled in my chest when Mom and Dad purchased their new cars with cash (of course they were old school and bought Lincolns – which actually are cool again).

Now, imagine the impact that had on us as their sons, as well as our extended family who grew up around Buck and Snooks. I grew up in the time of “layaway.” Kids in the inner city today are growing up in the time of “EBT.”

But perhaps most disturbing is the rapid rise of this dependency. As CNS News reports, “In 2003, according to the Census Bureau, there were a total of 72,658,000 children 17 and under in the United States, and 40,337,000 of these children — or 56 percent — lived in households receiving aid from one of more of these programs. That included 30,023,000 children in the National School Lunch Program, 18,175,000 in households on Medicaid, 8,287,000 in households on food stamps, 4,808,000 in households on WIC, and 2,347,000 in households on TANF.

By 2011, there were 74,294,000 children 17 and under and 47,939,000 of these children — or 65 percent — lived in households receiving aid from one or more of these programs. That included 34,959,000 in the National School Lunch Program; 26,350,000 in households on Medicaid; 17,321,000 in households on food stamps; 6,350,000 in households on WIC; and 2,279,000 in households on TANF.”

So what is the ensuing result –and consequence – of having a minority of children living in households that have never taken federal assistance? In the future, they will be among a minority of adults. We will have established a permanent American dependency society – as opposed to that which makes American exceptional, the opportunity society.

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Great Society –the ramifications of which I address in my book Guardian of the Republic. I believe that if we do a hard analysis of the “War on Poverty” and this progressive socialist big government policy response, we’ll see it clearly as an abject failure and one of primary victims — the family.

The statistics show that as marriages dissolve, poverty rises.

CNS News says, “As recently as 1970, according to the Census Bureau, 85.2 percent of American children were living with two parents. Of the 74,294,000 children 17 and under in the United States in the fall of 2011, 50,442,000 — or 68 percent — were living with two parents. However, 3,760,000 of those children were living with two parents who were not married, leaving only 46,682,000 children — or 63 percent — living with two married parents.

“The economic status of children living with cohabitating parents more closely resembled single-parent families,” the study said. After children living with a single parent, they were the most likely to be in poverty. Among children living with one parent, 40.9 percent were in poverty. Among children living with two unmarried parents, 37.3 percent were in poverty. And among children living with a guardian (including a grandparent or another relative), 29.8 percent were in poverty. But among children living with two married parents, only 14.0 percent were in poverty.”

The real conversation needed in America — the one Al Sharpton and the progressive left don’t want to have — heck, they don’t want you to know about — is the cultural issue of the breakdown of the American family, particularly the black American family.

And when I talk about the American family, I mean the traditional family of one man, a dad, and one woman, a mom, not Spouse 1 and Spouse 2. The progressive socialist march towards the redefinition of the American family has meant the decimation of traditional marriage and the horrific consequence will be meted out on the future generations of Americans.

And sadly, this issue has a direct relation to the case of Michael Brown, about which no one is allowed to speak, because it doesn’t fit the narrative.

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