2020 and 1972 Part 4: The Price of Failure

In part 4 Newt focuses on the price of failure:

When I reread Theodore White’s Making of the President 1972, the biggest surprise was not political, it was in policy.

To a degree, I wasn’t ready for how White captures the absolute failure of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and the amount of damage it was doing to our cities. It is hard to believe, but by 1972, only seven years after the peak of the Great Society legislative tsunami, White saw clearly that liberal government policies were already destroying the poor and the urban neighborhoods which had before been vibrant.

Not since Marvin Olasky’s The Tragedy of American Compassion had I read such an extraordinarily insightful understanding of why billions and billions in urban investment had failed and were doomed to fail no matter how much money we poured in to the wrong policies. And White was writing 20 years before Olasky, so his perception and insights are even more remarkable.

When you read this analysis, you will understand how big the problem urban America is facing really is. It is deeply entrenched in the wrong ideology and defended by bureaucracies of failure.

Since the passage of the Great Society, the federal government has spent $27.8 trillion dollars (2016 dollars) on the War on Poverty. By contrast, all of America’s wars have cost $8 trillion and World War II, our biggest war, cost $4.3 trillion.

So, for three and a half times the cost of all our wars – or six and a half times the cost of World War II — what has the federal government accomplished? As a share of GDP, means-tested welfare and aid to the poor was 1.11 percent in the 1950s, 1.68 percent in the 1960s, and since then it has blossomed to 5.91 percent. Measured by violence in poor neighborhoods, absence of local jobs in poor communities, and collapsing educational achievement in schools in poor communities, the War on Poverty has been an expensive failure that has made things worse.

Read more: Gingrich360

Image credit: American Thinker.