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Can U.S. President's "War on Poverty" SUCCEED?

Poverty is a WORLD-WIDE issue.
Can it be legislated out of existence? — solved with public funds?
Here's the sobering TRUTH of a problem facing NINE-TENTHS of this earth's population!


WHAT is the real ANSWER to the grinding poverty facing millions of Americans? What about the hundreds of millions who are even worse off in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America? Is there no solution to their miserable existence?


Poverty a WORLD-WIDE Problem!

In America, a strange paradox exists. While we are the most affluent nation in the history of the world, yet fully twenty per cent of American citizens are classified as living below minimum economic standards.

The problem in the Appalachian Region alone is so severe that FOUR BILLION dollars are being earmarked over the next five years to try to lift the beleaguered ten-state area out of its economic doldrums.

Mayor Robert Wagner, of New York City, recently declared that a total war on poverty in America would require twenty years and two hundred fifty-five BILLION dollars. A truly staggering sum!


Yet American Affluence Is Widespread

The four-fifths of Americans who are prospering, however, have never had it so good. Incomes are at a record level. The Gross National Products is clipping along at an all-time high.

The new "good life" allows plenty of time for leisure activities. It seems we can't build sports stadiums fast enough. Private boat marinas dot our seacoasts and inland lakes. Camping is a big business. The less energetic just watch their TV sets — which will soon be able to receive eighty-two more channels.

American young people, especially, are expecting a higher and higher standard of living as a "right." A common complaint of children is: "Why can't we have two cars?" A three-car family is no longer unusual.


Developing Nations Demand a Share in Prosperity

Not only among the poor in America is there a demand to share in the "affluent society." But among the newer and smaller nations of the world. Some of the new "developing" countries are attempting to make the leap from savagery to prosperity in one or two generations — a Herculean task.

A new "Third Force" bloc of underprivileged nations from Africa, Asia and Latin America has been the most salient feature of the one-hundred-nineteen-nation Development Conference held recently in Geneva. The seventy-five nations banded together to push for a speed-up of their economic emancipation. They have created a united front in defense of the claims of the "underprivileged."

The bloc has served notice it means business and wants to push for the reorganization of world trade and an end to the division of the world into areas of poverty on the one hand, and prosperity on the other!

United Press International reports that these developing nations warn "that they will NOT TOLERATE the existing gulf in living standards indefinitely!" (Emphasis ours)

It seems these "developing" nations — along with the Socialists, Communists and others — fail utterly to recognize the REASON for poverty.

There is a cause for every effect. There is a cause or REASON why people and nations are poor. We need to learn what that reason is!


Why Communism and Socialism FAIL

The early Communist idealists in Russia and the Socialist planners in Britain, India and elsewhere attempted — in varying degrees — to solve the problem of poverty by limiting Capitalism and personal initiative. They engaged in massive government controls, handouts and aid, and "redistributed the wealth" through these means coupled with progressive income taxes and other governmental devices.

Yet, in the Soviet, the gigantic experiment of Communism has FAILED!

Even realistic Communist leaders are beginning to admit this sobering truth. To retain power, Red leaders — in nation after nation — are being forced to alter the Communist system to adapt to reality.

The Associated Press recently reported that Premier Nikita Khruschev has recommended bringing into the Soviet economy "all progressive things which have been done in Capitalistic countries." "There is nothing shameful in this," the Premier added.

"He again said farm workers must be given an INCENTIVE to produce,"

Associated Press reported. (Emphasis ours) "We must," he said, "find a method of paying for labor which could encourage growth of production."

On April 20, 1964, the U.S. News and World Report magazine stated: "Communists now realize their system will not work. To retain power, they are trying to change the system. There is a visible trend toward decentralization of economic power and the adoption of Capitalist-style INCENTIVES. . .

"What the Communists waste most is not raw materials or even time, but human initiative and inventiveness. Under their system, the horizons of freedom are simply not wide enough, the

INCENTIVES not big enough, the REWARDS not large enough to call forth the best efforts of men and women. . ." (Emphasis ours)

Notice that people need initiative, freedom and INCENTIVE to produce goods.

Although the "government dole" system may temporarily alleviate the surface symptoms of poverty — it can NEVER get at and alleviate the real CAUSE.


Where Wealth Comes From

For all wealth comes out of the ground. It is the result of man's diligence and wisdom in cultivating, using and distributing what comes out of God's earth!

The very food we eat comes out of the ground. Yet man's knowledge and effort is required to produce it. The lumber we use to build our houses and factories, our tables and the very chairs we sit on — this too comes from the ground and must be intelligently extracted by man's effort. The gold, silver, iron, copper, tin and aluminum must all be extracted from the ground by man's intelligence and effort.

The processing and manufacturing of these and many other basic elements into finished products is not something that just "happens." It is something that requires man's initiative, intelligence and EFFORT.

In plain language, it requires physical and mental WORK!

This factor is tremendously important to understand when considering the world-wide problem of poverty. For the prosperity that these "developing" nations suddenly DEMAND is something that must be worked for and PRODUCED!

Conversely, the LACK of mental and physical effort and production actually produces POVERTY!


Poverty Results From BROKEN LAW

Poverty is the result of broken law. It is the result of physical and spiritual SIN! "For sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4).

Nearly every account of the reasons for poverty in America shows that SIN — MISMANAGEMENT, LAZINESS, VANITY and STUBBORNNESS — IS very deeply involved.

A continuing phenomenon in the poverty cycle is that of the broken home. Nearly half of all families headed by a woman are poor. Sickness is a constant factor in the poverty cycle — involving, as it does, broken health laws.

Drinking, dope, prostitution and criminality are often basic contributing factors as well as continuing effects in the vicious cycle of poverty.

The stubbornness of many individuals and families in failing to change their occupation or geographical location is a primary factor in many poverty situations. Also, the stubborn refusal to acquire a proper education has played a tremendous part in the poverty of many.

And, very frankly, just plain LAZINESS exists in more millions of cases than the idealists and social planners like to admit! Often, this very laziness has been or is being encouraged by various types of government "doles" which stifle initiative and the desire to be employed.

Of course, and let me make this VERY PLAIN, the above-mentioned factors are not always the "fault" of those who are presently suffering from the effects of poverty! The real blame may rest on parents and grandparents, older brothers and sisters, husbands, or — admittedly in many cases — those outsiders who, through covetousness, WITHHOLD a fair opportunity for help, education and opportunity.

But whether committed by the poor individual or by others, all of the above factors are the result of SIN. There is no mistaking that!

Broken homes and fatherless children are the result of sin. Drunkenness, dope addiction and criminality are SIN. They involve breaking God's law.

The unfair discrimination against Negroes and those of other minority groups is certainly SIN.

When you understand the principles of God such as Jesus' instruction to become perfect even as your Heavenly Father (Matt. 5:48), then you can grasp the fact that even the laziness or stubbornness involved in one's failure to get a proper education is sin. Yes, we recognize that some are prevented from gaining a proper education because of wretched family situations, racial discrimination and other causes.

But remember that these causes are in themselves the result of SIN.

There is no getting around it! Poverty is the result of broken LAW — the result of sin.

Who, then, can forgive this sin?

Can President Johnson and the social planners in America? Can the Socialists in England? Can the Communists in Asia and Africa?

The answer, of course, to the above questions is that GOD forgives sin.

Quit BREAKING the Laws!

But He only does so after we REPENT and quit breaking the law!

The desire of President Johnson and other benevolent leaders to help the poor is a good thing. And certain GOOD will result from it!

But — if we are to face the facts — we must realize that it will do only a LIMITED amount of good for a very LIMITED amount of time.

Robert M. Hutchins, noted educator and columnist, recently made this comment on President Johnson's "Poverty Program": "Whatever the value of the war on poverty as a means of drawing public attention to a grave issue, as an actual war it is a HOAX so far. No less than FIFTEEN TIMES the proposed initial expenditures would have to be laid out annually to make a dent in the situation.

"The Appalachian venture in its present form is a HOAX. Eighty-eight per cent of the money to be spent on it would go to highways. These might help the people leave Appalachia for the urban slums. Highway construction will not bring work, to say nothing of prosperity, to Appalachia." (Emphasis ours)

Mr. Hutchins, we might add, is not alone in his views. Most economists realize that a fantastic amount of money would have to be doled out to really "solve" the poverty situation even in the wealthiest land that has ever existed! Such a "solution" would soon leave the entire nation bankrupt and helpless!

Clearly, the way to solve the poverty problem is to get at the CAUSE — not merely to soothe the surface symptoms of the disease.

And that cause involves the broken laws of marriage, health, personal diligence and responsibility to God and fellow man.