Taking a break from the gossip and schmut that has become the fare of local politics, I enjoyed an update from Michael Tanner on the effectiveness of government poverty programs. His latest article, “The War on Poverty Turns 50: Are We Winning Yet?” has some alarming statistics. For example, total annual federal, state, and local spending on poverty programs in 2013 amounted to $21,113 per poor person. Now, we may argue that lots of unpoor people benefit from anti-poverty programs, and if we were to abolish the poor-people programs, we’d drop a lot of bureaucrats into poverty.

Even so, the article is another testament to what you already knew about the Polynesian proverb that goes, “When you help your neighbor’s boat to shore, lo and behold, your boat comes to shore also.” For, when people stay out of trouble and do things the community values, guess what? Anyway, reading in between the lines, one clearly sees that while government programs are canceling out whatever good they may be accomplishing, increases in political and economic liberty lead to prosperity.

The article is a .pdf, and I can’t access a link on this computer, but it is available at cato.org. I recommend going there because this is only a quick spin, as I am doing a more thorough review elsewhere, and I so hate to repeat myself.