You Subsidize Leftist Anarchy
Fifty years ago as Barack Hussein Obama inhaled the values of his communist parents, grandparents, and mentors, their comrades were drafting plans to destroy American civil society.
Armed with your parents' and grandparents' tax dollars, America-hating extremists Richard Cloward, Frances Fox Piven, and Saul Alinsky were hard at work in the 1960s laying the foundation to wreak havoc on America and its people in an effort to force revolutionary change.
Progressive agitators' quest to obliterate economic freedom was aided by the "War on Poverty," a metaphorical military undertaking against an ineradicable foe. Given its chance of success, it may as well have been the War on Rainbows.
This doomed adventure got underway while Americans were still woozy and shaken, in need of reassurance just seven weeks after an avowed communist named Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy.
In his first State of the Union address on Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson ushered in a half-century of government-incentivized sloth, indolence, dependency, and social decay. He urged Congress to embark on a new belligerency against the condition of not having enough stuff, as arbitrarily determined by vote-grubbing politicians. "Let this session of Congress be known," Johnson proclaimed, "as the session which declared all-out war on human poverty and unemployment in these United States."
The Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) of 1964 became the centerpiece of the new war. It expanded the nation's social safety hammock, turning government resources into war materiel to be used against the American system of constitutionally limited government. Many of the EOA-created programs still exist today, including VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America), now known as AmeriCorps VISTA, Job Corps, and Head Start.
Many more excuses for handouts were created afterward -- so many, in fact, that it is difficult for poor people to pass through the minefield of government assistance unscathed. The federal government now administers 80 different means-tested, largely stigma-free welfare programs. Government blew $916 billion on these programs in 2012 alone, and about 100 million Americans accepted aid from at least one of the programs. Federal and state welfare spending, adjusted for inflation, is now 16 times greater than when this war was declared, according to Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation.
Neo-Marxist ideologue that he is, President Obama is determined to double down on leftist failure, widening the so-called war by calling for the biggest welfare spending increases in American history -- amounting to more than $10 trillion over a decade, according to Rector.
Calls for more welfare spending come after the country has saturation-bombed poor people with welfare over the past 50 years, to the tune of $20.7 trillion in 2011 dollars, far exceeding what the U.S. has spent on every actual, non-figurative war it has fought.
Yet "victory" is nowhere in sight. In 2012, 15 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line, roughly the same percentage as in the mid 1960s. Currently, around 50 million Americans live below the poverty line, which the government defines as a four-member family earning $23,550 annually. And 47 million Americans receive food stamp benefits, 13 million more than when President Obama was first sworn in.
But most Americans are blissfully unaware of the most sinister, subversive component of the Economic Opportunity Act. The War on Poverty gave taxpayers' money to "community" groups in order to encourage them to agitate against the status quo. In a sense, America declared war on itself, and funded leftist groups to do the fighting.
The public underwriting of revolutionary activism came out of the "maximum feasible participation" doctrine, under which more people were encouraged to receive government benefits such as welfare. Its adherents argued that the best way to fight poverty was to expand government subsidies to segments of the population.
Government-funded pressure groups would also involve the poor in taxpayer-funded organizing aimed at changing society by pushing it leftward. The idea had "revolutionary implications" because "it involved a redistribution of power," according to academic Lillian B. Rubin. "The idea of 'maximum feasible participation' has captured the imagination of the urban poor, with the force of an idea whose time has come; it will not die," Rubin wrote in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in September 1969.
Awash in billions of dollars government money, America-hating small-c communists such as Alinsky, Piven, and Cloward went about building the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)'s parent organization, the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), along with a vast armada of tax-supported thug groups to destroy the American society they loathed.
The War on Poverty also gave taxpayers' money to so-called community groups like ACORN and Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation in order to encourage them to agitate against the status quo. Cloward and Piven declared triumphantly in their 1977 book Poor People's Movements that the larger spending programs that were ushered in during the War on Poverty spurred activism and created a new leadership structure in the inner cities. Some of the federal money went directly to local groups as political patronage.
"[G]hetto groups were encouraged by federal policymakers to use these funds to create organizations and to press their own interests, especially in the arena of municipal services and politics," they wrote. This, in turn, stimulated demand for more government spending as taxpayer dollars became a kind of ever-increasing subsidy for pro-big government activism. Tax-eating groups got tax dollars to press for higher taxes.
The federal government still hands out huge grants to left-wing groups to subsidize their efforts to take away our economic freedoms, yet today, amazingly enough, federal funding of leftist groups is barely even controversial.
Groups that are on the fringes of the left get big bucks from Uncle Sam.
For example, a quick search at USAspending.gov reveals that mountains of federal dollars have been obligated to the Latino community organizing outfit National Council of La Raza ($30 million).
Over the years, ACORN received more than $79 million in federal funding, as I reported in my book ACORN/Obama exposé, Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts and Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers. And innumerable lesser-known, small, local leftist groups have sunk their fangs into the public fisc.
Leftist groups routinely feed at the trough of HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development -- which really ought to be named the U.S. Department of Homewrecking and Utopian Development for its social engineering schemes. HUD's fiscal 2014 budget is $32.8 billion. One of HUD's many fraud-prone programs is the $3-billion-a-year CDBG (Community Development Block Grants) program, a scheme from which Alinskyite groups and rent-seeking politicians are particularly adept at extracting funds.
And then there are the federal grants for the almost 50,000 ObamaCare "navigators," who the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says are supposed to "serve as an in-person resource for Americans who want additional assistance in shopping for and enrolling in plans" on the ObamaCare exchanges.
These grants aren't about educating the public. They are examples of graft, pure and simple. Left-wing activists have scooped up more than $67 million in grants nationwide to hire the navigators, a payoff to radical pressure groups that helped win Barack Obama the presidency.
The radicals figured out a long time ago how to have their cake and eat it, too. They advance their objectives, destroy civil society, and send you the bill.
Matthew Vadum (website) is an investigative journalist in Washington, D.C., and author of the ACORN/Obama exposé Subversion Inc. Follow him on Twitter.