Demons Index......Structures of Sin Index
The claim is made that there is "plenty of opportunity" in the American economy for all to participate (Baumann 5, C. Murray Libertarian). The actual reality, however, seems to be much different. The editors of Sojourner magazine found that from 1990 to 1996, New York City lost 260,000 jobs; the city currently has 300,000 AFDC recipients. Where is the opportunity for these women and their children? The Progressive Policy Institute's report on the causes of the Los Angeles riots notes that the cities are increasingly economic basket cases, and that much of the problem relates to deliberate government policies that actively discourage economic activity in poverty neighborhoods.
Government seems to be unable to understand that there would be fewer poor people if honest work was not a crime in many cases. If microenterprise was encouraged, rather than penalized or criminalized, then there would be fewer poor people because more poor people would be able to work their way out of their situations into better circumstances. The entire thrust of our current social policies seems to be to prepare people on welfare for minimum wage jobs at fast food enterprises. The role of poor people in job creation, the possibilities of cooperative economic endeavors, and the contribution that can be made by the poor themselves seems to be totally lost on modern social planners, of the left and the right.
The fact is, that there are many government policies which actively discourage poor people from working to better their circumstances, and which penalize them when they do attempt microenterprise. This is a scandal of modern life that is rarely discussed when social policy is on the table.
Zoning and Planning