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Jun 2, 201409:47 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

LBJ’s Great Society: the gift that keeps on taking

(page 1 of 2)

Today’s words to the wise: “Secure your weed!”

Successful businesses determine what works and what doesn’t; they quit doing the “what doesn’t.”

What if government did the same thing? Imagine our political leaders saying something’s not working in Milwaukee’s public schools. That’s what Tommy Thompson did, to the enduring enmity of the teachers union and its political party — both champions of the status quo.

Shouldn’t we be applying some cost/benefit analysis to Big Government itself? This year marks the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s Great Society. Lyndon Johnson rode the nation’s grief over the assassination of JFK to double down on his hero FDR’s New Deal. (Three acronyms in one sentence!) An activist government remains the template for most of the establishment culture to the present day, despite the NSA spying, despite the bollixed Veterans Administration, despite the failure of the stimulus (Cash for Clunkers). Obamacare, anyone?

Nicholas Eberstadt assays the burst of Big Gummint in a provocative article in The Weekly Standard, “The Great Society at 50.” The social scientist from the American Enterprise Institute concedes that the Great Society succeeded in two important ways.

Thumbs up — It “finally, and decisively, brought an end to the long, hateful stain of legalized racial discrimination within our nation. And it has all but eliminated the sort of material deprivation that tens of millions of Americans in the early 1960s still suffered.”

In point of fact, what is considered poverty today would have inspired envy 50 years ago. Rare is the “poor” family that does not have a flat-screen television, several iPods and cell phones. But at what price?

Thumbs down —The enduring failure of the Great Society is its enslavement of millions into multi-generational dependency, Eberstadt writes. It “tacitly encourag[ed], and overtly subsidiz[ed] an alternative to financial self-reliance, work, and intact family: the very social basis upon which the American experiment was built.” Upon that deleterious regimen of redistribution, social pathologies feed.

The growth of dependency — Consider that, in 1951, only 3.8% of Americans were receiving public aid. By 2012, one-third (32.3%) of the population lived in a home taking one or more means-tested benefits. “Nearly twice as many Americans above the poverty line as below it were getting antipoverty benefits. Evidently, the American welfare state has been defining deprivation upward,” Eberstadt marvels.

Is there any wonder that food stamp (technically, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) usage is at a record high?

Family breakdown and resultant criminality “From 1965 to 1990, out-of-wedlock births jumped from 7.7 percent of the nationwide total to 28.0 percent. Twenty-two years later (the most recent available data are for the year 2012), America’s overall out-of-wedlock birth ratio had surpassed 40 percent. … One of the many risks children of [what used to be called] “broken homes” confront is a much higher chance of becoming a violent offender in our criminal justice system ….”

The Great Society at 50” is a must-read. And yes, there will be a test. It’s scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Mortal enemies of freedom

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg at Harvard University, May 29, noting the raft of commencement invitations withdrawn from conservative speakers:

In each case, liberals silenced a voice … to individuals they deemed politically objectionable. That is an outrage. … If a university thinks twice before inviting a commencement speaker because of his or her politics, censorship and conformity — the mortal enemies of freedom — win out.

In the 1950s, the right wing was attempting to repress left-wing ideas. Today, on many college campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas, even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species. … A liberal arts education must not be an education in the art of liberalism.

Listen and watch here. As for the self-appointed guardians of the First Amendment? The corporations that speak as if they were a person? The progressive media? Not Peep #1.


Old to new | New to old
Jun 2, 2014 11:34 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Let us never forget what else LBJ did for the minorities and poor during the 1960s. He sent 53,000 of America's youth to their deaths in Vietnam, a war he never intended to win. But LBJ and his cronies did profit from the sale of jet fighters, Bell helicopters, napalm and countless other munitions.

And now 50 years later, we see the Democrat liberal plantation alive and well with millions trapped in poverty, all thanks to LBJ's Great Society.

Jun 2, 2014 02:54 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

A much bigger impact on our day-to-days than LBJ: The fiscal cliff BS of 2013. Thank your Catholic God for a Democratic Senate.

Jun 2, 2014 05:39 pm
 Posted by  Leo

LBJ fought two wars: one he did not intend to win in Vietnam and the war on poverty (which he never could win). And questions remain about his possible complicity in the murder of the man who preceded him in the presidency. He is not a man worthy or respect or admiration. His greatest legacy is the over $7 trillion that has been spent on fighting poverty since he walked out of the office. Maybe if America hadn't thrown all that money away we'd stil have first class space program and wouldn't need to have our astronauts thumb rides into space with the Russians. Some LBJ legacy.

Jun 2, 2014 06:12 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I would like to see the Cap Times step up and offer Paul Ryan and other Republicans free advertising in their rag until this election cycle is over. How quickly would they reply that they could not afford to do that? I guess the "Capital" in Capital Times means they want to charge us for our free speech.

Jun 2, 2014 08:47 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Dry-throated chuckle of the week.....

I will be anonymous no more, Mr. Blaska.
My name is Floyd R. Turbo...American.

Jun 3, 2014 10:32 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

... and promoter of speech codes.

Jun 3, 2014 12:32 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Says Blaska, the schoolyard bully.

Jun 4, 2014 08:41 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

Poor baby.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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