NZ’s War on Poverty Worse Failure Than LBJ’s

What Have You Done?
Last week we marked the utter failure of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.  Nearly fifty years on  poverty is worse in the United States than when the “war” began.  

Lest some get the impression that this blogsite is anti-American, and since the War on Poverty is on our minds, it’s worthwhile reflecting on how New Zealand’s own little War on Poverty has been going.  It’s been as ineffectual, wasteful, and useless–if not worse–than LBJ’s now infamous War.

Bob McCroskrie has kindly filled in the New Zealand scorecard:

The current focus by the Prime Minister and other politicians and lobby groups on tackling child “poverty” is warranted, but “focus” and “targets” will simply be hot air and rhetoric until the elephant in the room is acknowledged – that is, the role of family structure.

Family malformation and breakdown is contributing significantly to increasing income inequality and child poverty, and must be confronted before we will see any significant improvements.
NZ’s rapidly changing family structure has contributed significantly to increasing income inequality.

Our 2016 report, entitled “Child Poverty & Family Structure: What is the evidence telling us?” examined household incomes and family structure from the early 1960s through to current day, and found that while unemployment, low wages, high housing costs and insufficient social security benefits are consistently blamed for child poverty, a major culprit – if not the major culprit – is family malformation and family breakdown.  [Bob McCroskrie’s Blog]

Should the State be blamed for this?  Of course.  The State has been fighting more wars than the War on Poverty.  It has also set itself up as the Social Justice Warrior and has waged war for nearly fifty years against what we used to call the nuclear family, by which we politely meant the Christian, or Judeo-Christian family.  You know, that ancient, out-of-date, anachronism of one man, married to one woman (for the term of their joint natural lives) along with the children God was pleased to grant them to nurture and raise.

Social Justice Warrior (aka the State) determined that this was ludicrously out of date.  Instead, there should be no-fault divorces.  In other words, if a married couple wanted to end the marriage, no problem.  The State would help divide up the children (usually going to the mother) and the man would be left free to roam at will looking for another “wife”.  The State would also provide a welfare payment for the deserted/separated wife.  The wife was also free to “roam”: however she was much less attractive since she carried the “baggage” of children.

Then the State decided that Social Justice must also be applied to other “living arrangements” such as pregnancy out of wedlock, male and female living together, and couples living together in homosexual relationships.  They were all to be treated as equal to wedlock and marriage.  It comes as an utter surprise to Social Justice Warrior that if the State is prepared to fund any other kind of living arrangement the incidence of such arrangements increases faster than flies on a rotting rat.

The inevitable result has been a rapid rise in children being “raised” in single parent, or single adult homes.  And then, as the adults move, blend, hook-up, and break-up, the children are dragged from one hellish dwelling to another.

Doubtless that is why the State does not want to talk about single parent, out-of-wedlock, living arrangements being highly correlated with child poverty.  To do so would raise questions about the States relentless support and promotion of “alternative lifestyles”–that is, living arrangements that are not marriages.

The correlation between family structure and child poverty is significantly stronger than the correlation between child poverty and other factors such as unemployment, high housing costs and low wages or benefits.  For example, despite families being much smaller, parents being older, and mothers being better educated and having much higher employment rates, child poverty has risen significantly since the 1960s.

In 1961, 95 per cent of children were born to married couples; by 2015 the proportion had fallen to 53 per cent. For Maori, 72 per cent of births were to married parents in 1968; by 2015 the proportion had fallen to just 21 per cent.  Single-parent families make up 28 per cent of all families with dependent children. Yet 51 per cent of children in poverty live in single-parent families. And single parents have the lowest home-ownership rates and the highest debt ratios.

The decimation of marriage and the resulting consignment of children to far-less-stable sole-parents has been staggering in New Zealand.  The Social Justice Warrior State has conducted a war on Marriage and Family and has been remarkably successful, which is to say the State has ripped our New Zealand society apart.  Well done!

But this isn’t just about single parents and the unique challenges and stresses that it brings.  In 2015, 27 per cent of registered births were to cohabiting parents. But by the time the child is aged 5, the risk of parental separation is four to six times greater than for married parents.  Despite marriage being one of the best protectors against child poverty, it has become politically unfashionable – some argue insensitive – to express such a view, but reducing child poverty rates will require encompassing analysis and debate.

Based on the evidence, New Zealand’s rapidly changing family structure – including the declining marriage rate and the high solo parent rate (especially amongst Maori, who also have a disproportionately high teen pregnancy rate) – has contributed significantly to increasing income inequality.  It’s time to talk about family structure, about marriage, about family breakdown – and the links they have to some of our negative social statistics that we must address.  . . . Until we face some of these inconvenient facts, we won’t solve the problem.

Our belief is that the genie will not go back into the bottle.  It is not a tame genie.  Our responsibility at this time, therefore, is to prophesy to the nation, and in particular, the Social Justice Warrior State, crying “Look at what you have done!” 

In the eighteenth century England was at risk of descending into a lawless paganism as it rejected the Reformation.  We are where England was back then.  But it did not foresee, nor count upon, the Great Awakening which effectively grafted England back into its spiritual, Christian tap roots.

Let us pray God that He would grant a similar Great Awakening in our generation.  Pray that God would raise up latter day Whitefields, Wesleys, Muellers, and the whole host of warriors to enter into spiritual warfare against our Social Justice Warrior State.  Let us pray God that He would deliver our people living in ignominious spiritual and socio-economic slavery.
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