As readers of this blog know, opinions are fine, but back it up with data. The following was on the editorial page of today’s Wall Street Journal. The facts are what they are.
Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Ron Haskins testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, June 5:
I want to emphasize the importance of individual initiative in reducing poverty and promoting economic success. Young people can virtually assure that they and their families will avoid poverty if they follow three elementary rules for success—complete at least a high school education, work full time, and wait until age 21 and get married before having a baby. Based on an analysis of Census data, people who followed all three of these rules had only a 2% chance of being in poverty and a 72% chance of joining the middle class (defined as above $55,000 in 2010). These numbers were almost precisely reversed for people who violated all three rules, elevating their chance of being poor to 77% and reducing their chance of making the middle class to 4%.
Individual effort and good decisions about the big events in life are more important than government programs. Call it blaming the victim if you like, but decisions made by individuals are paramount in the fight to reduce poverty and increase opportunity in America. The nation’s struggle to expand opportunity will continue to be an uphill battle if young people do not learn to make better decisions about their future.
Now, some on the Left (actually, most on the Left) will argue that Government needs to provide those full-time jobs. But, of course, the Left’s understanding of how to create a full-time job seems quite limited. Full-time jobs are created because the value of the work performed is greater than the cost of the work performed.
Government jobs do not create value. Government jobs are, generally, regulatory/oversight/bureaucratic by design. This doesn’t mean that all government jobs are “bad”, but we long ago passed the point of diminishing returns as it relates to health & safety.
The only entity that creates full-time jobs in which the value created by the job is greater than the cost of performing the job is the private sector.
So, let’s summarize what Delaware’s Government can do…
- Provide educational options so that kids stay in school through high school (which means that Delaware needs more high-performing, niche schools like Kuumba Academy, Newark Charter or DAPSS);
- Reduce the regulatory burden of the State on Small Businesses and quit wasting tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on crony capitalism and leave that money in the pockets of the job creators;
- Promote abstinence and marriage.