What the New Socialists in Congress Need to Know About Poverty

[This article was originally published on December 6, 2018 by The Daily Signal.]

Xavier Underwood – January 12, 2019

In a few short weeks, America will welcome the 116th Congress.

Among the loud and celebrated voices in the new Congress are those who not only accept socialism as a viable option for America, but also those who celebrate their ties to organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America. Incoming Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are members of the Democratic Socialists of America who will caucus with the Democrats.

Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib no longer represent a fringe movement on the left. An August 2018 Gallup poll revealed that over the last two years, capitalism has taken a dive while socialism has soared among 18- to 29-year-olds.

I believe the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gave socialism a countercultural boost among my generation. Millennials suffer under the weight of crushing student loan debt and a deteriorating safety net from employers who will pay them less than their parents earned. It is within this economic context that a system promising to create parity among citizens looks attractive.

The danger with popularizing socialism is that it sounds reasonable, but it never works. It often comes with the best of intentions: to reduce poverty. But there are simply no examples of it working to reduce poverty long term.

Baby boomers are far more skeptical of socialism. They have lived long enough to see attempts at socialism fail, while capitalism has opened doors of opportunity.

Even as we look at America’s own dalliance with socialism, we can see little success. In our 50-year war on poverty, well-intentioned efforts have come up short. After spending well over $20 trillion on the War on Poverty, poverty not only persists. It has become a booming business.

What stockholders would allow a CEO to invest $20 trillion into solving a problem without demanding results? I can think of none.

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