Jump to content

The Democratic Party's War on the Poor


Recommended Posts

American Thinker:

It was a proud day in Medellín, Colombia. Mayor Alonso Salazar smiled as he announced the city's latest accomplishment, and a sycophantic press reported his happy message verbatim.

The 12,000 desperately poor people of Medellín's Comuna 13, a shantytown set high atop a steep hill, had spent generations climbing up and down some 530 mountainside stairs to reach their homes. It has always been a 35-minute walk, each way, a challenge for even the healthiest among them. But it is no longer.

What did the city do to alleviate the pain of its most destitute? The city of Medellín, long known as the home of one of the world's most notorious drug cartels, built the people of Comuna 13 six sets of escalators. One column up, one down, both outdoors, both designed to carry the poorest of Medellín's poor back up to their miserable hovels...at a cost to the taxpayer of some USD 6.7 million.

Yes, you read it right: two sets of escalators, uncovered, up and down the side of a hill, to and from a ghetto. That's 1,260 feet of escalator, each way, outdoors, at a time of year in which thunderstorms are predicted for every one of the first ten days of its operation (plans to enclose it are under consideration, but if they don't move fast, perhaps they may as well save themselves the bother).

Now, why do we turn to a foreign country for an example of the critical failing of the American Democratic Party? Because the way American conservatives and liberals react to this story of misguided social programs is the American economic debate in a microcosm.

Giving an A for Effort

The modern American liberal looks to the effort of the do-gooder and cheers. You see people in pain, anguished and weakened by a lifetime of climbing that mountain -- down to shop or work, back up to sleep, day after day, year after year -- and you want to help. So you build them an escalator.

The new escalator will soften the poverty a bit. It won't cure it, of course, because such poverty cannot be cured. In the zero-sum world of the American left, the poor remain poor, the middle class remain middle-class, and the wealthy remain wealthy. So the goal must be to take some of the money from the latter two groups to allay the pain of the poor. This is what government is for, after all.

If the rain shorts out the electricity so one, then two, then three of these escalators cease to work, that's okay; you can't help the weather. If the idea of enclosing it later instead of beforehand to protect it from the elements in a region of heat and rain and mudslides didn't seem odd to anyone, that's okay; it hasn't been done before, so it's okay that there were some bugs left to work out. And if the people stay poor, that's okay; they were going to stay poor anyway. At least now they're poor people who don't have aching feet and backs from a 28-story climb.

To the liberal, this story is a success, a feel-good tale to reassure the reader of the basic goodness of government.snip
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • 1695494675
  • Create New...