(VIDEO) Senator Jim DeMint Speaks Truth to Power on the Daily Show

Jim DeMint
Senator Jim DeMint speaking in Iowa. DeMint image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr

By the Left Coast Rebel

Over at Memeorandum, Think Progress thinks they have a juicy a-ha moment concerning Senator Jim DeMint. DeMint was on Jon Stewart's Daily Show and countered Stewart's argument for the goodness and federal-wonderfulness that is the fed education program Head Start.

Why doth the Think Progress troll protest so much against this:

The problem we have is from the federal level, it’s very hard to do things well. I mean, you don’t find too many federal programs that are working…When we politically manage the programs, the money is not distributed well and there’s no evidence — I mean we spent trillions trying to help poverty in America. But we don’t cure poverty, we subsidize it when we make people dependent on the government and make it harder for them to get up the ladder.
The clincher here -- and the truth -- is that the War on Poverty actually makes it harder for poor and lower-income Americans to move up the economic ladder. It takes away their drive, their spirit and eventually their life-meaning and humanity. How is that liberal? And, how is that compassionate, conservatives republicans?

Here's video of DeMint on the Daily Show:

LBJ's Great Society and "War on Poverty" are anything but over 40 years later. Always be eternally weary of politicians preaching a "war" on anything; as a rule anything the government declares war against -- the "War on Drugs" and the "War on Poverty" being two examples -- actually exacerbate, accelerate and increase the problem they were created to solve. Government is not eloquence; it is forcing of unintended consequences.

For anyone that doubts this assertion, please read this report at the Cato Institute: "Nine Trillion Didn't End Poverty, What to do?"

Pass this along, too, from Dan Mitchell at Cato:

"My argument is simple: in the real world, social welfare programs create a perverse incentive structure and leave out the most important aspect of getting out of poverty which is economic freedom and opportunity."

More at Cato on the failure that is Head Start here and here.

Figures that lib Jon Stewart didn't get the memo that his example of Head Start as the crown jewel of the effectiveness of the Leviathan federal government -- the same government that federal supremacy folks like Stewart think that we (but not them) must all swear allegiance and eternal subservience to -- is an out-and-out failure.

Updated: Even that loathsome Joel Klein agrees with me. I guess even a busted clock is right twice a day:

According to the Head Start Impact Study, which was quite comprehensive, the positive effects of the program were minimal and vanished by the end of first grade. Head Start graduates performed about the same as students of similar income and social status who were not part of the program. These results were so shocking that the HHS team sat on them for several years, according to Russ Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution, who said, "I guess they were trying to rerun the data to see if they could come up with anything positive. They couldn't."

I wish we as tax-paying Americans could rerun the data (and turn back the clock) with our mulit-generational, multi-trillion experiment with the welfare state. If the entitlement-welfare state had never been created, we wouldn't be facing this down and we wouldn't have enslaved and broken the spirit of millions across this nation.

Aside from the mountains of debt created, the human toll is the most tragic unintended consequence of the welfare state.

*Related thought (via RightKlik): The perversion of the implicit marginal tax rate is a cruel trap for lower-income Americans.

Updated x2: Just found this gem at Liberty Unbound, "Hurting the Poor, Helping the Rich."


Statism helps wealthy corporations in many ways — not by giving them tax breaks as the modern liberals complain, but by giving them rentseeking handouts such as farm subsidies and defense contracts. Ending all subsidies and all pork barrel spending would be a huge loss for rich people with political connections, yet the modern liberals have bamboozled the poor into thinking that statism actually helps the poor and hurts the rich. On Wall Street, the SEC’s maze of rules makes legal compliance so difficult that it is virtually impossible for newcomers to compete with the old established investment banks. Established businessmen use taxes and regulations to stifle competition from start-up entrepreneurs and up-and-coming small businessmen who can’t afford to hire compliance lawyers and tax consultants, as their old money rivals can. Yet small business is precisely the engine of opportunity for hard-working ambitious people from poor backgrounds.

Updated again: Dr. Milton Wolf (Barack Obama's second cousin) chimes in with some thoughts.


  1. Great post. It stands on it's own. But it never hurts when you have great tools like Dan Mitchell videos to make the points so crystal clear.

  2. Love jim demint. Also love think progress. When they start screeching about something a Republican said, its usually some of the GOP's best material.

  3. Thanks, Grant. Dan Mitchell has a fabulous way of cutting to the chase on important economic issues. Love the guy...

  4. RK: Agreed! Lately I have found TP (fitting acronym) to be a good place to find material that inspires me. DeMint is a rockstar, IMO.


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