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'Poor No More:' a Blueprint for Dismantling the 'Welfare Industrial Complex'

Has America lost the "War on Poverty?" Since 1964, the federal government has spent over $19 trillion on welfare programs, and all that money has barely made a dent in the poverty rate (from 17 percent in 1965 to 14.5 percent in 2014). One industrious entrepreneur has a platform to turn that all around however.

America must "move from a country that encourages dependence to a country that encourages work," Peter Cove, founder of America Works and author of Poor No More: Rethinking Dependency and the War on Poverty, told PJ Media in an interview. "We will solve poverty with work—a job for all who are able."

Cove started working against poverty in the late 1960s, inspired by President Lyndon Johnson's welfare initiatives. But he personally experienced the painful subversion of poverty programs by political activists, who turned Johnson's programs into a "Welfare-Industrial Complex," not unlike the much-maligned "Military-Industrial Complex."

"The Civil Rights movement had pretty much run its course by the mid-60s," Cove told PJ Media. "It had won and achieved remarkable success. And the organizations which had run civil disobedience in the communities were sitting there without anything to do. At the same time, money was flowing out of Washington toward the 'War on Poverty.'"

It was a match made in heaven — or more accurately, in the Democratic party. The Civil Rights activists began to run the anti-poverty programs, and that subverted the entire enterprise, the America Works founder explained. "They really weren't there honestly to fight poverty and they didn't really know how to fight poverty — but they were there to run organizations. They got in bed with politicians, who send them more money."

Cove recalled a harrowing story about a woman who served in the New York State Assembly. After seeing Cove's organization — America Works — in action, the assemblywoman admitted, "It's the best welfare-to-work program I've seen." But when the founder asked if she'd support it, she said no.

"There's a welfare-to-work program down the street from my campaign office," the assemblywoman frankly admitted. "They're not as big as you and they're not as good as you, but on Election Day, they bring out the votes."

Perhaps not surprisingly, this collusion between government and ineffective anti-poverty programs infests the Democratic Party and the Left, the America Works founder said. "It keeps bureaucrats in place, it keeps poverty workers in place." Cove admitted that Democrats "won't say that, and they probably don't even believe that, but that's how they behave — you get a continuation of programs that don't work."

Cove presented a radical but inspiring plan to undercut this Welfare-Industrial Complex and put America back to work. "Simply, I propose that we eliminate all welfare programs except those geared toward people who truly cannot work due to physical or mental programs," he said. "Second, we scuttle all poverty programs, including everything from Head Start to Food Stamps."