The September 4 guest commentary "Republicans, religious right, ignore what Jesus said," quoted Jesus' beatitudes to make the case for government welfare programs, but they were given as moral obligations for individuals, not a basis for the proper roll of government.
Democrat President Roosevelt correctly stated (1935): "The lessons of history ... show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. The Federal Government must and shall quit this business of relief."
Public charity is unconstitutional for the federal government and both political parties "ignore" that fact. Prior to Roosevelt's hypocritical "New Deal" (relief programs), the Supreme Court had consistently rejected federal welfare programs. In 1936, the Court overruled itself, and re-defined the "general welfare" clause of the Constitution to mean a general grant of power, which destroyed the whole concept of limited government. Ignoring its legal limitations, Congress used this out-of-context interpretation and new power-grab to pass any unconstitutional law it desired for the "general welfare."
James Madison taught: "If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may take into their own hands the education of children. In short, everything from the highest object down to the most minute object of policy would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare."
The only solution to America's poverty is Congress' strict adherence to the Constitution, This would require replacing our ever-increasing multi-trillion dollar (annually) socialist welfare state with an unregulated free market, ceasing all foreign aid to nearly every other country, and policing the world with our military.
President Reagan said, "We fought the [30-year-$5.4 trillion] War on Poverty, and poverty won." What Reagan instinctively knew, Democrat President Bill Clinton finally admitted.
Americans survived near-universal poverty after the Civil War without government "relief" because of the 19th-century free-market system, the American work ethic, self-reliance, self-responsibility, and private charity.