Nothing Makes The People Poor Like The Government

Ronald Reagan once joked that the nine most terrifying words in the English language were, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” John Stossel makes that point in this column noting that the government has done everything but help the country’s Indian population.

The U.S. government has “helped” no group more than it has “helped” the American Indians. It stuns me when President Obama appears before Indian groups and says things like, “Few have been ignored by Washington for as long as Native Americans.”

Ignored? Are you kidding me? They should be so lucky. The government has made most Indian tribes wards of the state. Government manages their land, provides their health care, and pays for housing and child care. Twenty different departments and agencies have special “native American” programs. The result? Indians have the highest poverty rate, nearly 25 percent, and the lowest life expectancy of any group in America. Sixty-six percent are born to single mothers.

Nevertheless, Indian activists want more government “help.”

Stossel ought to be careful. Writing stuff like this can get you banished from the reservations.

But Stossel is right. The absence of property rights on the reservations, the government control of pretty much everything, has done nothing but hurt a once proud people. Not only is our government guilty of attacking these people, driving them from their land and betraying our treaties with them, but now we’re guilty of exacerbating those past wrongs under the guise of “helping them” with big government.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • WOOF

    When armed government agents throw you out of your home and march you carrying all you posses to the middle of nowhere, then tell us how the gov’t impoverished you.

    • flamemeister

      “Nothing makes the people poor like the government.” You appear to agree. First you crush the spirit, then you bribe your own conscience by giving demoralizing “assistance” to those you’ve screwed. Government destroys both body and soul or else it feels its job is incomplete.

    • bike bubba

      Sounds a lot like the IRS, except that the IRS won’t even let you keep your stuff.

    • yy4u2

      Is that a quote from Chavez or one of the Castros?

  • Kevin Flanagan

    After what the ND insurance commissioner did a couple of years ago to force BCBS to refund any “excess” reserves I found out I can’t afford any government “help.”

  • Jfisher17

    Woof – ‘When armed government agents throw you out of your house and march you carrying all you possess to the middle of nowwhere, then tell us how the government impoverished you.” But Woof, the government is always good, right? It was simply “redistributing” the tribes to other areas, which is good to you guys, isn’t it? And, let’s see, what other “group” in history had armed government agents take them out of their homes and put them in the middle of nowhere, as you put it? Remember the Jews during WW2? Sure you do. What kind of poverty, life expectancy and single mother families do the Jewish people have? Gee, maybe some people help themselves out of adversity better than others, wouldn’t you agree?

    • flamemeister

      If WOOF hadn’t already made himself out the perfect fool, you could have claimed much more credit. But let us say that you have indeed put the cap on the fool.

  • Enigma_Cypher

    It’s way past time to end the American bantustans.

  • SigFan

    And the barrios and ghettos of the inner cities and the way the government has “helped” minorities has resulted in the same thing. If the government actually wanted these people to get ahead and help themselves they would have stopped building the dependency on government handouts long ago. Unfortunately for the recipients of this government largess the intent isn’t to make them self-sufficient, it is to keep them right where they are so that the poor will keep voting to get their government cheese.

  • awfulorv

    It appears the surest path to ruin is to become friendly with the U.S.Government.