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

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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