Expanding Government Power Won’t Defeat Poverty

Conservatives would no doubt use government differently than liberals, but libertarians have good reason to doubt that the results will be better.

by Steven Greenhut

In the run-up to the 2016 election, Ohio-based writer J.D. Vance became a national celebrity for his book—and now a movie—called “Hillbilly Elegy,” which detailed the social dysfunction among his kin in Appalachia. The book became a media sensation because it helped explain the rise of Trumpism, which was born out of endemic poverty in rural white America.

Leftists viewed the tome as poverty porn—an effort to blame the poor for their predicament. Indeed, Vance wrote about “too many young men immune to hard work.” He wrote about the cultural aspects of poverty—rampant drug abuse and out-of-wedlock births. Even after people in his Kentucky hometown made all the wrong choices, they felt like someone had victimized them.

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