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Bill O'Reilly: Happy 50th birthday war on poverty

By Bill O'Reilly

50 years ago President Lyndon Johnson announced that America would wage an intense war to lift millions of citizens out of poverty. Johnson's vision centered on giving folks a fair chance to develop their talents in order to make a good living -- it was a noble idea.

But extensive analysis by the Heritage Foundation says the war on poverty has actually harmed the nation because nearly $21 trillion taxpayer dollars has been spent over the past 50 years and the state of poverty in America has not really improved very much. If the country had handed the $21 trillion directly to the poor, given them the money, poverty would have dropped drastically. All the social engineering has failed.

Writing in the "Wall Street Journal" yesterday, Robert Rector lays it out. In 2012 the fed spent close to $1 trillion, that year alone, on 80 welfare programs that give cash assistance to about 100 million Americans. Those stats do not, do not include Medicare and Social Security. Of course, welfare beneficiaries comprised a solid core of the Democratic Party. And so we see the Dems ramping up for this year's election by promising even more benefits in their quest for income equality.

But true poverty is being driven by personal behavior. Not an unfair economic system. In 1963, just 6 percent of American babies are born out of wedlock. Now 41 percent are and that includes 72 percent of African- American babies. According to Heritage, single parent homes are four times more likely to be living in poverty. And children raised by single parents are three times more likely to end up in prison, 50 percent more likely to be poor as adults.

So, maybe we should have a war against chaotic, irresponsible parents. But America will never launch that kind of war because it's too judgmental and deeply affects the minority precincts. Therefore, cowardly politicians and race hustlers continue to bear false witness that our economic system is at fault rather than bad personal decision making.

"Talking Points" has exposed that ruse before and will again. No matter how much money the government takes from the haves and gives to the have-nots, poverty will not change until personal behavior does.

Addictive behavior, laziness, apathy will all override social justice programs. Every child on this planet can learn. But parents must drive the process by forcing the kids to perform in school.

Every American can work hard, and if you do, you will make money. Every American can practice self-respect, and if you do, people will hire you. But if you are dishonest, embrace intoxicants, conceive children you can't support, act in a crude, disrespectful way and generally believe that you are owed prosperity -- poverty may well come knocking. And all the President's men can't prevent that.

And that's "The Memo."

O'Reilly Factor, hosted by Bill O'Reilly, airs on Weekdays at 8PM ET on Fox News Channel.