2020 Democrats\u2019 hope-killing anti-poverty promises

Nine Democratic presidential hopefuls, including frontrunners Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren, flocked to the Poor People’s Moral Action Congress on Monday, each trying to out-pander rivals and promise the most handouts.

It was an alarming spectacle for anyone who works for a living. These Democratic candidates don’t believe jobs are the way to end poverty. For them, “work” is an obscenity. Their approach is to take money from working stiffs and give it to slackers.

Don’t be fooled by the name “Moral Action Congress.” There’s nothing moral about forcing hard-working people to support indolence. One in five American households already lives entirely or mostly off government benefits. A shocking three-quarters of able-bodied food stamp recipients with no children still don’t work, even part-time.

President Trump is trying to change that, with new requirements that healthy adults who don’t have to care for family either look for a job or go to school. In short, get off the couch. Democrats call it cruel.

Monday’s poverty extravaganza was led by agitators demanding that Uncle Sam guarantee everyone an annual income, free college, free health care and a “decent house to live in.” They claim these are “rights.” So does Sanders.

But people who work for a living know better. These aren’t rights government owes you. These are things you earn yourself. Forum organizer Rev. William Barber rails that nearly half the nation — 140 million people — is mired in poverty. That’s a blatant lie, though none of the candidates set the record straight.

Fact is, 40 million people, about 12% of the population, earn less than the federal poverty line, $12,490 for a single person and $25,750 for a family of four.

But almost no one actually lives on that. All but 3% collect welfare payments that lift them out of poverty. They depend on government, instead of themselves.

Our booming economy is a chance to turn that around and help the poor escape dependence. Employers are dropping requirements like college and prior experience to hire more people. Jobs aren’t scarce. Workers are.

Stunningly, no one at the poverty event talked about jobs. When a homeless woman from Washington state asked Sen. Kamala Harris for help, Harris proposed expanding subsidies for renters. Biden promised “total health care” for everyone. Warren upped the ante, pledging free child care, free pre-school, free college and student debt-forgiveness.

Far from promoting work, the Democrats running for president don’t hesitate to throw millions of Americans out of work. The Dems’ major policy proposals — Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, open borders for illegals and tax hikes on corporations — are all job-killers.

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Medicare for All would put insurers out of business and slash payments to hospitals, forcing them to spread nurses thinner and lay off other staff. All in all, the scheme would cost 2.5 million jobs, single-handedly increasing unemployment by nearly 50%.

The Green New Deal scheme to reduce carbon emissions threatens the jobs of millions of workers in mining, drilling, refining, the auto industry and trucking.

Bernie Sanders, who says there can be no middle ground on carbon emissions, claims he’s leading a “movement of working people.” The AFL-CIO isn’t fooled. Union bosses see it’s a disaster for working people. The union leaders warned that they “will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living.”

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With open borders, meanwhile, illegal immigrants are driving down wages for low-skilled American workers, according to Harvard economist George Borjas. No wonder polls show three-quarters of voters in the battleground states oppose illegal immigration and support enforcing E-verify to prevent illegals from taking jobs.

The Dems’ over-the-top promises of free everything played well at Monday’s forum, where the crowd was mostly leftist activists. But welders, factory workers, truck drivers, nurses and other people who punch a clock won’t be impressed. Message to the 2020 candidates: Jobs, not handouts, are the remedy for poverty.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York.

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