Testimony to the Fairfax County Delegation to the Virginia General Assembly
-- Arthur Purves, January 9, 2016
Distinguished Members of the General Assembly:
My name is Arthur Purves. I address you as an individual.
Medicaid expansion has good intentions, as do the other War on Poverty programs: food stamps, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (now TANF), subsidized housing, subsidized childcare, Medicare, Head Start, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Have these programs succeeded? Virginia has 11,000 Medicaid waivers but needs another 11,000, costing maybe a billion dollars. Since Medicaid expansion will be paid for with "free money", why not fund the remaining 11,000 waivers?
Poverty has won. Public schools have failed to provide an adequate education to low-income children. Money is not the issue: At a candidates' forum last October, the Mason District representative to the Fairfax County School Board stated that schools do not know how to close the minority student achievement gap. Another problem is jobs. According to Forbes, Virginia has dropped from first to fourth in business friendliness. But the biggest problem is the collapse of marriage.
In Fairfax County in 2013, Hispanic and African-American youth were 26% of county's youth population, but 70% of the jail population. Statewide, the ACT college admission tests show that while 57% of Asian and 48% of white students are prepared for college, only 33% of Hispanics and 11% of African-Americans are prepared for college. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 2014 nationwide unemployment rates for and Hispanics African-Americans were 8% and 10%, compared to 5% for whites. Nationwide, 40% of births are out of wedlock.
Why did poverty win? We rely on schools more than churches to teach values. Are schools successful? According to the Fairfax County Police Department, 96% of applicants fail to qualify and 70% fail the lie detector test. With contraception and abortion, fathers of all races no longer feel obligated to marry the mothers of their children. Family Life Education reinforces this by teaching that while it is not the best choice, non-marital intimacy is not wrong if protected and consensual. With government entitlements, mothers do not need fathers to provide food, housing, childcare, and medical care.
John Quincy Adams stated that there are three foundations of moral behavior: belief in God, in an afterlife, and a future state of rewards and punishments. He said, "The laws of man may bind him in chains or put him to death but will never make him wise, virtuous, or happy."
If you are concerned about the health of the poor, get them out of poverty. Cut taxes to promote more jobs. End school boards' veto power over charter schools. Most importantly, initiate a Constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court decisions of the 60s that forbid the government from fostering Judeo-Christian values.
You have a half-century of evidence that secular solutions to social problems do not work.