Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers is pushing for $1 billion dollars for Eastern Kentucky which has been hurt particularly hard by the closure of several coal mines in recent years.  The money would come from the federal abandoned mine land fund and could be used for job training, reclamation and other projects. While there might be some legitimate and worthy projects, Eastern Kentucky's poverty is much bigger than getting a financial windfall from the federal government. In fact, since Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in the 1960's, over $22 trillion has been spent on anti-poverty programs. So what's there to show for it? Not much. We still have the same number of people living in poverty.  But now, more people are dependent on the government than ever before. Money is might pay the bills, but it cannot clothe someone with dignity. Nor can it provide hope or self-inititiative.