Government’s plethora of welfare programs is no safety net. It’s a spider’s web that ensnares the poor in perpetual dependency, according to authors of a nationwide study of anti-poverty programs.

What Phil Harvey, chief sponsor of the DKT Liberty Project, and analyst Lisa Conyers found is that the government’s more than 80 welfare programs — providing cash, food, housing, social services and medical care — are anti-work. Even worse, the way they’re structured traps many enrollees in the cycle of poverty when, in fact, these welfare recipients want to work.

“At the very, very least, we ought to be helping people get out of the system and into paid employment,” said Mr. Harvey. The DKT Liberty Project he founded works to “reassert citizens’ rights” to property, freedom and personal privacy.

Those liberties are compromised by government programs that treat steady employment as a threat rather than a reward, the authors say. And that perpetuates the cycle of government dependency.

Among reforms, the authors recommend fixing the Earned Income Tax Credit — 85 percent of which provides for “refundable tax credits” — in effect, welfare grants to people who have no federal income tax liability.

Government’s “war on poverty” has evolved into an assault on liberty, which cost Americans an estimated $1 trillion in welfare spending last year. It is self-sufficiency that will reduce the casualties from this war.

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