Defenders of the broken and destructive welfare state are getting more desperate. Case in point, check out this frightening article in the N&O, entitled “The Science of Lifting Kids Out of Poverty.” The author begins by informing readers about the results of a recent study:
In a study published this year in Nature Neuroscience, several co-authors and I found that family income is significantly correlated with children’s brain size – specifically, the surface area of the cerebral cortex, which is the outer layer of the brain that does most of the cognitive heavy lifting. Further, we found that increases in income were associated with the greatest increases in brain surface area among the poorest children.
Notice the study says it found only a correlation, no causation has been determined. And no mention of the number of parents in the household, nor no mention of how the household incomes increased (i.e. earned income vs. gov’t handouts). But the author uses this study to inspire a more elaborate study.
That’s why I am part of a team of social scientists and neuroscientists planning a large clinical trial in which 1,000 low-income mothers will be randomly assigned to receive either a large ($333) or small ($20) monthly income supplement for the first three years of their children’s lives. Periodic assessments of the children and their mothers will enable us to estimate the impact of these cash supplements on children’s cognitive, emotional and brain development, as well as the effect on family functioning.
Yep, its come to this. Monitoring children’s brain size and activity in response to the size of a welfare check. Why not just let them run through a maze to find a piece of cheese? This kind of human experimentation is appalling – and likely financed by your tax dollars.
Even more frightening is the author’s insistence that “we” should not wait for the results of this experiment to expand the welfare state – claiming that such programs are the only solution to protect children’s “pliable brains” from the “ravages of poverty.”
If this scientist is interested in reducing poverty, maybe she should actually look into what social institutions best facilitate the reduction of poverty. Here’s a hint: its not the big government welfare state.
To quote Milton Friedman: “So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”