If there ever was a time to protest the injustices of poverty, now is a good one. A March report from Bloomberg declares that families will face $5,200 more in annual expenditures for the same basket of goods. Unfortunately, that report dropped before a later inflation report in May, showing a higher increase than expected. The inflation number surged from a 7.9% increase in March to 8.6% in May. Costs for gasoline are up twice as much as last year. Food costs are up over 10%, while most experts expect that it will continue to rise. The middle class can weather the storm for a time, but the poor continue to be bludgeoned by misguided policies. 

Yet, given the historic rise in prices, where are the professional poverty protestors? I haven’t seen them protesting against inflation or high gasoline prices.

Who can forget Occupy Wall Street or the “What Would Jesus Cut” campaign? Everybody knows that the poor have much less discretionary income to spend on goods and services, so taking up for them should be a necessity in today’s environment. 

In fairness, the Rev. William Barber is still out there attempting to baptize big government into God’s churches, but the media pays less attention to him now. 

The election of Gov. Roy Cooper essentially ended Barber’s shtick here, so he went national. The Biden presidency and Democrats controlling Congress further lessens his usefulness to corporate media. Plus, Barber is so ideological he’d never concede that big government and federal spending caused the entire inflation crisis. 

Yet, other clerics or protestors on the left who often chain themselves to buildings and kneel in prayer to the gods of more government spending seem noticeably silent today. Remember the “righteous” outrage in the 1990s when Congress merely talked about slowing the rate of government growth? 

The ironic part of the poverty industry clamoring for more government is that the federal government itself is likely the biggest force against the poor now. Printing money — which debases Americans’ savings and purchasing power — is an especially cruel tax on the poor. Even the campaign for a $15 minimum wage is becoming largely moot because of the government’s printing of more and more dollars.  

State-controlled lotteries are just another example of how the government manipulates and colludes against their own poor citizens. Many lower-income workers lost their jobs entirely because of aggressive coronavirus lockdowns issued by state governors. Predictably, sending out checks via printed money only ended up punishing the poor. Amazingly, the Biden administration and other lawmakers still think it’s a worthy strategy for consumer relief at the gas pump. Even just suspending the federal gas tax accounts for a 4% price reduction in this high-cost environment, according to the Heritage Foundation.

Genuine concern for the poor means compassionate giving and enacting sane and measured policies that — at the very least — aren’t further punishing citizens who so often survive paycheck to paycheck. If the odds already seem stacked against those with lower incomes, government policies that exacerbate their situation are only making it worse. That fact is plainly clear now as Americans are learning the hard lessons of a government that dismisses the consequences of expanding the money supply. It’s been going on a long time under Republicans and Democrats with their borrow and spend policies.

The next time one sees a group out protesting and clamoring for justice in the name of the poor, one must wonder, are they out there because they genuinely care for the poor or merely because they want more government? I think we should know the answer by now. 

Ray Nothstine is Carolina Journal opinion editor and Second Amendment research fellow at the John Locke Foundation.