During the Thursday afternoon edition of Your World With Neil Cavuto, the Fox News Channel business host responded to the accusation from Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's The Daily Show that the people at Fox “hate poor people.”
“I think he's very fast on his feet even if he sometimes gives me a few good kicks,” Cavuto said about Stewart. “That's fine. I can take it and take him. What I can't take is this: that we at Fox actually hate the poor. Now, even by Jon Stewart's Fox-bashing comedic standards, that's a little rich and more than a little unfair.”
“My friend (and talk radio host) Don Imus has a great line,” the host began,”about prickly guests who don't take too kindly to his ribbing. 'It's always funny,' he says, 'until it's about them.'”
“Don's right,” he asserted, “because when I heard no less than Jon Stewart ripping Fox News over its coverage of the poor, well, it got my attention” because he “talks about Fox, where I work, and it was Jon Stewart, who I like.”
“I think Stewart's one of the quickest minds on TV today,” Cavuto said. “He's smart. He's funny. He's thoughtful, even though a tad to the left.”
Now I can't speak for all my colleagues here, but none of us denies there are genuinely poor people or that we shouldn't genuinely help those who are poor. I just question whether all the folks we're supposedly helping are poor.
Now that doesn't make me anti-poor, just anti-beating-our-heads-against-the-wall-doing-the-same-thing-again-and-again and expecting a different result helping the poor.
“Jon Stewart is much funnier and wittier than I will ever be,” the Fox host added. “I'm just a numbers nerd who has concluded all we've done to help the poor has proven to be a sad joke.”
“I want you to focus on the trillions spent fighting a 'War on Poverty' that we are still losing,” he stated. “Now, I'm not saying our poverty rate hasn't come down a bit, but not nearly enough to justify these costs.”
“Don't take it from me,” Cavuto noted. “Take it from the Washington Post's Zachary Goldfarb, who calculated even that improvement isn't what it seems, that if you take out the myriad of government programs and policies that have mushroomed and become part of our expanded social safety net, the actual poverty rate would be closer to 29 percent.”
Describing the War on Poverty another way, Cavuto continued: “If that's victory, please show me defeat because minority youth unemployment is as high as it ever was, and the cycle of government dependence is higher than it ever was.”
“That does not mean that those in genuine need still don't need our help, but what is pretty clear is that what we're doing is not helping,” he asserted.
“That doesn't mean, as well, that we don't help those who are hungry, but with even 46 million Americans receiving food stamps, do we really have that many who really are hungry?” he asked.
“I think Jon Stewart is right to say conservatives need to offer more of a solution than saying 'government is not the solution.'” Cavuto stated. “And as I've said on this show, maybe both parties working together is that solution.
The Fox host then provided an example of how successful such a bipartisan effort can be.
“Like when [Democratic president] Bill Clinton worked with [Republican House majority leader] Newt Gingrich on 'welfare to work.' It worked because it got more folks working, and in the end, isn't that what this is about?” he asked.
He heaped more praise on that program because the government broke the cycle of poverty by “ending the cycle of folks depending on the government to keep them out of poverty.”
“Forget whether that fosters dependency,” Cavuto asserted. “I'm telling you: It's economic lunacy, just like bailouts and rescues are lunacy. I opposed them when we were doing them for the banks under the last administration, and for everyone and everybody through this one.”
It's a cycle that knows no end. Jon Stewart is right to say we shouldn't paint all the poor with the same brush. I hope and trust we do not.
But isn't it just as bad painting the poor with the same familiar federal brush? Isn't that just as offensive when we do it? And isn't that just as much a joke?
“You don't have to be a comic to know that's a tragedy,” he concluded.
The conservative host also has an hour-long weeknight program simply called Cavuto at 8 p.m. on the Fox Business Network.