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Texas Tech Free Market Institute’s Dr. Ben Powell Discusses Minimum Wage And War On Poverty [AUDIO]

Ariel Walden,

On the Friday edition of The Chad Hasty Show, Dr. Ben Powell, director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University, talked with Chad Hasty about the economic growth in the country.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the “war of poverty,” but there has been little change in the poverty rate between then and now. Democrats are claiming that more needs to be done to reduce poverty, while Republicans are calling the war a failure.

However, Powell believes that both sides are incorrect. He said the real issue is that the definition of poverty has changed over the years, He explained that people who are in “poverty” now are far better off than those who were in poverty in the 60s, and are actually far better off than in most countries in the world.

“The typical American living below the poverty line in 2013 lives in a house or an apartment that’s in good repair, equipped with air conditioning and cable TV, the home is larger than the home of the average non-poor French, German or Englishman, he has a car, multiple color TVs, a DVD player, and more than half of the poor have computers, and  a third have flat-screen TVs. This, to me, does not sound like the poverty of 1964, or for that matter…the abject poverty that we see in other parts of the world.”

Powell went on to say that many of the benefits offered to those under the poverty actually serve to keep people in poverty instead of lifting them out of it, and two of those major issues include poor education and penalties against people who try to find a job.

Powell also shared his thoughts on the effects of a minimum wage increase. He explained that a minimum wage increase would lead to fewer jobs being created, with employers choosing to either use fewer, higher-qualified employees or replace those lower-wage jobs with machines. He added that the reason why people think a wage increase is a good idea is either because they are not educated on how the minimum wage works, or they are not directly affected by the minimum wage.

For more information on the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech, visit their website at or visit them on Facebook.

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Ben Powell here:

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KFYO Dr. Ben Powell 01/10/14

The Chad Hasty Show airs weekday mornings form 8;30 AM to 11AM on NewsTalk 790 KFYO and online at

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