Just a few quick examples, as to elaborate on this question:
- Minimum wage laws ostensibly exist to offer poorer workers better pay, but tend to leave the lower-skilled workers unemployed instead. 1
- Tariffs and tough anti-immigration laws purportedly protect American citizens - poor, lower-skilled individuals in particular - from the “unfair” competition of cheap foreigners. Instead, it drives businesses to other countries or raises prices on products, burdens which weigh much more heavily on the poor. 2, 3
- Drug prohibition is intended to help rid the streets of dangers, particularly in lower-income neighborhoods; instead, outrageous numbers of poor people are incarcerated (or worse) for non-violent activity. 4, 5
- The Welfare State, which supposedly functions as a “safety net” for individuals in unfortunate circumstances by providing them assistance (mostly financial), is not only wasteful and corrupt when run through the bureaucratic, palm-greasing sausage-factory that is the state - it also has been shown to function as an impediment in allowing the downtrodden to escape from the cycle of poverty and dependence. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
- And then there is war itself, that definitionally destructive and deadly effort, which recruits heavily in poorer communities (the military billboards and recruiting offices in the neighborhoods near me are innumerable) as a way to give poor kids an alternative to gangs and a means to pay for higher education. Yet, in too many cases, it simply offers them death. There are conflicting reports as to whether the composition of military personnel is dominated by recruits from lower-income homes, but it seems at least anecdotally evident that there is a concerted effort to “help” the poor by offering them this “opportunity.” 13, 14
Put frankly: government is no friend of the poor.