For too long, federal and state policy solutions to American poverty have revolved around cumbersome and inefficient government programs that generate dependency instead of fostering self-sufficiency and supporting individual initiative. In the spirit of Booker T. Washington, one of America’s great activists for education, entrepreneurship, and self-reliance, this project uses detailed data analysis to uncover what really causes prosperity and its opposite: poverty. The Texas Public Policy Foundation proposes to redefine the debate on poverty, wellbeing, and opportunity, debunking the idea that taxation, government programs, and invasive policy solutions can truly help our nation’s poor to escape their burdens. LTC Allen West, a former congressman from Florida and outspoken conservative, has agreed to join our team to lead this new initiative, someone whose life exemplifies this effort.