Remember The War On Poverty?

Well I do.

And president-elect Biden is promising so much for the poor…..will he deliver?

Let us look at the LBJ version of the War on Poverty……

It was the program of the Johnson Administration….as the Encyclopedia Britannica remembers it….

Johnson announced an “unconditional war on poverty” in his first State of the Union address, in January 1964. He considered the depth and extent of poverty in the country (nearly 20 percent of Americans at the time were poor) to be a national disgrace that merited a national response. Furthermore, he identified the cause of poverty not as the personal moral failings of the poor but as a societal failure: “The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.” The speech was historic in its idealistic call for the creation of a more-just society. Johnson concluded it by saying:

On similar occasions in the past we have often been called upon to wage war against foreign enemies which threatened our freedom. Today we are asked to declare war on a domestic enemy which threatens the strength of our nation and the welfare of our people. If we now move forward against this enemy—if we can bring to the challenges of peace the same determination and strength which has brought us victory in war—then this day and this Congress will have won a secure and honorable place in the history of the nation and the enduring gratitude of generations of Americans yet to come.

The rhetoric of the War on Poverty quickly found its way into law and the creation of new federal programs and agencies. The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was passed by Congress and became law in August 1964. The act created the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), which provided funds for vocational training, created Job Corps to train youths in conservation camps and urban centres, and established VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), a domestic counterpart to the Peace Corps, and Head Start, an early-education program for children of poor families, among other programs.

The fight never really got into full swing for starting with Nixon each admin started chipping away at the Act and it never reached its full potential.

For those that break out in a rash if they must read….I have a short video to explain this…

There are lots of competing opinions on just how successful this fight had become…..the Urban Institute sees the outcome thusly…..

President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) declared that the War on Poverty launched by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 is “largely over and a success.” Although it is premature to declare an outright and absolute victory, it’s great that policymakers at the highest level of government recognize that our social safety net programs are working.

But if we are to continue to reduce hardship and promote mobility from poverty through access to good jobs, work and other means, we have to understand the nature of poverty today. It’s important that we draw the right lessons from the past so we don’t underestimate our current challenges and cede our hard-won progress in the War on Poverty. 

https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/have-we-won-war-poverty-not-yet

I want to be fair….so I will offer the analysis from the uber conserv think tank, the Heritage Foundation…….

The U.S. Census Bureau has just released its annual poverty report. The report claims that in 2013, 14.5 percent of Americans were poor. Remarkably, that’s almost the same poverty rate as in 1967, three years after the War on Poverty started. How can that be? How can government spend $9,000 per recipient and have no effect on poverty? The answer is – it can’t.

Census counts a family as poor if its “income” falls below certain thresholds. But in counting “income,” Census ignores almost all of the $943 billion in annual welfare spending. This, of course, makes the Census poverty figures very misleading.

https://www.heritage.org/marriage-and-family/commentary/the-war-poverty-50-years-failure

Of course they do not mention much about their attempts to screw the poor by leading the charge to repeal the Act……but I seldom expect conservs to admit to their lunacies.

What can we surmise about the War on Poverty?

Contrary to myths propagated by many critics, the War on Poverty was not narrowly focused on “expanding welfare.” “No doles,” stipulated President Johnson, and his legislative initiatives included aid to schools and universities, new job training programs, public housing initiatives, new Medicare health coverage for the elderly and Medicaid coverage for the poor, and other programs that have endured, such as Head Start, Job Corps, and Community Health Centers.

The War on Poverty’s pivotal assault on racial discrimination often goes unmentioned. In addition to persuading Congress to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the Johnson administration used the federal purse to desegregate schools, hospitals, community boards, and neighborhood programs. As new grants flowed, threats to withhold funding made

Nor should the War on Poverty be discussed only in the past tense. It is still being fought today. Although the original coordinating agency, the Office of Economic Opportunity, was disbanded in the early 1970s, many programs are still funded under new names in other agencies.

(read on)

https://scholars.org/contribution/accomplishments-and-lessons-war-poverty

Of course…this program will always be viewed through the lens of political ideology….no amount of successes will ever be recognized….and that is the shame of this society.

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17 thoughts on “Remember The War On Poverty?

    1. He created low wage jobs and poverty has not been reduced….pipe dream to think he did the only worthless government programs are the ones that subsidize the arms trade….chuq

  1. The war on poverty is as useless as tits on a tree. There will always be poor people who need a hand out. Sometimes the need is legitimate. More often than not these programs only tend to help people who refuse to help themselves and who are conditioned to their socio economic state and are satisfied in it and have absolutely no intention of bootstrapping themselves out of it. This is one war that will never ever be won as long as welfare queens can be assured that the more brats she has, the bigger and more secure the welfare check will be.

    1. My pleasure…I personally thought the programs never got a chance to do the job before Nixon and others dismantled the programs. chuq

  2. When I was young back in the 1970’s we lived just outside NYC. My family hosted an “inner-city youth” from the Fresh Air Fund for a month each summer. Her family was pretty close with a single mother raising 8 kids. They were on assistance but used to sneak off to work. The way it was designed definitely needed work so people could work and lift themselves out of poverty, but that didn’t mean do as much as possible to destroy the whole program the way it was.

    As for nowadays, I live in a resort town. There are usually more jobs available here than there are people because they are low-wage jobs. There’s so much poverty here and among people who work 40+ hours a week. That’s not just the case here – it’s all over the country. It’s a myth that wages will rise if places compete for workers. Workers move from place to place when they can’t take it any more and the people who dos tay often just have the burden placed on them to do everything.

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