War on Poverty; War on the Poor

War on Poverty; War on the Poor

In the mid-sixties President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 and the Social Security Act of 1965, unofficially called the War on Poverty. To reduce poverty, President Johnson believed in expanding government's role in education and health care, as part of his Great Society policy. It worked. In the decade after the law was passed, poverty fell from 19% to about 11%. Starting in the 1970's there was a backlash against welfare programs mainly by white middle class Americans. Although poverty rates remained low until the last economic decline in 2008, welfare programs are increasingly slashed.

These days the "War on Poverty" has become the "War on the Poor". In the 2012 election year, the poor are threatened by rhetoric about slashing of welfare programs. As I have pointed out in an earlier post, although some poor are only looking out for handouts, most just want the opportunity to succeed. It is pretty meaningless to talk about poverty without first looking at diminished opportunity.

The economic downturn has especially hit immigrants. But most immigrants are perseverant. Just give them a little opportunity...

Song of the Day: Busted - Ray Charles (1963)
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