Thomas: The war on poverty at 50
Tribune Content AgencyJanuary 6, 2014
In his State of the Union address on Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared a “war on poverty.” Today, with roughly the same number of people below the poverty level as in 1964 and with many addicted to government “benefits,” robbing them of a work ethic, it is clear that the poor have mostly lost the war.
In 1964, the poverty rate was about 19 percent. Census data from 2010 indicates that 15.1 percent are in poverty within a much larger population.
The lack of government programs did not cause poverty, and spending vast sums of money has not eliminated it.
A policy analysis by the Cato Institute found that federal and state anti-poverty programs have cost $15 trillion over the last five decades but have had little effect on the number of people living in poverty.
That amounts to $20,610 per poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three. If the government had sent them a check they might have been better off.
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