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Big Government FAIL: Percentage of children in poverty has tripled since the "War on Poverty" was launched


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(NaturalNews) In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, in his State of the Union Address, declared a "war on poverty" that he said would eliminate endless cycles of limited opportunity and economic despair for all Americans.

He said on January 8 of that year:

Unfortunately, many Americans live on the outskirts of hope - some because of their poverty, and some because of their color, and all too many because of both. Our task is to help replace their despair with opportunity. This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America ... Our aim is not only to relieve the symptom of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.

As such Johnson and a heavily Democratic Congress passed legislation that created Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, Head Start, Job Corps, VISTA and Title I - all programs that are so interwoven into American social fabric today that it is difficult to imagine they could ever go away.

But, as some economists and reform-minded lawmakers have said, maybe it's time that they did, given that trillions have been spent on a myriad of social safety net programs since the mid-1960s, and to little net effect, given their original stated goals.

In a January 2014 column, the Washington Post noted, without context, that prior to Johnson's war, the poverty rate in the U.S. was at 25 percent, "with over 40 million people living on less than $3,000 a year."

However, according to an analysis of the current state of welfare in the U.S. over at The Burning Platform, the poverty rate in 1950 - when the post-World War II industrial boom really began to take off - was 34 percent and, by the time LBJ took office, had actually fallen to somewhere between 20-25 percent. When the programs began to be implemented, the national poverty rate only slipped to about 15 percent - where it remains today.

As reported by The Burning Platform, today:

The Federal government runs over 80 means-tested welfare programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and targeted social services to poor and low-income Americans. Over 100 million Americans received benefits from at least one of these programs. Federal and state governments spent $943 billion in 2013 on these programs at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient (not including Social Security & Medicare). That is 27% of the total Federal budget. Welfare spending as a percentage of the Federal budget was less than 2% prior to the launch of the War on Poverty.

Public policy experts: It's still not enough

In four charts, MarketWatch lays out what it says are the reasons why "the American dream is unraveling." The site interviews Robert Putnam, author of Our Kids, who suggests that one reason why there is such an "opportunity gap" between kids of wealthier Americans and those belonging to poorer families is that the wealthy aren't contributing enough to society.

While MarketWatch reported that Putnam is not demonizing "the rich:"

[H]e makes the case that it's not only in the moral interest of wealthier families to help improve the prospects of poorer children but also in their own economic interest. The U.S. economy would get a major boost if the opportunity gap were closed, he says. We cannot continue to live in our own bubbles, or compartments on a plate, without consequences, he suggests.

"What I hope people take away is that helping poor kids, giving them more skills and more support would economically benefit their kids," Putnam said.

As noted by The Economic Collapse Blog, another bothersome statistic is this: Prior to the War on Poverty, just 10 percent of American kids grew up in single-parent households; today that figure is north of 33 percent (and about double that figure for African American children).

In all, some $22 trillion has been spent on the war on poverty.

What is it about Washington, D.C., that prevents legislators, bureaucrats and presidents from learning? Why must they double down on failure?






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