Liberal politicians often defend ineffective, costly legislative initiatives that at first glance seem compassionate. As we reflect today on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” we need to question its effectiveness and that of other liberal, big government attempts to solve or reduce the problem of poverty in America. Despite the fact that the federal government spends billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars on big-government programs, 15 percent of Americans still live in poverty.
That’s unchanged since the birth of the “War on Poverty” in the mid-1960’s. The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector notes in the Wall Street Journal (sub. req’d):
LBJ promised that the war on poverty would be an “investment” that would “return its cost manifold to the entire economy.” But the country has invested $20.7 trillion in 2011 dollars over the past 50 years. What does America have to show for its investment? Apparently, almost nothing: The official poverty rate persists with little improvement.