As noted in a diary at the Huffington Post, it was half a century ago that Michael Harrington wrote “The Other America: Poverty in the United States which spurred and led to the ‘Great Society’ programs of the 1960s. The programs Republicans battled and immediately started to try to repeal.
Rarely in American History has an effort so successful to millions been more successfully maligned by its political opponents.
The policies adopted as part of Johnson’ war-on-poverty (including Medicaid; subsidized housing; Head Start; legal services; raising the minimum wage; and, later, food stamps) — in combination with a strong economy — significantly reduced poverty. The nation’s poverty rate was cut in half — from 22.4 percent in 1959 to 11.1 percent in 1973. The decline in poverty was particularly dramatic among the elderly, thanks to Medicare and cost-of-living increases for Social Security.
And shortly thereafter we began our worship of the wealthy and the instead of the war on poverty, we had the still existent war on government via the weapon of loud-mouths making analogies.
How has it gone since?
In 2010, 46 million Americans — over 15 percent of the population — lived in poverty.
A policy that worked…well, we can’t have that.