Reasons for the Poverty Rate

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At the NPR debate in Iowa last week, Howard Dean (search) was asked why there were so many poor people in America… 40 years after President Johnson began his war on poverty.

That’s a good question.

In 1965, LBJ thought America was rich enough to simply buy out poverty in America. The so-called “Great Society” programs were rolled out, and over the next 15 years, total assistance to the poor increased by over 600 percent. These payments came in many shapes — from food stamps and cash welfare payments, to in-kind benefits like Medicaid.

What was the result?

More poor people. Only poverty among the elderly has seen a steady decline since the war on poverty was declared. Poverty among all other groups increased. The funny thing about all this is that poverty was declining in America faster before the war on poverty was declared. From the end of World War II until 1965, the poverty rate in America was cut in half. So why are we spending so much more and getting so much less?

For the record, Howard Dean blamed the Bush administration, ignoring the questioner's point that poverty has generally increased under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

And that’s the Asman Observer!