Today is the 50th anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson’s announcement of The War on Poverty, arguably the extension of a liberal philosophy dating back to FDR’s New Deal programs.
Despite the relatively short-term interest in substantially financing and expanding the programs, childhood poverty dropped from 23% in 1964 to 17% in 2000, although it has risen back to its pre-WoP levels. Elderly poverty declined from almost 30% to almost 9% today.
The nation’s poverty rate dropped from 18% in 1964 to around 12% by 1969, a steep decline that hasn’t been seen since.
Today, as the challenges of poverty at home are complicated by problems like low-wage jobs, globalization, and decreased social mobility, a few fundamental lessons from the great success of the beginning of the War on Poverty remain valuable today.