Has War On Poverty Gone Too Far?

BY Reed Shelden

I've Changed My Thinking About The War On Poverty After Reading About Programs Initiated During The Great Society

Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared "unconditional war on poverty," no one can reasonably argue that the government's massive effort didn't help. It's more a question of how much it helped. And today, it's a question of how to make these essential programs more effective and sustainable for a new generation. LBJ promised to "cure" poverty. By that measure, of course, he failed. Four in 10 children in Milwaukee remain impoverished. And in the hill country of Appalachia, where the new president launched his effort in the spring of 1964, poverty remains. At the same time, Johnson's policies widened the fault line between Americans over the role of government in their lives — between those who want limited government and those who look to government to solve problems. This widening of the Republican-Democrat split created by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal is a legacy of Johnson's vision. we believe something else is required of every American: a sense of responsibility for those in need. Poverty is different from the other "wars" fought on social battlefields in this country. Unlike the "wars" against drugs and crime, it is relatively easy for the comfortable to remain unaware of want in their own communities, easier sometimes to show compassion for those thousands of miles away when the real work is five minutes from our own backyards.