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Mr. President, The War on Poverty is Lost

by Keith Koffler on September 13, 2011, 3:14 pm

Well, so much for the War on Poverty.

Question: What was the poverty rate in 1966, just as all the Great Society programs began to crank up?

Answer: About 15 percent.

Q. What was the poverty rate in 2010?

A. About 15 percent.

That’s right, after 45 years of Big Government, we’re right where we were, according to the latest data on poverty, released by the U.S. Census Bureau today. And BTW, as you can see, the poverty rate was declining steeply in the years leading up to the Great Society, and began leveling off soon after.

But President Obama scoots merrily along, adding his own Great Society contribution with a national health program we can’t afford, “investing” in all sorts of new technologies, and generally raising spending to about 25 percent of GDP, the highest level since before . . . George Washington.

All while running up the deficit to new records. At least Lyndon Johnson did Socialism in the absence of a roaring deficit.

The statistics released today are abysmal, for us and for Obama.

The poverty rate, at 15.1 percent, is up from 14.3 percent in 2009. At 46.2 million, there are more people overall in poverty than since . . . before George Washington.

Under the nation’s first black president, the poverty rate for blacks has grown from 25.8 percent to 27.4 percent.

And remember, these numbers were probably worse in 2011.

Add all this to an unemployment rate that may well remain above 9 percent through much of 2012 and an economy that has stalled into near-recession, and you have a really miserable political sale for President Obama to make.

If his operatives can reelect him under these circumstances, they are geniuses, and if my back wasn’t bad I’d promise to bow ritually for an hour in their direction.

And they can hardly be blamed if he loses. The real culprits are Obama’s economic advisers, who are still trying to enact the Great Society, which turned out not so great.

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{ 20 comments }

bettyann September 13, 2011 at 4:19 pm

“15% in 1966. 15% in 2010. H-m-m-m.

I vaguely remember someone important saying something obvious about this very thing, about 2000 years ago. That we will always have the poor with us?

I don’t quite think Jesus meant the American type of poor, however.

srdem65 September 13, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Poor people are defined in this chart as those who are living under a certain income bracket. People who are surviving on Mcjobs and food stamps are classified as “poor”.
But…
What is “poor” today? Do we have a car to take us to our Mcjob and pick up our food stamps, do we have a cell-phone and cable TV in our homes, do we have access to “free” health care and education, and if we do have these things, then we are rich beyond compare to the rest of the world.

The majority of Americans are poor compared to our President and his family. We are poorer yet, compared to most members of Congress. These men and women we have elected to govern are not like the rest of us, they don’t know what it’s like to choose between the utility bill and groceries.
Even so, it’s not their job or mandate to provide us with material goods. Their only job is to allow us to pursue our own path to prosperity without govenment interference.

Star September 13, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Poor sounds so sad–I think of myself as broke.

Star September 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I used to be lower middle–now I guess I am lower. The part with no cells, no car, barely holding onto an upsidedown house bec rentals cost more, ramen one meal a day, basic cable, no savings, SS only. I guess this is what you guys are thinking of as cushy poverty compared with Bangladesh or someplace, but I have to say–it’s a change.,

Susan September 13, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Don’t take it personally Star. Having to depend on Social Security is a lot different from depending on welfare. SS is not welfare.

Star September 14, 2011 at 11:43 am

Didn’t you say you would not even need SS–so I think we are in two diff boats here, Susan, nothing personal.

Susan September 14, 2011 at 11:49 am

I don’t think our boats are that different Star. I just planned my retirement believing SS wouldn’t be there for me when the time came. Guess you could say I was wrong, because it is still here.

Tregonsee September 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

When one of my Lefty friends starts talking about needing an exit strategy, meaning Iraq or Afghanistan, I always ask them what their exit strategy is for the War on Poverty. It is usually not well received.

Susan September 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

The poor of today are not like the poor of 1966. Rush discussed a Heritage research report that reveals some amazing statistics. My fear is the more people who depend on the government to keep them in the comfort they have become accustomed to, the more votes he is going to garner. Reminds me of the old movie –The Devil and Daniel Webster.

http://blog.heritage.org/2011/09/13/morning-bell-surprising-facts-about-americas-poor/

Janice/Granny Jan September 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Obama’s new website. Fight the Smears Part Two:
http://www.attackwatch.com/

Susan September 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Gutsy call still links to his campaign website and this post…

If you’re worried about the increasing negativity of the attacks on President Obama and his record, now’s your chance to fight back with the facts. Visit AttackWatch.com to learn the truth about frequent smears, track new attacks as they happen, and report false allegations you’ve seen or heard.
We’ve heard it all since 2008, from lies about the Affordable Care Act to false rumors that the Obama administration hasn’t been an ally to Israel. These aren’t just unfounded allegations about the President—they’re attempts to derail the momentum of this movement and undermine everything we’ve accomplished together in the last three years.

Mike September 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm

To quote P.J. O’Rourke, “You can’t cure poverty by throwing money at it.”

A reading of Parliment of Whores” is just insightful today as when it was published.

Shofar September 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm

O’Rourke is a great satirist and libertarian mind. Parliament of Whores, Republican Party Reptile and Give War a Chance are three great reads. I would encourage anyone who reads this blog to pick up a copy of his stuff. It will definitely open your eyes. One caveat, if you are easily offended then you might not want to read his stuff. He can be pretty blunt.

William September 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm

A lot of that depends on how you define poverty. I have been around a bit and I have seen poverty. I have seen poverty in China, Iraq, South Africa, and Kenya. Poverty that was so horrible that every fiber of your being begged you to avert your eyes. Don’t tell me there’s poverty in America. There isn’t.

srdem65 September 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I agree.

Susan September 13, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I’ve never seen the type of poverty you’ve seen William, but the slums of Juarez may come close. We saw people who lived in a cardboard lean-to with no electricity, indoor plumbing, or running water.

I just know we’re blessed to be Americans. Thank you for your service, William.

Just2old September 13, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Agree William. Kenya, corrugated steel leaning on a tree was a roof…same in the Philippines. Egypt, a dirty disgusting mess. Your heart goes out to those people. They’re stuck there.

The poor here, we’ve created ourselves by trying to help.

Let’s give them the opportunity and let them help themselves.

Harry Tuttle September 14, 2011 at 1:35 am

But think of how high it would be today if NOT for the war on it!

LibLogic

Bunni September 14, 2011 at 10:34 am

Among the other horrible things this failure will be know for is the “food stamp prez”. He’s made more people poor since he usurped the office than anyone.

Stefan September 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Keith,

Where did you get the chart that accompanies this post? It’s a pretty damning indictment of “Great Society” programs that have failed.