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After 50 years, is the War on Poverty a success or failure?
In 1964, US President Lyndon Johnson declared “unconditional war on poverty in America…” and enacted or pushed through legislation a number of programs designed to minimize the effects of entrenched poverty among many Americans. Shortly after the programs started, the overall poverty rate fell 43%,from around 21% in 1963, and remained hovering between 10% and 15%, according to this chart.
The measure of success of this “war” seems to fall into partisan camps. Conservative commentaries (National Review for example) would have one believe the program was a failure, whereas progressive/liberal sources (Such as Center for American Progress are saying that the program’s lasting legacy of safety nets (SNAP [formerly known as food stamps]; Medicare; Medicaid; Head Start; and expanded Social Security) has added to the relatively low poverty rate, indicating the success of the program.
So which is it?