This year celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the War on Poverty. Initiated by President Lindon B. Johnson, the war aimed to set the standard for a new age of government policy aimed at combating the rising poverty rates in America. Most notably, the speech resulted in Congress passing the Economic Opportunity Act, which formed the Office of Economic Opportunity to distribute federal funds towards impoverished citizens on a state and local level. Since that declaration over fifty years ago, federal spending on antipoverty programs has reached nearly $15 trillion inflation-constant dollars.
With all of this spending toward reducing poverty in America, some progress was inevitable. Yet with the poverty rate still hovering at 15% and a record number of Americans living in poverty since the war has started, many have begun to reevaluate the current government policies and tactics being used to combat poverty in the nation. The persistent issue of poverty in America suggests a much deeper, more nuanced societal problem, seemingly resulting from familial instability, value systems, and everything in-between. Capitalism can be compared to any race. In any race, the reward is greatest for those who finish first. In the capitalist race, the fastest and most prepared competitors win the race.
Those who do not run as fast are left to finish behind those better suited for the competition. Though simple, this concept models the realities that exist under a capitalist system. Some argue that the structure of the race should change, and that reward should be structured so that all competitors see a relatively more equal share of the prize at stake. Others suggest that it is not the structure of the race that is at fault, rath. .n a significant amount of behavior.
Finally, this account establishes a set proposal to move forward with combating social inequality in a way that fosters personal and financial responsibility.
- Klein, Woody, American Poverty: Presidential Failures and a Call to Action. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 2013.Poverty In the United States: Changes Between the Censuses.
- Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census, 1993.
- “Thomas Sowell on Economic Facts and Fallacies.” Narrated by Russ Roberts. EconTalk. Library of Economics and Liberty. February 25, 2008. http://www. econtalk.org/archives/2008/02/sowell_on_econo.html.U.S. Department of Commerce.
- “United States Census Bureau.” How Census Measure Poverty. 2013. http://www.census.gov/how/infographics/poverty_measure-how. HTML (accessed February 6, 2014).