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50 Years Fighting the ‘War on Poverty’ Created More Poverty

January 8th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments
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Photo: LBJ. As seen in The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume Four by Robert Caro. Credit: telegraph.UK

Photo: LBJ. As seen in The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume Four by Robert Caro. Source Credit: telegraph.UK

50 Years Fighting the ‘War on Poverty’ Created More Poverty

original article written by Net Advisor

WASHINGTON DC. Following President John F. Kennedy‘s assassination in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in as President of the United States.

[1] Johnson Declares “War on Poverty”
President’s Johnson has his first State of the Union (SOTU) address on January 8, 1964 (PDF). During Johnson’s SOTU speech, he declared a “War on Poverty.” Johnson, along with the 88th Democrat-controlled Congress initiated ground-breaking entitlement and social welfare programs such as:

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s War on Poverty (SOTU) speech.

According to President Johnson, the purpose of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in part was to end poverty, expand education, job training, increase various assistance for the poor and unemployed. Medicare was established in 1965.

U.S. Vintage Food Stamps (Coupons) Source: Public Domain. Owner credit not known. Advise to attribute.

U.S. Vintage Food Stamps (Coupons) Source: Public Domain. Owner credit not known. Advise to attribute.

Before the Food Stamp Act of 1964, the U.S. actually gave out food to those in need. The 1964 Act changed this where the federal government would hand out food stamps that could be used as currency to buy food. The modern version changed this to the Electronic Benefit Transfer or “EBT” card that looks and is used like a standard debit card.

President Johnson made welfare a permanent federal program.

“As a permanent program, the food stamp plan will be one of our most valuable weapons for the war on poverty.”

— Source: President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Aug. 31, 1964 (PDF – highlight added)

Johnson apparently thought by having permanent welfare funded by working taxpayers, that poverty would be cured and would thus be prevented from happening in the future.

“Our aim is not only to relieve the symptom of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.”

— Source: President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Jan. 8, 1964 SOTU Speech (PDF)

Johnson continued saying that no one piece of legislation would “suffice.” The overall ideas were noble and ambitious, but not at all realistic. The idea was that if government ran an unlimited wealth redistribution program that we would all somehow live a good life.

[2] Private Charitable Donations Exceeded $298 Billion in 2011
Yes, there are times where community, local, state and federal governments help those in need. In fact, the U.S. Department of Interior reported in 2011 that Americans voluntary donated (officially) over $298.42 Billion to their worthy causes as the chart depicts below:

Private (not taxpayer) Donations to Charitable Causes in 2011 By Type of Recipient Organization
  Religion   $95.88 billion
  Education   $38.87 billion
  Gifts to Foundations*   $25.83 billion
  Human Services   $35.39 billion
  Public-Society Benefit   $21.37 billion
  Health   $24.75 billion
  International Affairs   $22.68 billion
  Arts, Culture & Humanities   $13.12 billion
  Environment & Animals   $7.81 billion
  Foundation Grants to Individuals   $3.75 billion
  Unallocated   $8.97 billion

*Estimate developed jointly by Foundation Center and Giving USA (Source: NPS.gov).

Internationally speaking, over one-half-trillion dollars was donated to social causes outside the USA just in 2013 (Source: ABC).

Child Poverty in the United States is increasing under President Obama (Graphic credit: 2013-12-17 Washington Post).

Child Poverty in the United States is increasing under President Obama (Graphic credit: 2013-12-17 Washington Post).

[3] U.S. Poverty on the Rise
Despite all the money and aid given each year toward poverty, the number of people in the USA living in poverty has steadily climbed since about 1999 (p13 chart). The U.S. Census Bureau released its 2012 report that found these following (highlights):

  • U.S. Poverty Rate Statistically Unchanged from 2011 to 2012 (p1).
  • Actual Number of Americans in Poverty: 46.5 Million (p13).
  • Poverty Rate for USA Children (under 18): 21.8% (or about 1 in 5) (p13)(Map).
  • Poverty Rate for USA Adults (age 18-64): 13.7% (p13).
  • Poverty Rate for USA Adults (age 65+): 9.1% (p13).
  • Blacks (27.2%) and Hispanics (25.6%) have the highest poverty rates (p14).
  • The U.S. Poverty Rate Was Higher Under Obama’s (“Recovery”) 2012, than under Bush’s 2007 (Recession) (p13).

— Source: U.S. Census Bureau (2012 Report) (PDF 88pps)

[4] Medium House-Hold Income Fell Slightly in 2012
Median Household income fell slightly from 2011 to 2012 (p1) where average household income was $51,017 (2012) down $83 from $51,100 (2011) (p5). Asians average household income was $68,636 (2012). Asians have the highest average household income since the government began tracking their data in the mid 1980’s. Since 2006, income for all Americans has been on the general decline with minor differences (p5 chart).

[5] Chronic Poverty?
The U.S. government reports that “Chronic Poverty” during 2009-2011 was “relatively uncommon” with 3.5% of the American public lived in chronic poverty during this 36-month period (p4). This number seems a bit misleading on the low side when we look at the bottom line numbers of how many are in welfare and how much the taxpayers are paying for it.

[6] LBJ Losing the “War on Poverty” Since 1964
In 1964 under President Johnson, there were 36.055 Million Americans living in poverty. By 2012, under President Obama that number has increased by 28.96% to 46.496 Million (p52). Granted the U.S. population increased along with advancements in technology. But regardless, over the last 50 years, more people has equated to more welfare.

"The food stamp president" (Credit: Greg Groesch, The Washington Times)

“The food stamp president” (Credit: Greg Groesch, The Washington Times)

[7] Obama’s “Illegal” Food Stamps?
As if the U.S. is an automated teller machine that prints money upon one’s wishes, this may be happening behind American citizen’s backs. President Obama held “roughly 30” meetings with officials in Mexico over the U.S. food stamp (SNAP/welfare) program. Data suggests that the number of non-U.S. citizens participating in the U.S. food stamp program has doubled since 2008 to as many as 1.63 million (PDF).

Emails obtained by Judicial Watch show the Obama Administration and Mexico’s government officials not only exchanged communications over USA’s SNAP (food stamp program) by sponsoring food stamps for those living in Mexico, and how to obtain U.S. welfare. In fact, the Obama Administration said in writing that one does not have to state their citizenship status if they are obtaining welfare for their children. OH —(clearing throat).

“The promotion of the food stamp program, now known as “SNAP” (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), includes a Spanish-language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA with a statement advising Mexicans in the U.S. that they do not need to declare their immigration status in order to receive financial assistance.

Emphasized in bold and underlined, the statement reads, “You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.””

— Source: Judicial Watch, Apr. 25, 2013 (HTML PDF)

If the Obama Administration is offering, sending, or just advertising food stamps to non-U.S. citizens outside the USA would be disconcerting. The move here seems to be a political attempt to gain future progressive voters to be on the welfare payroll if Obama’s massive legalization efforts succeed.

Additional 3rd-party reports:

2013-11-23 U.S. Has Spent $3.7 Trillion On Welfare Over Past 5 Years.preview

[8] The Food Stamp President?
In just 2011, the Obama Administration spent $1 Trillion on welfare. This works out to be $60,000 for each impoverished household when the medium household income of working folks was about $50,000.

“…the government spent enough on welfare (EXCLUDING Medicare and Social Security) last year to cut a check for nearly $60,000 for each impoverished household it provided with benefits…The medium income in the U.S. is around $50,000…”

— Source: Judicial Watch, Oct. 31, 2012 (HTML PDF)

[9] Fuzzy Math
LBJ said in 1964 that for every $1,000 “invested” (taxpayer funds) into his War on Poverty (welfare programs), such would return $40,000 or more to (each individual) over their lifetime.

“One thousand dollars invested in salvaging an unemployable youth today can return $40,000 or more in his lifetime.”

— Source: President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Jan. 8, 1964 SOTU Speech (PDF)

The number of people on food stamps in 2012 was 46.6 Million reportedly costing U.S. taxpayers $3.7 Trillion since Obama became President in 2009.

Based on LBJ’s 1964 math using today’s costs of just food stamps, that return on “investment” is supposed to yield $148 Trillion.

[Math: $3.7 Trillion divided by $1,000 (“investment” in gov welfare) = $3.7 Billion; then $3.7 Billion x $40,000 (LBJ’s stated return on gov welfare “investment”) = $148 Trillion.]

Given the food stamp program alone is 50 years old and welfare has only increased, the return on (welfare) “investments” does not seem to have any material impact on the economy.

[10] Homeless American Children Hits Record High Under Obama
According to a report citing the U.S. Department of Education’s 2011-12 school year, there were 1,168,354 (K-12) children who were reported homeless. The number of homeless children is up 10% from the previous school year. This does not count the number of children who were homeless and not registered in school at all.

Clearly LBJ’s 1964 War on Poverty didn’t solve poverty, it only made it worse. More Americans are in poverty than ever. More people are on food stamps than ever. More children are in poverty and more children are homeless than ever. Now the U.S. seems to be trying to expand welfare outside its borders. Yet the U.S. continues to do the same thing for the last 50 years and somehow thinks it will eventually yield a different result.


Photo / Graphic Credits: As noted.
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