President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the “War on Poverty” over sixty years ago, and it’s been a long battle. But it’s a battle the government lost.
Like any war, there’s been a hefty price tag attached. Since its inception, over $22 trillion has been spent – and what do we have to show for it? You can see the failure of the War on Poverty in a single chart:
That’s right: Rates of poverty were falling like a rock prior to when the War on Poverty began, and then it flat-lined. But why?
Allow American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks to explain:
The problem with welfare is that it helps the poor when they’re poor. The conservative solution, of course, is to pursue pro-market, pro-work policies that prevent people from being poor in the first place.
Ronald Reagan famously said that the best anti-poverty program is a job, and the statistics back him up. As Unbiased America noted,
Only 0.9% of Americans are full-time working poor.
Only 2.7% of Americans who work full-time live in poverty.
Only 10.1% of working-aged Americans in poverty work full-time.
94.1% of Americans in poverty do not work full-time.
77.8% of Americans in poverty do not work at all.
While we certainly need a social safety net for when things go wrong, there’s quite a difference between a social safety net and a hammock.
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