Losing the war on poverty
by Ben Crystal
As I scrolled through Twitter the other day, a blurb on the Democratic Party’s feed caught my eye.
President Johnson laid the groundwork for the War On Poverty on this date.
Fifty-one years later, and the Democrats took time out of their busy schedule of lying, cheating, stealing and calling everyone who notices “racist!” to raise a soy latte in honor of LBJ’s war on poverty. Obviously, if the Democrats manage to squeeze it into 140 or fewer characters a half-century after the fact, they must consider LBJ’s grand vision for a more prosperous America a real highlight on their resume.
And who can blame them? While marking the 51st anniversary of anything other than a wedding seems a bit contrived, the rest of the 1960s hardly represent a high water mark for the Democrats. They turned Southeast Asia into a killing field that consumed nearly 60,000 American souls. They double-talked on race following Republican President Dwight Eisenhower’s policy of using federal might to force an end to racial segregation, while simultaneously “drawing the line in the dust” to protect the Jim Crow laws they created. By 1968, their national convention descended into chaos as protesters turned Chicago into a massive cage match. So I suppose it’s fair for them to focus on President Johnson’s Special Message to the Congress, a footnote in Johnson’s larger Declaration of War. Of course, Johnson never declared war on North Vietnam, nor their Soviet backers, nor the globalist banksters who used the carnage of Southeast Asia to diversify their ever-thriving death industry. In 1964, Johnson declared war on poverty.
In 1964, the United States was indeed a war-weary nation. Four generations of Americans had bled on battlefields from France to the Pacific Rim and back to France and back again to the Pacific Rim. Meanwhile, the “bloodless” Cold War filled everyday life with the excitement of knowing the other half of the world was being run by guys who’d piled up Black Death-sized body counts in fewer than 50 years without leaving their own countries. And the aforementioned Vietnam situation was beginning to show signs of making Korea look like a cakewalk. So Johnson brought war home.
Using the Democrats’ own calendar, America’s war on poverty has now gone on longer than every other war in which America has been involved since the American Revolution, combined. Sadly, that fact dovetails rather neatly with the fact that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 poverty report, America’s war on poverty has consumed an inflation-adjusted total of nearly $23 trillion — triple the money we’ve spent on the actual wars in which we’ve fought since the American Revolution.
Moreover, our return on investment is worse than the last guy who cut a check to Bernie Madoff. According to the federal government’s own numbers, the poverty rate in America is just under 15 percent. A look back through the annals of the war on poverty reveals that the poverty rate is actually on an upswing, but it hasn’t wandered more than a few points in any direction since LBJ fired his opening salvo in 1964. Essentially, the war on poverty, which the Democrats consider one of their greatest victories, is, at best, a tie.
And I’m not the only person who’s noticed poverty remains a real problem five decades after LBJ put it in his crosshairs. The darling of the far left, Massachusetts multimillionaire Sen. Elizabeth Warren, thinks endemic poverty lurks around every corner. According to the Democratic Party’s rising Bay State Star, “a momma and a baby on a full-time minimum-wage job cannot keep themselves out of poverty.” And Warren’s not alone.
Another prominent Democrat also missed Tuesday’s big anniversary. None other than President Barack Obama said:
If poverty is a disease that infects an entire community in the form of unemployment and violence, failing schools and broken homes, then we can’t just treat those symptoms in isolation. We have to heal that entire community. And we have to focus on what actually works.
I’d feel just awful if I set the Democrat dogs a-yapping at one another, but it seems as if they’re having some internal communications issues. They’re simultaneously celebrating and lamenting the expenditure of 23 trillion bucks to fight a disease for which we have yet to dent the symptoms, and that’s according to their own people. Keep in mind, the figure I’m citing does not include government schools, Medicare, Social Security the war on drugs, green-energy boondoggles, amnesty for illegal aliens, the various incarnations of “global warming” or the current Democratic president’s signature “achievement,” the abominable Obamacare. Add it all up, and the federal government has spent dozens, if not hundreds, of trillions of dollars on programs specifically touted as social benefits.
Yet society, arguably more socially fractured than ever, is largely economically unchanged — unless you’re black or (in a paradox that could be engineered only by liberal action) supremely wealthy. After more than 50 years of pitched battle against poverty, not only has the percentage of Americans living in poverty remained unchanged, the percentage of black Americans living in poverty now stands at nearly double the rate of their white compatriots. Meanwhile, the concentration of wealth in the hands of the mega-wealthy few has actually increased, with the Obama “recovery” actually producing a net gain for the “1 percent” and net loss for the “99 percent” since Obama took office. Give Obama credit; no other president since the dawn of the industrial age actually managed to take from the poor and give to the rich as effectively.
It’s been 51 years since LBJ declared “war” on poverty, and little has changed for the better; for blacks, the situation has gotten worse. A visit to any one of the most depressed and violent cities in America reveals the Democrats’ war has created massive casualties, almost all a result of friendly fire. So why are they celebrating? LBJ already told us: “I’ll have those n*****s voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” Congratulations, Democrats. You won the election; America lost the war.