The War on Poverty Kept Poor People PoorSubmitted by Diamond Dog on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 12:21
Opinion: Market forces were responsible for increased living standards
By Steven Horwitz | MarketWatch
Market innovation has helped the poor the most, while government-funded wars on poverty have largely turned out to be wars on the poor’s upward mobility.
The cheerleaders for this new war argue that the War on Poverty was successful but not successful enough.
However, the successes that most point to were already taking place long before the Johnson Administration. Infant mortality rates, for example, have been falling since the early 20th century. Even a cursory look at the U.S. poverty rate shows dramatic declines in the years leading up to the late 1960s and a much smaller rate of decline since then.
The real credit for these gains goes to the enormous economic growth of the 20th century, which was driven by the competitive marketplace.
Even since the early 1970s, poor Americans are living better than ever.
In 2005, U.S. households below the poverty line were more likely to own any number of standard consumer goods than were poor families two decades earlier. They were more than twice as likely to own a dishwasher than in 1984, almost twice as likely to have air conditioning of some sort, and more than seven times as likely to have a microwave oven.
In absolute terms, nearly 73% owned at least one car, roughly two-thirds had a washer and dryer, and almost half had personal computers and cell phones.
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