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The War on Poverty Kept Poor People Poor

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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"Poverty won" - Ronald Reagan.

We're in danger of creating a permanent culture of poverty as inescapable as any chain or bond; a second and separate America, an America of lost dreams and stunted lives. The irony is that misguided welfare programs instituted in the name of compassion have actually helped turn a shrinking problem into a national tragedy. From the 1950's on, poverty in America was declining. American society, an opportunity society, was doing its wonders. Economic growth was providing a ladder for millions to climb up out of poverty and into prosperity. In 1964 the famous War on Poverty was declared and a funny thing happened. Poverty, as measured by dependency, stopped shrinking and then actually began to grow worse. I guess you could say, poverty won the war. Poverty won in part because instead of helping the poor, government programs ruptured the bonds holding poor families together.

- Ronald Reagan

allegory - ˈalɪg(ə)ri/ - noun - 1. a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.


Infant mortality rate in AMERICA is the highest in the WORLD amongst first world countries! It's disgusting when you look into it! NO ADVANTAGE!

Poor people now eat the cheapest food on the planet thanks to government subsidies of CORN! Everything is becoming GMO and is pure poison! Your the guinea pigs of the long term health of GMO's in a humans diet! NO ADVANTAGE

Third, owning meaningless consumable's that have continually lowered in quality is good? Everything now a days is made in China with the cheapest materials possible! NO ADVANTAGE

This is what's wrong with AMERICA. Your quality of life is based on how much crap you own!

Wars generally keep poor people poor.

Wars generally keep poor people poor while enriching those who finance the wars.