Article Comparison Assignment: The War on Poverty
The most recent survey conducted by the Census Bureau of poverty in the United States shows that 15.0 percent of Americans, about 46.5 million people, are living in poverty. To put that number in perspective, that’s more than the population of California and Arizona combined. A little less than 50 years ago, President Lydon B. Johnson announced a metaphorical “War on Poverty” in the U.S., influenced by his predecessor John F. Kennedy. The articles “The War on Poverty Forty Years later” by Stephanie Bell and L. Randall Wray, “War on Poverty: A Limited Engagement” by Mathew Mckee, and “Kennedy, Johnson, and the War on Poverty” by Carl Brauer all analyze aspects of this “war”. There are many reasons why the War on Poverty was a general failure, but these three articles speculate as to why, including reasons like a flawed plan, too much interest in foreign affairs rather than domestic ones, and politics getting in the way. First, we will look at some of the reasons why the plan was flawed.
In the first article, “The War on Poverty Forty Years Later,” by Stephanie Bell and L. Randall Wray, they argue that the War on Poverty was a flawed plan, and that to effectively eliminate poverty, we should listen to Hymen Minskey’s idea that the government can best reduce poverty by first achieving tight full employment and then generating programs to upgrade workers. In Minskey’s view, the WOP was destined to fail from the beginning. He goes so far as to say that, “any policy strategy which does not take job creation as its first and primary objective is but a continuation of the impoverishing strategy of the past decade.” The government’s notion at the time was that if private investment strategies were put into place to improve the economy, and programs were created to upgrade and educate workers, then poverty in America would diminish. Minskey believed that an important...