US 'war on poverty' should be abandoned

newsroom@islandpacket.comFebruary 21, 2014 

America recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Beatles. With much fanfare, hoopla, huzzah and replays of "The Ed Sullivan Show," the media declared the world had changed forever. It was an exciting, positive event for a nation dealing with the Kennedy assassination.

There was another 1964 event that did change our world. Amazingly, there has been no fanfare, hoopla, huzzah or replays of President Lyndon Johnson signing into law the "War on Poverty," a grandiose expansion of the New Deal foisted on a country that had a vibrant economy and a poverty rate at about 14 percent.

So, 50 years later, what do we have to show for it? A poverty rate of 14 percent, a weaker economy and a massive bureaucracy with which to service programs like Head Start, food stamps, Medicare, welfare, disability, unemployment compensation, and who knows what all.

Trillions of dollars have bought us a massive, expensive welfare state, a dysfunctional public education system, and a huge, overbearing federal government.

The only winners are the bureaucrats who thrive on the "war," and the public employee unions who feed off them. The poor are still with us.

The Beatles broke up six years after their American debut and they did not change America forever, but LBJ's war on poverty did.

The welfare state has metastasized into a gargantuan, unsustainable leviathan. America abandoned Vietnam, Iraq and will soon abandon Afghanistan. Perhaps we should abandon LBJ's war.

Listen to the Beatles. The first track on "Revolver" is "Taxman."

Richard W. Walker


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