(Community Matters) What was the war on poverty? What programs did it include? Why did it start when it did? How long did it last? Did it reduce poverty, actually? Why don’t people think it reduced poverty? What more could we be doing now to fight poverty? What more could we be doing now to fight poverty? Washington Post
The 1962 publication of Michael Harrington’s “The Other America,” an expose which demonstrated that poverty in America was far more prevalent than commonly assumed, focused public debate on the issue, as did Dwight MacDonald’s 13,000-word review essay on the book in The New Yorker.
A recent study from economists at Columbia broke down changes in poverty before and after the government gets involved in the form of taxes and transfers, and found that, when you take government intervention into account, poverty is down considerably from 1967 to 2012, from 26 percent to 16 percent. In 2012, food stamps (since renamed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) alone kept 4 million people out of poverty,
Largely because people rely on the official poverty rate, which is a horrendously flawed measure, which excludes income received from major anti-poverty programs like food stamps or the EITC. It also fails to take into account expenses such as child care and out-of-pocket medical spending. If you look at the traditional rate — which, I’m not even kidding, is based on the affordability of food for a family of three in 1963/4, with no adjustments except for inflation since then — it looks like poverty has stagnated rather than fallen.
Hat Tip: Huffington Post