After waging War on Poverty for 50 years, let's not surrender

latimes.com/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20140112,0,1032268.column#axzz2qCLB57TP

Fifty years ago Wednesday, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered what may have been the last genuinely uplifting State of the Union speech we’ve had.

“This administration, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America,” he said. “We shall not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on Earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it.”

Since LBJ’s launch of the War on Poverty, the effort has become a whipping boy on the right and even the left. President Reagan’s judgment from 1986 seems to have won the battle for the most repeated crack: “In 1964 the famous War on Poverty was declared and a funny thing happened … I guess you could say, poverty won the war.”

“I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years. [Touting his underlying intentions for the “Great Society” programs, LBJ confided with two like-minded governors on Air Force One]”

It was a scheme to buy votes; nothing more.

Opinion

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