Fifty years ago today, President Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.” But half a century later, too many of our fellow Americans—46 million—are living below the poverty line.
As Americans, we don’t turn a blind eye when our neighbors and fellow citizens are in need. So we can’t ignore the fact that outdated top-down federal bureaucracies have lost this war. We have to be honest; we can’t pretend they’re capable of eliminating poverty. A controlling, over-spending federal government doesn’t expand freedom and opportunity. As a country we need to refocus our energies on new ways to put the American Dream in reach of all Americans.
The Obama presidency has not been kind to those living in poverty. More Americans are living below the poverty line than when the president took office—more Americans than ever, in fact. Poverty has remained much too high in some of our biggest cities, which have been governed by Democrats year after year.
Despite the president’s rhetoric, his administration has failed to lift up those who need the most help. Median household income has declined by nearly $3,800 on Obama’s watch.
The liberal approach just isn’t working.
A job is the best anti-poverty program. Quality education equips young people for promising careers. An economy growing from the bottom up can lift all Americans. Good jobs, quality schools, economic growth: these are what we need to reduce poverty in America. But too often it’s the federal government standing in the way—in the way of job creation, in the way of economic innovation, in the way of school choice.
Let’s use this anniversary to rededicate ourselves to fighting poverty. We can’t just rely on the inadequate ways of the past to do it; we have to work on new solutions for a more prosperous future.