Sunday, February 24, 2008

LBJ lost the war on poverty

claims Jon Henke, and the graphical data he presents is compelling:
Yes, poverty did decline after the introduction of LBJ's War on about the same rate as it declined prior to the introduction of LBJ's War on Poverty.

And then it stopped declining in 1969. At about the same time welfare spending rocketed upward.

I am not suggesting there is a direct causal connection between increased welfare spending and stagnant poverty levels - perhaps there is, perhaps there isn't - but there's certainly more evidence for causality there than there is for causality between LBJ's relatively limited 64-65 programs and the decline in poverty that Krugman cited between 1963 and 1969.

There may be things that can be done to reduce the Poverty Rate in the United States - e.g., training and education - but government redistribution of wealth and welfare subsidies are not among them.

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