Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mike Konczal: 'The War On Poverty Turns 50 Today'

Source:The New Republic- President Lyndon's B. Johnson's cabinet.

Source:The New Democrat

"The War on Poverty turns 50: Mike Konczal on three lessons for liberals today (and more and more). If you dismiss the War on Poverty simply because poverty is still high, then you’re not making a serious argument. Dylan Matthews on everything you need to know about the war on poverty. Jonathan Cohn on how to measure whether LBJ's War on Poverty worked. Igor Volsky on racism, sexism, and the 50-year campaign to undermine the War on Poverty. Paul Krugman on the War over Poverty (and more). Matthew Yglesias on the state of anti-poverty policy in America. Michael B. Katz on how America abandoned its “undeserving” poor: With poverty on the rise in the late 1970s, Reagan conservatives waged war on the needy — and won. GOP leaders want to “own” the issue of fighting poverty; the challenge: Republican voters don’t think poverty is much of a priority. Why does the GOP suddenly “care” about the poor? Alex Pareene on how it's an easy way to look compassionate without changing any policies. Conservatives don’t want to talk about income inequality — that’s why we should. Jonathan Chait on that awkward moment when Republicans have to hurt the poor before they can love them. Robert Reich on why the Republican’s old divide-and-conquer strategy — setting working class against the poor — is backfiring. Why do we care whether the poor work? Claude S. Fischer wants to know. Gordon Haber reviews The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky. Why aren’t the 90% more vocal for policies that would support them?" 

"50 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared a war to defeat poverty in America. Johnson reminded the American people that helping those in need benefits the entire society. Fighting poverty is an ongoing battle in the United States, as millions of citizens of the wealthiest country in the world struggle far too much. And with President Obama making growing income inequality a central issue of his second term in office, President Johnson's call to lift up the poor still rings true today." 

Source:TOC- talking about the so-called war on poverty.

From TOC

I hate to beak this, especially to people who already know this, as if I'm sharing breaking news to them, when I'm really just doing a great impression of Captain Obvious and telling people that water is wet, fire is hot, it snows in Wisconsin in January, and oh by the way, they love cheese and the Packers as well, but when you eligible for government public assistance pre-retirement, you are by government's definition, poor. 

Mike Konczal and all these other so-called Progressives (who are really just closeted leftists or Socialists) who in too many cases call themselves Liberals (even though they're not very liberal at all) have this idea that if government just meets all the economic needs of everyone, or at least meets all the economic needs for people who are in poverty, then those folks are no longer poor. And we can eliminate poverty all together, simply by government meeting all the economic needs for everyone. 

Look, real Liberals already know how to reduce poverty and if you stay on this course you dramatically reduce poverty to the point where our poverty numbers are somewhere where Canada and Europe’s are, which is around ten percent. You need a strong economy for everyone where not just jobs are being created with low unemployment. But a lot of good jobs and without that even for people on public assistance who’ve just finished their education or job training, they won’t be able to find a good job for the most part and may now need to get on Unemployment Insurance.

For people on Welfare Insurance so these people can pay their bills in the short-term as they are improving themselves and getting ready to join the workforce full-time with a good job. And the LBJ War on Poverty got the cash assistance part right. Actually the FDR New Deal did that in the 1930s. And President Bill Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich got the short-term cash assistance part right in the 1990s with Welfare to Work. So people on Welfare get the message and are motivated to finish their education and prepare themselves to go to work. 

If you are on Welfare Insurance and you do not even have a high school diploma, you are going to have a hard time holding down a fast-food job let alone finding yourself a good job that pays all of your bills. And high school dropouts are not uncommon for people on public assistance. So for those without a high diploma or GED, they need to get that. And then they are going to need to take college courses or be in job training programs to get themselves marketable vocational skills. So they have the skills that they need to get themselves a good job and be able to hold on to it. If they already have their high school diploma, well that is good, but now it is time to be in community college. Or a vocational program to further their education.

Last, but definitely not least job placement, but being placed in a good full-time job. That pays them enough to cover their own cost of living expenses and make them able to leave public assistance all together. And one of the beauties of Welfare to Work is that it combined all four of these factors. And we actually did see in the late 1990s and early 2000s and since people who use to be on Welfare going to work with good full-time jobs and a lot of them managing a business. Or even owning their own business which are real rags to riches stories. That if you call yourself a Progressive, you should be celebrating and not trying to put down.

We know what works in reducing poverty in America. We got that down to actually thirteen percent during the Bill Clinton Administration with polices like this. Then Governor Bill Clinton ran on welfare reform when he was running for president in 1991-92. Republicans especially governors had similar ideas in the early and mid 1990s as well. Actually then Governor Mike Dukakis ran on the same welfare reform ideas when he ran for president in 1988. So we know what to do and Liberal Democrats have supported these proposals for almost thirty years now. It is just a matter of getting back to this approach and having a Republican Party that gets back to their roots. Instead of just saying government has no role here.

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