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Analysis Of The War On Poverty

948 words - 4 pages

The “War on Poverty”, introduced by former US President, Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address, was the unofficial name for legislation. President Johnson delivered his "War on Poverty" speech at a time of recovery in which the poverty level had fallen from 22.4% in 1959 to 19% in 1964. Critics saw it as an effort to get the United States Congress to authorize social welfare programs. [1] During Johnson’s 1964 Presidential campaign, he often spoke about his vision for America.
He envisioned an America "where no child will go unfed and no youngster will go unschooled; where every child has a good teacher and every teacher has good pay, and both have good classrooms; where every human being has dignity and every worker has a job...."[2] Johnson referred to his vision as the Great Society. He made a commitment to administer a wage on the "war on poverty."
President Johnson introduced a poverty bill, also known as the Economic Opportunity Act, in March 1964. The EOA passed the senate July 23, 1964. It passed the house with amendment then the senate agreed to the house amendment on August 8, 1964. Finally it was signed into law by President Johnson August 20, 1964. The purpose of this bill was to increase a safety net for the poor and unemployed, expand educational opportunities, to tend to the health and financial needs of the elderly, and eliminate poverty.
Critics claimed that "in the war on poverty, poverty won." Political conservatives argued that health programs, child care programs, public assistance, and food subsidies made the poor families weaker.
“Poverty is a national problem, requiring improved national organization and support. But this attack, to be effective, must also be organized at the state and the local level and must supported and directed by state and local efforts. For the war against poverty will not be won here in Washington. It must be won in the field, in every private home, in every public office, from the courthouse to the White House. The program I shall propose will emphasize this cooperative approach to help that one-fifth of all American families with incomes too small to even meet their basic needs. Our chief weapons in a more pinpointed attack will be better schools, and better health, and better homes, and better training, and better job opportunities to help more Americans, especially young Americans, escape from squalor and misery and unemployment rolls where other citizens help to carry them. Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a...

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