Fifty Years After the War on Poverty, Americans Want to Renew a National Commitment

A blog by CHN’s Deborah Weinstein in Philanthropy News Digest:

If your refrigerator is empty and you’re not sure when you’ll be eating your next meal, reflecting on the fiftieth anniversary of the War on Poverty may not be your first priority.  Unfortunately, a recent survey conducted by Half in Ten, an organization dedicated to cutting the poverty rate in half in America by 50 percent within ten years, finds that having trouble paying for necessities is a fact of life for at least a quarter of all Americans.  And more than half of all Americans say that someone in their immediate or extended family is poor.  For millions of struggling families, building a pathway out of poverty is an urgent matter.  Read more.

Citing evidence that policies initiated by President Johnson’s War on Poverty have reduced poverty, this piece also shows that Americans, struggling against economic forces that are pushing them backwards, understand that poverty is primarily caused by systemic problems like the lack of jobs, not poor people’s personal flaws. They believe that government should play a role in further reducing poverty.  All the while, incomes for the richest 1 percent are shooting upwards.