Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson declared “unconditional war” on poverty. Depending on your ideological priors, the ensuing effort was either “a catastrophe” (Heritage’s Robert Rector) or “lived up to our best hopes as a people who value the dignity and potential of every human being” (the White House’s news release on the anniversary). Luckily, we have actual data on these matters which clarify what exactly happened after Johnson’s declaration, and the role government programs played. Here’s what you need to know.
1. What was the war on poverty?
The term “war on poverty” generally refers to a set of initiatives proposed by Johnson’s administration, passed by Congress, and implemented by his Cabinet agencies. As Johnson put it in his 1964 State of the Union address announcing the effort, “Our aim is not only to relieve the symptoms of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.”
2. What programs did it include?
President Johnson signs Medicare into law and makes former president Harry Truman, right, the first enrolls. The effort centered around four pieces of legislation:
• The Social Security Amendments of 1965, which created Medicare and Medicaid and also expanded Social Security benefits for retirees, widows, the disabled and college-aged students, financed by an increase in the payroll tax cap and rates.
• The Food Stamp Act of 1964, which made the food stamps program, then only a pilot, permanent.
• The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which established the Job Corps, the VISTA program, the federal work-study program and a number of other initiatives. It also established the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), the arm of the White House responsible for implementing the war on poverty and which created the Head Start program in the process.
• The solution is to reduce military spending by 3/4, eliminate secret governments, Introduce a unconditional Universal Income, implement a 100% employment program, perpetuate meaningful jobs, create sustainable eco-opportunities. close all the Military Bases world wide. Invest in Sustainable Infrastructure development.
There is only so much one can espouse about the transformation of modern society from a fossil-fuel based economy to a renewable-energy based economy. Adapt a foreign policy of benevolence rather then profit and support of Dictatorships and human rights abuses.
The Partys of Wall Street is primarily the party of international global investors, who do their best to promote globalization and free trade. Elites around the world have bought into it, including the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties in the US, with the expectation that globalization would raise all economic boats, or so they would have us believe. However, this has not happened.
Industrial developments and points to technological processes and connects many of the dots of the myriad disparate energy technologies and how they will coalesce and be deployed in the years ahead. Many global governments not only a vision is but how to take advantage of the economic opportunity since 2007. It remains disappointing that the political climate in the US continues to inhibit a unified energy policy and thus puts the US at a severe competitive industrial disadvantage with countries like Germany, China, Singapore and many others that have been listening and which understand the rich landscape of commercial opportunities ahead and the significant detriment to those countries which aren’t proactively adjusting to those threats ahead. There are several books which go recommended “That Used To Be Us”, “Reigniting Fire” and “The Quest” are some of them. Based on documented job creation in Germany from the solar sector alone, US economists recently projected that, had the US followed a similar solar/ renewable energy vision, we would likely see over 2 million related jobs created. Energy Efficiency carries its own highly compelling ROI. We have clean fuels in our labs now that have an un-subsidized cost per BTU less than that of Natural Gas, and without the carbon emissions.
Since the 1980’s the US Government has promote squalor, unfair and hostile work environments, wage disparity, attack on public education. Anything for the people and the Wall Street Coalition Parties has declared war on it.
Senator Bernie Sanders said, ” The disastrous 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United threw out campaign funding laws that limited what wealthy individuals and corporations could spend on elections. Since that ruling, campaign spending by Adelson, the Koch brothers and a handful of other billionaire families has fundamentally undermined American democracy. If present trends continue, elections will not be decided by one-person, one-vote, but by a small number of very wealthy families who spend huge amounts of money supporting right-wing candidates who protect their interests.”
This process – a handful of the wealthiest people in our country controlling the political process – is called “oligarchy.”
The great political struggle we now face is whether the United States retains its democratic heritage or whether we move toward an oligarchic form of society where the real political power rests with a handful of billionaires, not ordinary Americans.
Clearly, if we are to retain the fundamentals of American democracy, we need to overturn the Supreme Court decision. The fact that more than 500 communities and 16 states have expressed support for overturning Citizens United is a good step forward, but much more needs to be done.
Overturning Citizens United, however, is not enough. If we are serious about elections being fought over ideas, we must move toward public funding of elections.