Poverty is a serious issue. I take it seriously and am moved to do what I can to help. I applaud our government for doing the same. But it would seem there are limits to what government can do.
This is a great article by the Brookings Institute. They rightly suggest a focus on three factors that are directly linked to poverty and are under the control of individual Americans:
- Family composition
“Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. President Lyndon Johnson deserves great credit for declaring the war and for skillfully pushing legislation through Congress that established a major set of programs designed to serve the poor. Two cheers for President Johnson. But not three. Johnson’s soaring rhetoric (“For the first time in our history, it is possible to conquer poverty”) is still inspiring, but his prediction that the nation could “conquer poverty” turned out to be false. It is true that poverty declined by 30 percent within five years of Johnson’s declaration of war in 1964, but there has been little progress since the 1960s. For the last two decades, poverty has averaged well above the 12.1 percent achieved when Johnson left office in 1969. For the last three years, the poverty rate has been at or above 15 percent.”
Read more here: The War on Poverty: What Went Wrong? | Brookings Institution