War on Poverty Is Smart Economics

Editor, News-Register:

I applaud Mr. Myer for using such ironclad and verifiable statistics such as “Look around at the number of ‘help wanted’ signs” to back up his bold assertions regarding poverty and the American desire for work. Unfortunately, Mr. Myer (an actual newspaper employee and not a dissatisfied citizen writing to the editor) feels he has the liberty to throw around wild claims about the success of a major government initiative without bothering to fact check it.

According to a study conducted by economists at the University of Columbia, the poverty rate in this country has fallen by 40 percent since the mid-1960s. Programs started under President Johnson including Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and many tax credits for the poor have assisted in not only keeping the poverty level from rising, but have also dramatically reduced it.

It is difficult to explain an economic situation to someone who takes one isolated state-level incident and uses that to make a sweeping generalization about the young people of a nation. It is also simply mind-boggling to think that it is not blatantly obvious that the War on Poverty was a continuation of the New Deal you are so fond of. If you had asserted that liberals simply threw money at the problem with the New Deal, you would be wrong about that for the exact same reasons. One of the core programs in the War on Poverty is the Job Corps, a program that was specifically modeled on the CCC. It is doing much of the same work that the CCC did, and is assisting millions without means to find meaningful work.

Mr. Myer, this “throwing money at the problem” is not just a moral safety net for the less fortunate. It is an investment. It is an investment in those who get degrees because of programs like Job Corps. It is an investment in having as few children born into poverty as possible. Giving as many people as we can an opportunity to contribute to our society is simply smart economics.

David Hammond