An expert on welfare reform says the war on poverty has been a
debacle and has achieved the exact opposite of what President
Lyndon Johnson wanted.
Robert Rector, senior research fellow at The Heritage
Foundation's DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, says
self-sufficiency was LBJ's primary goal in launching the war on
"Lyndon Johnson did not want to increase the number of people
dependent on government aid," Rector points out. "He said rather,
'I don't want to just reduce the symptom of poverty. I want to
eliminate the cause of poverty.'
"He wanted people to be able to support themselves and raise
themselves up out of poverty by their own earnings, not by
government welfare benefits," concludes the Heritage spokesman.
Nearly a half-century later, Rector says more than $19 trillion
has been spent on combating poverty -- and the capacity for
self-support has not changed one bit.
"In fact, we are in exactly the same place we were when the 'war
on poverty' began, and the reason for that is over the long-term,
since the mid-1960s, the welfare state has eroded work ethic and it
has virtually destroyed the married family in low-income
communities," he tells OneNewsNow.
When the war on poverty began, seven percent of American
children were born out of wedlock. Today, that number is 42 percent
-- the bulk of them occurring to women with a high school diploma
or less. Rector says those individuals will have great difficulty
in supporting themselves and keeping that child out of poverty
without chronic receipt of welfare.
"It's been a debacle," he declares. "It's achieved exactly the
opposite of what president Lyndon Johnson wanted when we started