On January 8th, Community Action, as a National Network, celebrated its 50th Anniversary.
In many ways, we know that the War on Poverty declared by President Johnson has been successful: we have fewer seniors in poverty and more children with access to education. Every time we see a family save for the future, read together, improve their home or their neighborhood, we know that we are winning the war for those people.
However, over the past 50 years, the American economy has faced challenges and obstacles LBJ could have never predicted. Even though we measure poverty THE SAME WAY; Gas is now $3 a gallon; a Full-Time minimum wage job will not lift a family of three out of poverty; student debt can now follow an adult through their retirement; and for every open full-time job available, there are 3.1 unemployed adults. But in the face of all this, successful programs like SNAP, TANF, Unemployment Insurance and the Earned Income Tax Credit are under scrutiny and attach.
It forces the question: Has the War on Poverty become a War on the Poor?
To add to that debate, KACAP has collated the opinion and editorial pieces from The Hill, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The National Journal and the Non-Profit Quarterly.
1/23/14 UPDATE: In the wake of various celebrations and observations of the 50th Anniversary of the (American) War on Poverty, many continue to ponder how that battle will be won or lost. In the Global battle against poverty, after Bono and the ONE Campaign, there is no great champion for our future than the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The annual letter from that campaign addresses 3 common myths about poverty, motivated by the realization that, as Bill himself writes, "The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful." Read the letter here.