Robert J. Samuelson: War on poverty? We won! And we lost

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  • Alfred Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 21, 2014 12:39 a.m.

    The war on poverty will not be won until this country (1) stops illegal immigration, and (2) stops shipping jobs overseas. Will that ever happen? Not under the current administration.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 8:36 a.m.

    The solution is personal behavior. Imagine if 95 perrcent of kids graduated from high school. Imagine is 70 percent of black children, 50 percent of latino chidren and 30 percent of white children were not born to single mothers. Imagine if men acted like men and supported their children. While there are situations that can put one in poverty (disability, unemployment, etc.) The vast majority is caused by personal behavior. If personal responsibility were more common, poverty would not be. Unfortunately, it is the children who bear the brunt of decisions that others made.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 6:33 a.m.

    If the war on poverty means we don't as a rule have hungry children or otherwise in the United States, the war has been won. If it means there are no longer people who need assistance, then it hasn't been won.

    So long as our society can pay corporate executives tens of millions of dollars per year, especially regardless whether or not they do a good job, I'm certain we can find the money to help those down on their luck and their children to get food, shelter and decent medical care.

  • grouchyoldman Arden, NC
    Jan. 15, 2014 5:08 a.m.

    Until we come to the realization that poverty and homelessness is a "state of mind not a state of being" there will be no solution.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 14, 2014 6:10 p.m.

    The war on poverty has become a war on the poor, as Republicans insist on cutting every single program that's intended to help them--including educational loans, TANF, SNAP, veteran benefits, Medicaid, etc. Do Republicans really believe that making their lives harder will somehow "enable" the poor? Regardless of what we do, 10-15% of the population will always struggle because of illness or disability or just bad luck. We can help them or abandon them.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 6:06 p.m.

    "..teach a man to fish". Maybe one can make their own crude pole and fashion bait; but you still got to get to where the fish are; and you have to buy a license. In this IT age, we should be able to connect manpower with jobs, better; and training/education is vital. Government and business need to work together. Progress is being made; more is needed.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 4:39 p.m.

    during the 1930's and even into the 1950's there existed the CCC program (Civilian Conservation Core). My dad participated for a time building roads in Wyoming. This program took men who were out of work or struggling and gave them the opportunity to WORK and LEARN new skills. The pay was fairly low but the work experience and the self esteem were priceless. These men did all sorts of out door projects from building roads and dams to doing needed conservative projects for the Forest Service. My dad learned how to operate heady equipment which eventually led him to work for UDOT. It is these kinds of programs that are so badly needed today....not HAND OUTS!!! Again - this is all about teaching men how to fish rather than giving them a fish for the day which is opposite what the Democrat party is all about.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 11:57 a.m.

    I'm a life-long Republican. I don't think previous commenters actually read what Samuelson reported: the poverty has not changed.

    Meanwhile, neither Robert J. Samuelson nor the previous commenters offer any solutions. Isn't that what we Republicans have become known for? Criticizing but not offering any solutions? At least Samuelson acknowledges the "stalemate" - the tension between too much "help" and not enough. The tragedy of the GOP is this attitude of blaming the government and/or blaming poor people themselves -- that is what gets us the reputation of being heartless.

    Poverty is a complicated problem that requires complicated solutions from complex (rather than simplistic) thinkers. We can only hope that the GOP has some thoughtful, intelligent folks coming up in the party ranks. If not, we may be in for a long season of continuing to be marginalized.

    Following the advice of Castellanos, Ryan, Rubio, Lee and others have started talking about poverty, but they mostly want to move anti-poverty efforts to the States. As if State governments are any more effective and less corrupt than the Federal government?

    We need real answers, not more rhetoric.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    The amount of money spent on this so called war, which is unwinnable with current tactics, we could have paid off peoples mortgages. No not everyone, but, a good number of US citizens could have owned their homes free and clear.

    If not that, then cut their home loan in half, refinance and now they have more income coming in. Instead we're giving little hand outs to the sum of $300-1000 for each household.

    Oh well, if the problem were solved then democrats would be out of job themselves. Sometimes you have to drum up demand....

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 14, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    Sounds like we succeeded in "giving a man a fish" but failed to teach him how to fish.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    FACT: The poverty index has gone way up under Obama.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 14, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    The so called war on poverty only succeeded in creating a permanent underclass of dependency! Welfare, as administered by the government, does not remove people from poverty, it practically guarantees they will remain in poverty. The numbers don't lie! People can only permanently remove THEMSELVES from poverty by changing the reasons they are poor; addictions, poor choices, lack of education and job skills, having children out of wedlock, and yes, in some cases, laziness!