"Very few, if any, had poverty or homelessness in their life's plan. Generational poverty traps many. What am I saying? Even though we will never 'win' the War on Poverty in this country, we can continue to make progress."
In the first part of Mark 14:7, Jesus tells us that the "poor will be with us always". That was not a statement which allowed us to ignore the poor - it was rather just a fact. And history has proven Jesus correct. In the past two thousand years since Jesus was with us, we have always had poor people.
Fifty-five years ago in January of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson saw that our national poverty rate was nineteen percent. To him, that was beyond unacceptable. He decided we needed legislation and a massive program to fix it. Under Johnson's Great Society Program, he convinced Congress to pass the Economic Opportunity Act. This allowed the full force of the federal government, using the newly created Office of Economic Opportunity, to go to war against poverty in the United States.
Yesterday, when addressing our War on Drugs, it was disclosed we have spent over a trillion dollars since 1974 fighting this losing battle against drugs. Turns out that is chump change compared to the War on Poverty. Since 1964, this nation has spent over 15 trillion dollars on poverty programs! And what did we get in return for spending all that money? Turns out, very little until 2016. We did knock our poverty level down from 19% to 15% prior to 2016. However, in the two short years of the Trump Administration, the poverty rate has come down to under 13%.
Even though we have people in this country who still quality as "poor", what does that really mean? First off, poor is a relative term. Poor in this country is really not poor on a world stage. For example, according to a 2014 Brookings Institution report, the War on Poverty has been fought and won. Huh? If we put our poor against all the people on Earth, there is no poverty in America. We are all doing just fine, thank you.
However, according to the nation's loudest and most obnoxious self appointed socialist (that would be AOC), she thinks the difference between rich and poor in this country is horrible. So much so, our billionaires are "immoral". We need to even out the playing field by using a hyper progressive tax rate of 70%. That will fix the disparity between rich and poor. Heck, it did so in Venezuela. Now everyone in that country is poor. And many are hungry, some starving.
Back to the question at hand. Can we win the War on Poverty? With a poverty level of slightly under 13%, this might be as good as it gets. So we reduced our poverty level from 19% to 13%. And it only cost this nation 15 trillion dollars. With a population of 325,000,000, that equates to about $45,000 for every man, woman and child in this country. Was it worth it?
One final word about poverty, so I don't get hate mail. My wife and I have dealt with people who are impoverished, as well as people who are homeless. Very few, if any, had poverty or homelessness in their life's plan. It just happened. Also, generational poverty traps many. What am I saying? Even though we will never "win" the War on Poverty in this country, we can continue to make progress. To ameliorate some of the suffering.
Giving to organizations like the Union Gospel Mission can change lives. It is a great charity with an excellent track record. However, giving to an organization like World Vision can save lives. Yes, poor people in this world still die from starvation, dehydration, and preventable diseases. The opportunities to help reduce poverty, both near and far, are endless.