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The federal government is not making much headway reducing poverty despite spending hundreds of billions of dollars, according to a study by the libertarian Cato Institute.
Despite an unprecedented increase in federal anti-poverty spending, the national poverty rate has not declined, the study finds. No real difference now from when Johnson kicked off his "war on poverty" in 1965.
“[S]ince President Obama took office [in January 2009], federal welfare spending has increased by 41 percent, more than $193 billion per year,” the study says.
Federal welfare spending in fiscal year 2011 totaled $668 billion, spread out over 126 programs, while the poverty rate that remains high at 15.1 percent, roughly where it was in 1965, when President Johnson declared a federal War on Poverty.
The study faults the way poverty programs are designed, saying that the increase in spending and largely unchanged poverty rate showed that the issue is not a matter of money, but a matter of what the programs aim to achieve.
“The vast majority of current programs are focused on making poverty more comfortable – giving poor people more food, better shelter, health care, and so forth – rather than giving people the tools that will help them escape poverty.”
Instead, the study recommends refocusing anti-poverty efforts on keeping people in school, discouraging out-of-wedlock births, and encouraging people to get a job – even if that job is a low-wage one.
“It would make sense therefore to shift our anti-poverty efforts from government programs that simply provide money or goods and services to those who are living in poverty to efforts to create the conditions and incentives that will make it easier for people to escape poverty.
In total, the United States spends nearly $1 trillion every year to fight poverty. That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three.
www.cato.org...edit on 25-6-2012 by jibeho because: (no reason given)edit on 25-6-2012 by jibeho because: (no reason given)