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Paul Krugman reflects on the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty:
The trouble is that the American right is still living in the 1970s, or actually a Reaganite fantasy of the 1970s; its notion of an anti-poverty agenda is still all about getting those layabouts to go to work and stop living off welfare. The reality that lower-end jobs, even if you can get one, don’t pay enough to lift you out of poverty just hasn’t sunk in. And the idea of helping the poor by actually helping them remains anathema.

Will it ever be possible to move this debate away from welfare queens and all that? I don’t know. But for now, the key to understanding poverty arguments is that the main cause of persistent poverty now is high inequality of market income — but that the right can’t bring itself to acknowledge that reality.

The New York Times adds:
The [Republican] party’s reputation for hardheartedness is embarrassing a few prominent Republicans who try to pretend they are interested in the less fortunate. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, for example, wants to “reform” the social safety net. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, wants to expand school vouchers. These are ideological goals meant to camouflage opposition to the important (and popular) anti-inequality agenda of the Democrats. But their insistence on cutting food stamps, refusal to expand Medicaid and hostility to jobless benefits and a higher minimum wage show they don’t really care about people falling from the middle to the bottom.
Much more below the fold.

Ann Stevens and Marianne Page at The Los Angeles Times write about strengthening America's social safety net:

Jan. 8 marks the 50th anniversary of legislation launching America's War on Poverty. The story of that war is often told with a sort of reverse Hollywood ending: oversimplified and wrapped up neatly as a failure. No one can claim that the war on poverty has been won, but the failure narrative is just as wrong. The real story with some fundamental facts highlighted is more complex than simple wins and losses, and long overdue.

First, careful studies confirm that many of the safety net programs initiated with the War on Poverty, such as Head Start, WIC and food stamps (now called SNAP), make a big difference in the lives of the poor. Recent research by economists Hilary Hoynes, Douglas Almond and Diane Schanzenbach shows, for example, that the introduction of the food stamp program improved infant health, especially in high poverty areas where participation rates were highest. Similar benefits have been found for WIC, and for cash-based anti-poverty programs. Gordon Dahl and Lance Lochner have shown that increases in the size of the earned income tax credit are associated with improvements in low-income children's achievement test scores.

These safety net benefits go unrecognized because our official poverty statistics do not measure such noncash or after-tax benefits, nor do they track real outcomes, like improvements in health or education. But the benefits are there, and they need to be taken into account, especially when cuts are being proposed.

Zoe Carpenter at The Nation dissects polling on poverty:
News of falling unemployment, a rising stock market and an end to the recession hasn’t shaken the public’s perception that a vast proportion of Americans can’t meet their basic needs. In fact, Americans see poverty as being far more widely spread than the government does. Asked what percentage of their fellow Americans were living in poverty, the average guess was 39 percent—a sharp rise from the official estimate of 15 percent. Poverty is also a common personal experience, with more than half of respondents reporting that they knew someone who was poor.

When it comes to equality of opportunity, a majority of Americans don’t believe that poor Americans face a level playing field. And when forced to choose between core arguments about the roots of American poverty—that it stems from a flawed economic system, or from personal failings—nearly two-thirds agreed with the structural argument.

At the heart of opposition to safety net programs is the idea that poor Americans are undeserving of assistance, and that they are poor because they are lazy. It turns out that very few Americans polled by CAP support this core principle. Nearly 80 percent agreed that “most people living in poverty are decent people who are working hard to make ends meet in a difficult economy,” including 66 percent of white conservatives and libertarians. The poll showed nearly equal agreement across race and party lines on the point that a shortage of jobs with good wages is the primary reason for poverty in America, and that the poor receive unfair criticism.

Sharon Parrott, Vice President for Budget Policy and Economic Opportunity, CBPP:
The poverty story over the last half-century in the United States is mixed for several reasons.  A much stronger safety net along with factors such as rising education levels, higher employment among women, and smaller families helped push poverty down.  At the same time, rising numbers of single-parent families, growing income inequality, and worsening labor market prospects for less-skilled workers have pushed in the other direction.

Today’s safety net -- which includes important programs and improvements both from the Johnson era and thereafter -- cuts poverty nearly in half.In 2012, it kept 41 million people, including 9 million children, out of poverty, according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM).  If government benefits are excluded, today’s poverty rate would be 29 percent under the SPM; with those benefits, the rate is 16 percent.  Most analysts view the SPM as a better poverty measure than the “official” measure because it’s more comprehensive.  The SPM counts not only cash income but, unlike the official measure, also non-cash and tax-based benefits, such as SNAP (food stamps), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and rental vouchers.  Also unlike the official measure, it accounts for income and payroll taxes paid, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and child care expenses, and it adjusts the poverty line to reflect geographic differences in living costs.

Beyond reducing poverty, alleviating hardship, and giving millions of Americans access to health care, the safety net also generates other important achievements, with research showing that programs such as SNAP and the EITC have long-term positive educational and health benefits for children.  

Nicole Hemmer:
[T]ea party politicians face an uphill battle in their right-wing war on poverty. They have a significant image problem in the wake of the 2012 election, when Mitt Romney's infamous 47 percent comments left the distinct impression Republicans don't care about the poor. Their recent votes to slash food stamp funds and dramatically reduce unemployment benefits did not help change that impression. Moreover, the new poverty warriors have so far only slapped a new label on the same warmed-over policy ideas of the past, like school vouchers and tax credits. Even if the GOP could overcome these issues and create an innovative anti-poverty agenda, getting the base to sign on seems like a tall order.

Yet Republicans know they must do something. The Democrats have front-loaded their anti-poverty agenda with popular proposals. A recent poll found 66 percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage. Majorities likewise approve the extension of unemployment benefits. While the GOP spent much of 2013 displaying a willful indifference to public opinion, the upcoming midterm elections seem to have changed the party's calculus.

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Comment Preferences

  •  remind me again which Prez it was who (15+ / 0-)

    "ended welfare as we know it" . . . . ?

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 04:42:30 AM PST

  •  Martial arts for home defense. (12+ / 0-)

    MMA Fighter Reportedly Fights Off 4 Gang Members in Home Invasion, Killing 1

    The incident happened in the early-morning hours of Jan. 1, according to James Staley of the Las Cruces Sun-News. Two of the four men invading Torrez's home had weapons; one of the men brought a sharp wooden shank, while the other grabbed a knife from the kitchen.

    With his two-year-old son, his fiancee, her sister and another woman present, Torrez allegedly took out two of the attackers while the others fled the scene. Assailant Nathan Avalos was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, while assailant Sal Garces was found dead near Torrez's home.

    According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, the attack could have been premeditated. Torrez allegedly received a threatening phone call where a man told him (via Raimondi), “I’ll kill you and your family...I’ll go to your house.”

    Is it just too unrealistic to expect people to not break into people's houses and assault them?

    Is it?

    Is it just to unreasonable a request?

    And for some reason law enforcement wants to see about punishing this hero with charges for defending hearth and home. So totally American, ya know? 'Sit there and take it' seems to be the message.

    The man trained to fight. He worked on it for years and it paid off when the tacks were down. This is exactly what martial arts training is for: robust self-defense. If some fuckhead happens to buy the farm during his assault on other people, that's what ya get. Don't invade people's homes and you'll stay safe.

    “When he (Torrez) decided to fight, he gave it his all,” McElhinney said. “He was outnumbered. These guys were armed, they were dangerous. His MMA training, his mental toughness contributed. I think that definitely was an edge.”
    This guy is my new hero.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 04:44:00 AM PST

    •  And see? No gun, ma! (6+ / 0-)

      Legal means "good".
      [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

      by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 04:47:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Be careful with that slope though (8+ / 0-)

        You know NRA gun nuts will next be advocating we all have guns to defend ourselves at home.  In fact they already do. This goes to show that you don't need a gun to defend yourself but it would be alot easier, they'll say, if all you had to do was point and shoot.  We both probably know better than that but it won't stop them from saying it anyway.

        BTW I'm glad he kicked their asses.  They got what they deserved.  

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 04:53:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Guns, in my view, are close to useless for home (11+ / 0-)

          defense, given that the odds are you won't have your gun in your hand when the shit hits the fan.

          Martial arts are always there.

          Legal means "good".
          [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

          by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 05:00:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            salmo, wintergreen8694

            If you're a young, healthy professional martial artist. And your attackers don't have guns.

            Let's be honest, if you're not absolutely dedicated to it martial arts aren't goin to work out that well in a situation like this. The vast majority of people aren't going to be able to fight professionally. Nor be able to train enough to do so.
            The average joe taking martial arts classes, even a couple times a week, isn't going to be on that level. Women will also have a harder time. There are reasons sports like MMA are segregated by sex.
            And of course as you get older, sick or injured, you'll be even less effective.

            None of that means martial arts are a bad thing. Most dangerous situations won't involve so many attackers and will often end as soon as any real opposition happens.

            Not that guns are really that much better. As you say, if you're storing them safely, they won't be at hand when you need them.

            The Empire never ended.

            by thejeff on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 05:37:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So you have to be young to be a martial artist? (0+ / 0-)

              I think there are quite a few elderly martial artists who would vehemently disagree.  

              It's funny that you mentioned females too.  I just read a report (don't know how true) where a hairdresser in Russia was being robbed at gunpoint and she was a black belt in Karate.  She kicked the would be robber down, knocking him out and then she tied him down naked.  Unfortunately it turned a bit bizarre after that as she pumped him with viagra and had her way with him for a few days.  

              But I would much rather have even rudimentary martial art skills than a gun safely locked away in some safe in my basement.  the guns won't do jack shit to save me in the event of a break in but my rudimentary skills might.

              This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

              by DisNoir36 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 07:59:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Of course not. (0+ / 0-)

                But if you're older or female, you're not going to be in the same league with a 27 year old MMA professional, no matter how hard you train. For most of us, for whom it isn't a complete obsession or a full time job, we're not going to be close to taking out 4 attackers (two armed) even when we're young and healthy. Especially without getting hurt badly ourselves.

                I mean, it's great that this guy was able to defend himself, but it's not anything like a realistic model for the rest of us.

                Like you said, I'd rather have rudimentary martial arts skills than nothing and guns actually put you more at risk overall, since most people are rarely attacked. I'd rather have a baseball bat close at hand than either. :)

                The Empire never ended.

                by thejeff on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 08:27:51 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Part of the training is knowing when to defend (0+ / 0-)

                  An older and more experienced martial artist and yes even a female would know how to more properly assess the situation and whether or not they could defend themselves against those odds.  We don't even know the scenario.  Did the 4 attackers all attack at once?  Did they enter at the same time?  It's very possible to defend yourself against 4 attackers if they don't all attack you at the same time and you're able to pick them off one at a time.  Heck you could even use the momentum of one against another and take two birds out with one throw.  You don't need a bat either.  A cell phone could be enough of a distraction to allow you to advance in on the attacker.  A desk lamp is blunt enough to do the trick if used as a club.  A pen in the eye is enough to incapacitate someone and allow you to take them out.  A more experienced martial artist will know all these things and which are more effective and so on.  You don't need the brute force of an MMA fighter to defend yourself and take someone out.  

                  This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                  by DisNoir36 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 08:41:37 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I don't get this, zombie (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest

            Youre crowing about a martial arts expert kicking severe ass on 4 guys and wondering why everybody doesn't do that?
            have you ever been in a fight? with how many guys? How much martial arts do you know? Does your wife know? Did your Mom Know?

            I've had a home invasion and I had to deal with it unarmed and through it all I was thinking God I'd give body parts for a .45 right now. Won't tell you what I did because it was illegal but it involved a baseball bat. Like Torrez, I could have gone to jail for it. If he opens up a defense fund, I'm contributing
            I was 35 then and I'm 65 now so I'm not eve going to bother getting physical. Chuck Norris does high kicks, I don't If that happens again, I'm shooting the sumbitch. It'll will be legal here in OR, just like GA.  Youre right its a lot easier and that's from someone who's been in fights and also shot people. (Vietnam '67-'68)

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 07:23:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Admittedly 4 guys is a bit much (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest

              for even someone with ample training.  But part of the training is knowing when to defend yourself and when to back down.  Obviously he felt he could defend himself pretty effectively.  He's still alive after all and no harm befell those in his house.  

              This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

              by DisNoir36 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 08:03:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yes. I have been in fights. (0+ / 0-)

              And yes, I prevailed.

              Im 53, stood my ground with 3 yuoung dudes on Boulevard in Atlanta 2 years ago. They elected to run.

              Martial arts is applied physics.

              I don't own firearms.

              Legal means "good".
              [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

              by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 02:22:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  he stood his ground nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wintergreen8694
    •  he's lucky the intruders didn't have guns (6+ / 0-)

      In a fight between a martial arts master and four gunmen, I'll bet on the gunmen every time.

      But then, the odds that anyone will ever be attacked in their home by a stranger and require self-defense of any sort whatever, is remotely low. No matter how much the home-defense industry tries to play it up to sell alarm systems and handguns.

      PS--This:

      According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, the attack could have been premeditated. Torrez allegedly received a threatening phone call where a man told him (via Raimondi), “I’ll kill you and your family...I’ll go to your house.”
      doesn't square with this:
      Two of the four men invading Torrez's home had weapons; one of the men brought a sharp wooden shank, while the other grabbed a knife from the kitchen.
      People who break into a house with the intent of killing the occupant don't come armed with  . . . um . . .a sharp stick. Or completely unarmed.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 05:21:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A somewhat different lesson should be learned (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thejeff

      Got any idea how hard a professional MMA fighter trains?  How about the percentage of people who would be physically capable of becoming a professional fighter?  I met a few - trust me, even with considerable training, normal human beings are not in their league.  As a lesson to us all, this proves very little.  

      And lets talk a bit about sex and age differences.  Much as I respected and admired the skills and dedication of the women I used to train with, their ability to deliver a blow that would make any real difference to me was limited.  A 100+ pound trained woman hitting or kicking a 200+ pound trained and in shape man is at a distinct disadvantage (especially if he is wearing his cup).  Now, I'm acutely aware, as a senior citizen, that my physical performance has declined.  My training isn't current, my muscle mass is falling away, and my reaction time is much slower.  Where I once dealt with one or two people like those attackers successfully and with confidence, I would lose those fights today.  Want to deal with a home invasion like that without a gun, get a couple of dogs.

    •  Am I missing something? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dazed in pa, Bernie68

      What does any of this have to do with anti-poverty programs or the anniversary of the declaration of the War on Poverty?

  •  1964 Johnson vs Goldweater (5+ / 0-)

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 04:48:06 AM PST

    •  GOP against the Future! (5+ / 0-)

      Can't we just say it?  Since at least the 1960's, the GOP have been whole heartedly, 100% opposed to the future.  Anything having to do with making the world a better place for the majority of people to live and work has been opposed by the GOP.

      My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

      by NM Ray on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 06:39:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting when you click on the other ads (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, JaxDem, Bernie68

      The Dem subjects are Social Security, Medicare, Poverty, Racism.  

      The GOP has communism, a couple of old women, and Krushchev saying, 'we will bury you.'  

      50 years ago Democrats were running on helping citizens to a better life and Republicans were running on fear.

      Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

  •  To the GOP the current sad state of the country (10+ / 0-)

    centers around one issue........Obamacare.

    They got nuthin.

  •  Better education results, better prepared (13+ / 0-)

    workforce, reduced crime. All the reasons for fighting poverty still apply, including the prime reason:

    You don't get to preen about "the greatest country in the world" if you allow children to starve to death.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 04:51:50 AM PST

  •  Folks living poor but voting rich have been (12+ / 0-)

    swindled by Republican rhetoric: "ideological goals meant to camouflage opposition." NYT Unfortunately these folks don't realize that the Republicans, as the NYT Times says, "really don't care."

  •  The evil Rs are good at talking (lying); their (4+ / 0-)

    Racist voters will keep voting for their "brand".

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 04:52:48 AM PST

  •  Florida State Attorney Angela Corey is determined (11+ / 0-)

    to prove she is a flaming witch.

    Motion Filed to Revoke Marissa Alexander's bond

    According to FCN, one condition of her release is that Alexander is to remain on home detention and is not to leave her residence except for special conditions, court appearances or medical appointments, but a motion detector found numerous times that she left her home to run errands.
    According to Marissa's attorney, the Sheriff's Office had approved her request for running errands.

    Now if the woman was out clubbing and drinking I could see it, but grocery shopping and such while taking care of her children?  No way.  Angela Corey is pure evil.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 04:57:40 AM PST

  •  "anti-inequality agenda of the Democrats" (0+ / 0-)

    Really?  Maybe among far left extremist purists.   Not even really Dems at all, though they are obligated to vote for pragmatic centrist Dems.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 04:59:09 AM PST

  •  Dean Baker, Chief Economist at (14+ / 0-)

    the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has a few things to say about people's misconceptions regarding the War on Poverty:

    Polls consistently show the public hugely exaggerates the share of the bugdet that goes to programs like Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or food stamps. They believe that these anti-poverty programs are responsible for a large share of the budget when in reality their impact is marginal. (TANF accounts for about 0.4 percent of federal spending and food stamps account for 2.1 percent.) This is partly due to the fact that these item are always reported as millions or billions of dollars, which are very large numbers that few people can conceptualize. They are rarely reported as shares of the total budget.
    The War on Poverty has not been won.  In fact, it hasn't even been waged since Ronald Reagan's election to the presidency.  It seems the constant blaming for poverty of the people living it will never die.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 05:00:20 AM PST

  •  Top Ten Things Bob Gates was Wrong about (12+ / 0-)
    It is incredible that someone with this astonishing record of reckless policies, some of which were later implicated in the 9/11 attacks and the resulting wars, should be so highly regarded as a policy-maker. He clearly has had second thoughts about many of those policies and has often been a voice of reason in his old age. But his lifetime record is not one that gives him a platform to attack Joe Biden.
    Top Ten Things Bob Gates was Wrong about, Some Criminal
  •  The War on Poverty was a success (5+ / 0-)

    A 10% drop in poverty is a BFD.  Imagine if were allowed to have continued under Nixon and Reagan

    •  I don't think anyone should comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aaraujo, gramofsam1

      on Gates' book until they've read it.  Taking Bob Woodward's word for what it says, or the Washington Post's hurry-up to publish his account, is a fool's errand.  Anything the man wrote can be taken out of context and repeated for ideology's sake, and Woodward is a master of making statements on what someone else thought without virtue of context.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 07:05:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  war on poverty (9+ / 0-)

    I was at a New Year's gathering and heard a rather original viewpoint expressed.  A rather young man said that the big problem he thought we had with our social safety net programs was fraud, and I thought, Oh here we go, more about the lazy undeserving...  But what he went on to say was that in places like Canada where the social service system is there to support everyone, there is no incentive to try to get something you don't deserve.  I thought, Hmm.  I have no idea if that makes any sense, though, because I don't know how countries more committed to public welfare actually administer their systems.  If you can try to game the system to get more than the next guy, then wouldn't there still be fraud?

    NPR ran a story today about Martin County, KY, where the famous photo of LBJ was taken.  Government aid is the largest source of family income in the county, and yet you could still hear people say that it was too easy for someone to start getting a check.  The story was good in that it put a white face on poverty, but disheartening in that even people who get assistance seem to believe that the next person getting it probably doesn't deserve it.

    •  And why means testing Social Security (0+ / 0-)

      is a bad idea.  Once it is means tested it becomes a poverty program to be targeted and slashed.

      I understand what he is saying - if we could stop regarding those who need help as needing to be punished for their need then people wouldn't have to game the system.  They would get what they needed.  Would there be moochers?  No doubt, humans are pretty damn imperfect.  

  •  Rethugs Proudly Making Amerika a Fascist Ghetto (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    with the help of conservative programmable idiots voting against their own interests and those of 99% of the people.

    (The Party of Stupid hates representative democracy, the Constitution, and the Rule of Law.)

  •  If the Dems turn this back into a war on poverty, (6+ / 0-)

    they'll lose.   The middle class is done giving their tax dollars to the rich and the poor.  Which end gets how much of it depends on whether it was under Johnson or Bush.     The only thing they have to show for years of paying taxes is Social Security and Medicare.   Everything else is either a tax cut for the rich or a program for the poor, paid for with their tax dollars.   If they resented it enough to elect Reagan, they won't be any happier under Obama given that they've lost even more:   no jobs, no pensions, no wages, no help with college, and a Democratic President who keeps offering to cut their Social Security.    They need to elevate the middle class and broaden it.   It needs to be bigger and healthier.   That is how you lift people out of poverty.  Raising the minimum wage is also a keeper - it makes companies pay the poor instead of the taxpayers.    

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 05:07:35 AM PST

    •  Yeah, maybe we should cut that part (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, RadGal70

      of Medicaid that pays for nursing home care, which, by the way, is where most of the Medicaid dollars go, and goes to the former middle class.

      I think there is a lag in people's understanding of public assistance. Public assistance pre-Clinton was much more generous. TANF places a cap on the number of years one can receive public assistance.

    •  People are lifted out of poverty when (13+ / 0-)

      they're put to work.  If the Republicans really wanted to reduce expenditures for government support payments, they would embrace programs to create jobs.  The infrastructure of this country is crumbling, from roads and bridges to maintenance of our public spaces (parks and memorials, sidewalks and trails), and 21st century access to broadband.  There is plenty of work to be done and extremely low interest rates for borrowing the money to do it.  There is also a needy and willing workforce to accomplish the tasks.  The problem is profit.

      There is no profit in repairing roads and bridges or maintaining public spaces.  Paying everyone from engineers to ditch diggers to do the work doesn't yield a return on investment, so the private sector won't make the necessary investments.  It falls to the public sector, and right now the public expenditures for such investment is stymied by a congress that refuses to spend the money to meet the needs both of workers and the tasks to be accomplished.

      This is what my mother means when she talks about people's being "penny wise and pound foolish."

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 05:45:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. (0+ / 0-)

        All I'm saying if you want to seal the deal, the approach is a bigger and healthier middle class.   The American Dream is the pathway to the middle class, not a hedge fund manager or not a no longer starving poor person.

        What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

        by dkmich on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 11:04:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  voters support fighting poverty until $$ are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LI Mike, wintergreen8694, Stude Dude

    My sense is that voters in the abstract recognize that government can be a tool for good in trying to fight poverty - but when the $$ costs of specific policy proposals are made clearer some of those voters peel away and no longer support the government remedies.

    •  The problem is, the $$ costs of specific policy (4+ / 0-)

      proposals is not being made clear, and certainly not being compared to the costs of programs NOT being made at all.  See my post above regarding Dean Baker's explanation of how the media and Republican leaders are presenting the costs to the general population and how those presentations are misleading at best and downright dishonest at worst.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 05:51:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree with the NYT. (9+ / 0-)
    The [Republican] party’s reputation for hardheartedness is embarrassing a few prominent Republicans who try to pretend they are interested in the less fortunate. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, for example, wants to “reform” the social safety net. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, wants to expand school vouchers.
    They're not embarrassed in the least.  They're simply using the rhetoric to try and pass the same old crap they've been trying to pass all along.  "Reform" the social safety net = Cut the social safety net.  'expand school vouchers' = move public funding away from public schools and into the pockets of for profit charter school shareholders.

    No embarrassment, no shame, no change.  The same old ideology, just wrapped in slightly different words.

  •  "High inequality of market incomes [Krugman]" (5+ / 0-)

    is the guiding principle of the Republican Party, because it's the party of the 1% and corporate wealth (which sponsors a reality show known as the Tea Party). Inequality of market income is corporate America's golden goose for profit, since it means they never have to "overpay" for lower skilled labor. Yes, you have to pay, say, an engineer relatively more to get what you need out of them (but, still, the idea is to pay as little as possible for the level of skill required), but why pay serious money to stock shelves when plenty of people can do that?  The Republicans will never do anything serious about poverty since it would make low-skilled labor more expensive and thereby cut into corporate wealth. They don't care, and whole Republican noise machine is designed to help us feel good about not caring (the poor are just "takers," etc.)

    Frankly, the center and right of the Democratic Party is also corporate and is only better on poverty issues compared to the Republicans, since the Democratic coalition includes groups who do not benefit from the "magic" of income inequality.

  •  Not only do republicans want to destroy, (8+ / 0-)

    The Social safety net but they want to make Democrats complicit in the action so their actions can't be used as a campaign issue. The sad thing is many Democrats are willing to cooperate.

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 05:13:21 AM PST

    •  We have too many Democrats (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, Laconic Lib

      too willing to protect Wall Street from Main Street.
      Our New York Democrats are probably the worst in the bunch (with the exception of Kirsten Gillibrand, perhaps), New Jersey's not far behind.

      Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

      by skohayes on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 05:48:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The GOP has replaced the War on Poverty.... (5+ / 0-)

    ... with the War on the Impoverished (well, more accurately, the War on the Non-Extravagantly Affluent).

  •  The War on Poverty didn't fail but it didn't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    accomplish all that needed to be accomplished for one simple reason.

    In two areas, Unionism and Welfare, it went too far and allowed the country in retaliation to embrace the Far Right Agenda of a charming Idiot known as Ronald Reagan.

    Now it appears that the Far Right has itself gone too far and we can only hope that when the over due backlash finally gains momentum this time we don't once again go too far.

    We need a country that looks after the best interests of all its people not just particular groups which is what we have now.

    •  And now we have unions barely hanging on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintergreen8694, SueDe, Laconic Lib

      and income equality chasing right behind the de-unionizing of America.

      •  I agree this is wrong and it sould not have (0+ / 0-)

        happened but it also would not have happened if the Unions when they were on top didn't demand much more than they were entitled too.

        Now they have much less than they are entitled to.

        Neither system is good.

        Look to Germany for a more logical system.

        •  Unions, both public and private (4+ / 0-)

          have given up far more in benefits and pensions than any Joe Schmo working for himself at the XYZ Corporation.
          I can't imagine what would happen if my company came to the workers and said "You have to agree to a 10% cut in wages and benefits, even though they were promised to you, and you can't have a raise for the next 5 years. All of this is so we can pay our shareholders and CEO more."
          Union contracts are negotiated between two parties, agreements are reached and promises made. The fact that states, in order to keep their budgets balanced, illegally failed to fund pensions, or reneged on covering health insurance seems to be a problem the states created, not the unions.

          Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

          by skohayes on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 05:54:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  To go back and paraphrase Frederick Douglas. It (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4mygirls, wintergreen8694

            all about Power.

            And then to Lord Acton - All Power Corrupts which leads to its own demise.

            We can ride this roller coaster forever or we can try reason, logic and common sense to achieve a fair balance between two very important sections of our economy.

          •  Well said. Somehow, it became common wisdom that (7+ / 0-)

            pensions and benefits weren't part of the workers' wages. They were just gifts, the cherry on top that the employer had every right to put back on his own sundae. This even comes into play in the dust-up about the ACA and birth control. The employer "pays for it" and "gives it to you" instead of the employee "earning" it and having control over how it is used, just like the rest of the paycheck.

            Oh for crying out loud!

            by 4mygirls on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 06:20:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  this is the thing the union-bashers tend to forget (5+ / 0-)

            whenever they weep and whine about union workers "getting too much"--on EVERY union contract there are TWO signatures. One from the union, and one from the company.

            No union contract ever in the history of the USA has ever given its members anything, of any sort, that the company did not negotiate and agree to.  Nothing.  At all.  Ever.

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 06:54:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am not trying to bash Unions - Just trying to (0+ / 0-)

              point out that in the long run things would have been better for ththem if they had not weilded their power so relentlessly in the years leading up to the emergence of Europe and Asia as low cost high quality manufacturers.

              They got too greedy and ended up with very little

        •  that would be Germany where the unions have (4+ / 0-)

          always been far more powerful (they have legal representation on the corporate Board of Directors and help set corporate policy) and where union workers have ALWAYS been paid more and have better benefits that those in the USA.

          Right?

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 06:50:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Unions, in the U.S., have NEVER been "on top". (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stude Dude, RiveroftheWest

          It was a mighty, decades-long struggle for most workers just to have the right to organize & bargain collectively. Up until the 1930s, most attempts at labor organization were met with court injunctions, repression, imprisonment & violence. Until the enactment of the Wagner Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act & unemployment insurance, bills that were part of the "Second New Deal", the power of employer over employees was pretty close to absolute. And many provisions of the Wagner Act, considered the "magna carta of labor", was severely weakened by the Taft-Hartley Act (passed after Republicans were swept into power in the elections of 1946). Even now, unemployment insurance is under concerted attack from the right (just as "welfare" was during the 1990s).

          It simply isn't true that unions were ever such a powerful force that they needed to be curbed for the good of the country as a whole. But it's been repeated so often that a critical mass of people have come to believe it.

  •  It has become a War against the poor (3+ / 0-)

    The GOP led Congress has turned the original war against poverty into a war against the poor. Unemployment benefits cut, food stamps taken away. This will not enable poor to make a come back and contribute to our society. Only a society that identifies and fosters all its talents will be able to stay competitive.

  •  Epigovernment is Responsible for the (0+ / 0-)

    ever increasing plague of poverty. A plutocracy always plunders the people.

  •  I don't know were unemployment is falling, but is (0+ / 0-)

    isn't around here.

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