Comment on: A Brief Note on the “War on Poverty”

So if transfers reduce poverty but those on the programs never become self-sufficient is that a win?  Bob Murphy says no, but I’d say yes.  Social Security has been most successful in reducing poverty, but those on the program are unlikely to become young and rich.  The program is not a failure.  What say you?


To pick just one prominent example, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers issued a report that contained the following chart:

Yet hang on a second: Surely to actually “win” the War on Poverty would mean that the government could stop spending money, because every household were self-sufficient. The criterion can’t be, “After you account for how much money we’re still throwing at it, the net result is better.”

Switch to an actual military context to see my point. Suppose after Pearl Harbor, the federal government declared war on Japan. Further suppose that 50 years later, U.S. and Japanese forces were still engaged in massive naval battles in the Pacific, and in fact the Japanese had more ships and aircraft than at the start, though they had been pushed back about a third of the distance toward Japan and away from Hawaii. Wouldn’t it be time to declare, “This is not at all working” and sue for peace?

A Brief Note on the “War on Poverty”
Bob Murphy
Wed, 08 Jan 2014 21:35:21 GMT


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