Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty’ still a political battlefront
SOCIAL WELFARE » 5 decades later, President Johnson’s programs are still a political battlefront, and, while poverty has not disappeared, supporters say it might have been worse without initiatives.

< Previous Page

"In those areas, kids grow up thinking they don’t have any economic prospects," Steagall said. "You get a psychological thing coming into play. They don’t think they can share in the American Dream."

Without education and economic opportunity, poverty can prevail from generation to generation despite government programs, said Paul Schvaneveldt, chairman of Child and Family Studies at Weber State. He is among researchers working with Workforce Services on how to break the cycle of "intergenerational poverty."

At a glance

LBJ’s War on Poverty goals:

Accelerate economic growth, maintain high employment, fight discrimination, improve regional economies, rehabilitate urban and rural communities, improve labor markets, expand educational opportunities, enlarge opportunities for youth, improve the nation’s health, promote adult education and training, and assist the aged and disabled.

Source: “Legacies of the War on Poverty,” the Russell Sage Foundation.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Since LBJ’s historic 1964 State of the Union address, far more families — almost three times as many, according to the census bureau — are single-parent households with no male breadwinner. Of that group, 48 percent live in poverty, he said. And the female offspring in those families have a higher rate of teenage pregnancy than two-parent homes, leading to one generation after another locked in poverty,

"It can be difficult to break that pregnancy pattern," Schvaneveldt said.

Key to breaking the poverty cycle is early and continued education, he said. Without it, young adults are shackled to a lifetime of low-wage jobs.

"Historically, you could get a job in manufacturing and support a family," he said. "Today that is more difficult and labor salaries have not kept pace [with inflation and the cost of living]."

Wrenching change • LBJ could not have imagined in 1964 the United States of 2014, where workers have been replaced by technology, the U of U’s Perlich noted. "Entire categories of jobs have been wiped out."

Even workers with education and specialized training have not gained economic ground over the past three decades, she said. "Middle-class people have been treading water since 1983."

There is a clear trend toward "economic inequality," helped along by tax policies for corporations, a dwindling labor movement and the drive for short-term profits.

story continues below
story continues below

"This has been a horrible, wrenching period for many Americans," Perlich said.

And the War on Poverty slogs on.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.