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War on Poverty in Poverty

Waron Poverty in Poverty

Waron Poverty in North America

In1964, the then president, Johnson Lyndon avowed to start a long anddetermined fight to alleviate poverty. He introduced ingenuities toincrease job creation, better education and access to infrastructureFifty years down the line, over 22 trillion dollars have been spenton anti-poverty programs, yet the progress against poverty has beenminimal, and the war on poverty in most parts of America hascontinued to be a major challenge. Moreover, while there is stillmuch more work to do, America has reformed and strengthened theprograms and achieved a significant decrease in poverty levels(Endsall, 2013).

Thepoverty level in an economy heavily affects the healthy developmentof a nation`s economy. Throughout the various administrations in theUnited States, the war on poverty made way for the foundation ofantipoverty programs such as Supplemental Nutrition AssistanceProgram dubbed SNAP, head start, Medicare and expanded socialsecurity that has gone a long way in keeping millions of families outof poverty.The efforts of the American Government to eradicatepoverty by providing food and free education, and setting up astatutory minimum wage within some poverty alleviation programs, thewar on poverty in the region has not been without problems (Mohan,Goldman 2011). This paper seeks to evaluate some of these antipovertyprograms, why fighting poverty in America has been made hard and thesystemic challenges that need to be resolved to lower the povertylevels.


Policymakers,when deliberating poverty in the U.S, always refer to two mainmeasurements. There is the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) developedby Mollie Olshansky. He established the Official poverty thresholdbetween 1963-1964, a time when the section of agriculture had aportion of food strategies that had been obtained using the 1955Household Food Consumptions survey that was later found to bedefective (Fisher, 1992). It was first used in 1963 and has sinceserved as the basis for official poverty threshold. There is also SPM(Supplemental Poverty Measure) which is a much more inclusive measureof poverty that integrates tax payments and family income estimatesin measuring poverty. Further, it gives information on the role ofincome and effectiveness of work in lifting families below thepoverty lines. With such measures in place, nothing can go wrong inpredicting the well-being of the economy and providing a deeperunderstanding of policy effects.


Povertyhas remained a threat, and America has been facing challenges infighting poverty in the various states. A report released by GAO inthe United States has it that poverty in the region is affecting thehealth conditions of people living in the states. Poor people have anincreased exposure to hazardous environmental practices and engagingin risk behaviors that affects health and have a negative impact onthe economy (Sutton, 2015). The effort used by the government toraise the living standards of the people, explicitly indicates thepoverty level to be high among children and women. Due to poverty inthe region, people have been eating suspiciously tasty and unhealthyfood and increase use of drugs to cope with stress (Sutton, 2015).According to Hinton (2016), high level of unemployment in a regioncan lead to more mental illnesses, social exclusion and an increasein crime.

Evaluatingthe Efforts of Antipoverty Efforts

Theseare programs that have been put in place by the government to fightpoverty. These programs are intended to keep millions of families outof poverty, make the American dream realizable, and make educationaccessible. They include food stamps, head start, Medicare and socialsecurity.

Thefact that the poverty rates have fallen suggests that the antipovertypolicies have played an enormous role in refining the well-being ofthe deprived (wimer Et Al 2013). The proportion of families thatwould have returns below the scarcity line if the taxes in-kind andcash received were not factored, would have been higher if thegovernment programs were not in place. Referring to the work ofIceland (2013), it is evident that most of the programs that are putin place to fight poverty are not working and have little effect oneradication of poverty. The management and control team shouldappreciate the increasing volume of food stamp assistance and theultimate effect. The officials implementing stamp food programshould focus their concerns on establishing subpopulations thatrequire assistance and which sub-populations will benefit from thevarious programs in place.

Foodstamp (Hereinafter referred to as SNAP), a federal-funded program,plays a significant role in maintaining the essential needs of thepoor with low income, including individuals and households. There hasbeen an increase in the number of people relying on food stamp, andit goes to show how unsuccessful the fight against poverty has been.Food stamp refers to the situation where individual are not able toget what to eat and as a result they on relief food. The food stampswere created by the Congress in 1964 to offer monthly incomes to thefamilies with kids and struggling to provide food. And further, inthe years preceding 1966, the Congress set up school lunch programand special incremental food programs for kids and women.The programcontinues to a very efficient tool of eradicating poverty and hungerin the United States. SNAP has been able to improve nutrition andchild health and development. Today, despite the fact that food stamp(SNAP), many Americas still struggle with hunger. The program has notbeen adequately able to meet the needs of people. In 49 millionpeople including sixteen million kids who struggle with starvation,SNAP was only able to keep only 5 million people out of poverty andconsequently hunger.

Povertyamong children and the elderly

Povertyamong children in America has been maintained at a higher level, andthere are indications to show that it will continue to increase.According to Hinton (2016), poverty among children in the countryshows an increasing trend than any other social cluster in thecountry. It has remained at a higher level in comparison to otherdeveloped states across the globe. Research has it that, at least onechild out of four faces acute poverty and most of them depend on foodstamp and government programs. The well-being of the government inthe region has remained pivotal to children. Stricker, (2014),reckons that to fight poverty in America the agencies shoulderadicate the ineffective programs and implement the ones that bearthe interests of the children at heart (Burney et al., 2015).

Therate of poverty among Children nowadays is higher than the overallrate of poverty of the total women population. But as SPM shows, kidsare unreasonably assisted by the programs that fight poverty such asSNAP, and were the in-kind handovers and taxes taken intoconsideration. A recent formal measure that child paucity rate in theyear 2012 was 22.3% that was 485 higher than the overall rate. Thisofficial measure, however, does not factor in the importantcontribution of Anti-poverty programs for children such as EITC andSNAP. Coming to the adults, I could say that the government hassucceeded in reducing poverty among the elderly in the society. Poverty rates among the elderly were the highest in 1959, sitting at36.9 percent. Today, SPM measures show aging scarcity at 14.8 percentwhich is 50% higher than the official poverty measure. The percentagewould drop to 8.4 percent if the medical costs were subtracted.

Employmentand Access to Education

Unemployment,unsurprisingly, is one of the strongest predictions of poverty. 55%of persons in households, in 1959, where the person in charge of thehouse was out of job for a year it was projected that the family waspoor compared to a family where the head operated at least one weekfor the whole year. And while this proportion has reduced to 29.2percent, people in the families where the superior was away from thejob for one year were still three times more probable to be poorcompared to those in homes where the head works. Today, however,full-time occupation is not an assurance that a family will be keptout of poverty. Research has it that, a full-time working person in2013 paid a minimum wage of 14,500 dollars will leave such a workerbefore the below the poverty verge even if they have one kid. Whileother benefits such as SNAP given by the government to help the pullthe family from poverty, for a bigger family, for example one withfour kids, full-year least wage joined with government support isunlikely to suffice to pull the family out of the poverty level.

Therole of education in eradicating poverty has developed to be crucialover time. Education is undoubtedly one of the most significant waysthat we can recover opportunity for all Americans. High school dropouts, were as at 1959, 3.8 times more probable to be poor compared tothe graduates. The growth in shortage gap by education is mainlydriven by the rise in earnings inequality which explains the moreearnings by the graduates than for those with less education. Thegovernment has to find a way to lift the burden on students to ensurethat cost does not affect studying. That way, many students who startschool will not drop out but will clear school and add value to theeconomy.


Individualsand families have been known to lift themselves from poverty whenthere is high economic mobility. When economic mobility is low,people become stuck in poverty because it is difficult for one tochange his or her financial status.

Mobilityis measured either as an absolute or relative mobility. Whileabsolute mobility connotes the possibility of improving theeconomic-well-being without affecting the income distribution,relative mobility connotes the alteration of the income distribution.As such, where there is relative mobility, on one hand, there islittle or no opportunity to improve the social life for the poor(Lochner, 2012). Where there is low absolute mobility, on the otherhand, poor people remain trapped in poverty. Half of the deprivedindividual remain in the lowest revenue distribution even after 20years, and just a few of them make it to the top earners (Auten etal. 2013).The bitter truth is that America has a lower mobility thanthe other advanced countries if the forte of dependence of kid`sincome on parent`s income is anything to go by (Corak, 2011). Weshould focus more then on educating our children as education is oneof the key pillars that propels economic mobility (Haskins, 2008)


Thereis no doubt that the programs created in the fight against povertyhave provided immense support to the American Economy. There arechallenges. In 2012, it was estimated that 49.2 million Americanslived below the poverty line. This is troubling statistics for anation that has one of the best economies. It is clear that theprograms work, but much more effort is needed to lower the povertylevels further. We must appreciate that, while the antipovertyprograms run by the government are responsible for lifting familiesbelow the poverty line we should develop long-term policies asopposed to short term to stimulate stronger economic growth. We muststrive a balanced economy that benefits everyone and brings with itlifelong learning skills. Moving forward, we cannot afford to embraceany other antipoverty program that is tossed to us by Economist. Wemust have sufficient evidence that the program carries with itenormous changes in public policy.


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