Fifty years after President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a War on Poverty, the U.S. safety net has proved its mettle by keeping millions of families out of poverty and mitigating hardship for children and families.
The enactment of a strong system of nutrition assistance all but ended extreme hunger and malnourishment in the United States. The enactment of Medicaid is associated with a decrease in the infant mortality rate. Thanks to Social Security, the senior poverty rate today is just one-fifth as high as it would be otherwise and investments such as child care and early education offer families the supports they need to work. In fact, a recent Columbia University study that used an alternative measure of poverty showed that the poverty rate dropped from 26 percent in 1967 to 16 percent in 2012 when safety net programs are taken into account.
For more on this idea, please see:
- Improving Economic Opportunity by Melissa Boteach and Megan Martin