The end has been expenditures, by some estimates, of some $20 trillion dollars and a poverty rate today hardly different from where it was when Johnson declared his war 50 years ago.
About a year and half after Johnson made his “war on poverty” speech, he gave the commencement address at Howard University in Washington, DC and said:
“The family is the cornerstone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale, the community itself is damaged.”
When Johnson spoke those words in 1965, about 70% of white adults were married compared to 55% today. About 60% of black adults were married, compared to 31% today. In 1965 25% of black babies and 5% of white babies were born to unwed mothers compared to 72% and 29% today.
Johnson’s promotion of government as the source of life’s answers, and his split between politics and personal morality, contributed mightily to the breakdown of the American family that he knew was vital to our society.
Politics and political rhetoric is no substitute for personal morality. Worth keeping in mind as we watch the scandal unfold in Chris Christie’s regime in New Jersey.