Essay about Poverty in America

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This year celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the War on Poverty. Initiated by President Lindon B. Johnson, the war aimed to set the standard for a new age of government policy aimed at combating the rising poverty rates in America. Most notably, the speech resulted in Congress passing the Economic Opportunity Act, which formed the Office of Economic Opportunity to distribute federal funds towards impoverished citizens on a state and local level. Since that declaration over fifty years ago, federal spending on antipoverty programs has reached nearly $15 trillion inflation-constant dollars. With all of this spending toward reducing poverty in America, some progress was inevitable. Yet with the poverty rate still hovering at 15% …show more content…
In both scenarios, there are competitors who see little reward, known as the impoverished in our financial society. In order to examine an objective measure of poverty, a formal definition must be present. There are two current measures for evaluating poverty in an economic context. The first tactic, which is the official measure as stated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, bases the official poverty measure on cash resources. Under this measurement system set in place by the Johnson administration at the beginning of the War on Poverty, the official level of cash resources for a family of four to be considered living in poverty was $22,283. Since government assistance programs come in the form of categorical benefits, such as food stamps or income tax credits, these additions to income are not included in this measure. To combat this misunderstanding, a newer, more accurate measure of poverty has taken over as the unofficial measure used in policymaking. The Supplemental Poverty Measure, known as the SPM, retains the same standard of poverty for a family of four, but adjusts the measure to include government assistance as well as cash resources (U.S. Department of Commerce 2013). In 2011, according to the SPM poverty threshold, the number of Americans who lived in poverty was “49.1 million, the largest number in the fifty-two years during which the U.S. Census Bureau has published poverty estimates”

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