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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What LBJ Wrought

After 50 years of his anti-poverty policy, a “tangle of pathologies” has spread dramatically.

Standing on his presidential limousine, Lyndon Johnson, campaigning in Providence, R.I., in September 1964, bellowed through a bullhorn: “We’re in favor of a lot of things and we’re against mighty few.” This was a synopsis of what he had said four months earlier.

Fifty years ago this Thursday, at the University of Michigan, Johnson had proposed legislating into existence a Great Society. It would end poverty and racial injustice, “but that is just the beginning.” It would “rebuild the entire urban United States” while fending off “boredom and restlessness,” slaking “the hunger for community,” and enhancing “the meaning of our lives” — all by assembling “the best thought and the broadest knowledge.”

In 1964, 76 percent of Americans trusted government to do the right thing “just about always or most of the time”; today, 19 percent do. The former number is one reason Johnson did so much; the latter is one consequence of his doing so.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The beginning of the downward slide of our country out of greatness and the beginning of 200 years of minorities voting Democratic (LBJ's words paraphrased) while being willingly re-enslaved to the government.

All of these programs, while ideally positive in nature simply took from providers and gave to non-providers while disincentivizing further productivity. That perverse incentive continues to this day while creating an entitlement culture...which votes for its continuance.

As much as is said about not wanting to be trapped in that machine - there is little visible action by the captors to escape - the cycle must be broken from the outside!