Regaining Lost Ground

City Journal, Spring 1994.


In 1968, as Lyndon Johnson left office, 13 percent of Americans were poor, using the official definition. Over the next 12 years, our expenditures on social welfare quadrupled. And, in 1980, the percentage of poor Americans was—13 percent.

Moreover, basic indicators of well-being—participation in the labor force, educational achievement, crime rates, and the like—took a turn for the worse in the 1960s, most consistently and most dramatically for the poor. In some cases, earlier progress slowed; in other cases mild deterioration accelerated; in a few instances advance turned into retreat.

City Journal