Book on poverty offers some solutions

By Alysa Landry
Special to the Times

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2014

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Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a "War on Poverty" in a massive, nationwide effort to improve access to economic resources.

Johnson announced the initiative in January of 1964, during his annual State of the Union address, saying, "Our aim is not only to relieve the symptoms of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it."

The initiative, passed by Congress and implemented by Johnson's Cabinet agencies, sought to improve access to education, health care, skills and jobs for those struggling to make ends meet.

It included unprecedented pieces of legislation like the Social Security Amendments of 1965, which created Medicare and Medicaid, and the Food Stamp Act of 1964.

The White House is using the 50th anniversary of Johnson's declaration as a yardstick to gauge how much progress has been made.

But even as federal reports tally drastic improvements in poverty – a decline of more than one-third since 1967 – much of Indian Country remains disadvantaged, with unemployment rates as high as 60 percent and economic opportunities scarce.

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