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Mon Apr 21, 2014, 05:44 AM

NYT: 50 Years Into the War on Poverty, Hardship Hits Back

Travis Dove for The New York Times
TWIN BRANCH, W.Va. — When people visit with friends and neighbors in southern West Virginia, where paved roads give way to dirt before winding steeply up wooded hollows, the talk is often of lives that never got off the ground.

“How’s John boy?” Sabrina Shrader, 30, a former neighbor, asked Marie Bolden one cold winter day at what Ms. Bolden calls her “little shanty by the tracks.”

McDowell County, the poorest in West Virginia, has been emblematic of entrenched American poverty for more than a half-century. John F. Kennedy campaigned here in 1960 and was so appalled that he promised to send help if elected president. His first executive order created the modern food stamp program, whose first recipients were McDowell County residents. When President Lyndon B. Johnson declared “unconditional war on poverty” in 1964, it was the squalor of Appalachia he had in mind. The federal programs that followed — Medicare, Medicaid, free school lunches and others — lifted tens of thousands above a subsistence standard of living.

But a half-century later, with the poverty rate again on the rise, hardship seems merely to have taken on a new face in McDowell County. The economy is declining along with the coal industry, towns are hollowed out as people flee, and communities are scarred by family dissolution, prescription drug abuse and a high rate of imprisonment.

Fifty years after the war on poverty began, its anniversary is being observed with academic conferences and ideological sparring — often focused, explicitly or implicitly, on the “culture” of poor urban residents. Almost forgotten is how many ways poverty plays out in America, and how much long-term poverty is a rural problem.

Full story and slideshow at link:

I don't get how West Virginia can continuously vote republican time and time again. They have seen nothing from republicans that even promises anything but more of the same and still they will vote against their own best interest

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Reply NYT: 50 Years Into the War on Poverty, Hardship Hits Back (Original post)
liberal N proud Apr 2014 OP
tech3149 Apr 2014 #1
Autumn Apr 2014 #2

Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 08:56 AM

1. War on Poverty? Really?

It was more like a skirmish. Every effort to really eliminate poverty was stillborn. Any effort put in place was half hearted, underfunded, or easily thwarted.
Much good was done but nothing compared to what is needed.
It pisses me off that WVA is the focus of the story because it has always been a sacrifice zone. It suffers from the resource curse. They pay the price while others take the profit.
Soon we will all be in the sacrifice zone.

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Response to liberal N proud (Original post)

Mon Apr 21, 2014, 09:03 AM

2. I consider it a war on people in poverty.

People that live in poverty take hits from all sides.

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