PLEDGE NOW
War On Poverty At 50 Draws Many Eyes

Our Jan. 8 hour marking the 50th Anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s declaration of a ‘War On Poverty’ in America featured a variety of takes on the not-so-ceremonial date remembering the former President’s call to end American poverty in a generation.

LBJ didn’t totally wipe out poverty, of course — the latest figures peg American poverty at roughly 15 percent of the total U.S. population, give or take a few points. And that rate is controversial – Jordan Weissmann in The Atlantic says we’re wrong to even consider the poverty rate as a mark of economic growth and individual wealth in this country. His colleague, Derek Thompson (a regular on our sister program Here & Now) says the 15 percent rate nevertheless shows we haven’t ‘won’ the war on poverty.

For a more ground-level take on the War on Poverty, NPR reporter Pam Fessler’s pair of stories on Martin County, Ky. — one of many impoverished counties President Johnson visited during his barn storming tour of the country — really bring it home. Her colleage, Mara Liasson, had a great day-after piece tracking the changing politics of poverty throughout U.S. Presidential Administrations of the last 50 years. And Morning Edition’s David Greene had a really delightful conversation with historian and LBJ biographer Robert A. Caro, who made the altogether surprising point that the former President had seen poverty in his own life, making his War on Poverty all the more personal.

Professor Michael Katz of the University of Pennsylvania  offered up this fast and fantastic read on the War on Poverty’s legacy for the Oxford University Press’ blog. Plus, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library is as good a place as any to read up on the history of the Federal anti-poverty campaign.

In the U.S. News & World Report, Danielle Kurtzlebeen points out that 15 percent figure probably misses around six million impoverished Americans, a figure getting a wide work out in academic circles. The very concept of “who counts as poor in America” gets a much-needed write-up in the PBS NewsHour Business Desk by Simone Pathe.

For a more numbers-wonkish approach to poverty rates in America, our guest Melissa Boteach’s work as part of a team at the Center for American Progress is as good a read as any for the history and context of the poverty debate today. A companion report by the C.A.P. on economic opportunity and the social safety net is also a fine read.

A Columbia University study on the poverty line, changes in poverty rates and supplemental insurance policies is a dense but fascinating read for any piqued by our conversation on this anniversary day. And a buzzy New York Times piece by sometimes-On Point guests Annie Lowery and Ashley Parker on efforts by national Republican Party leaders to reclaim fighting poverty as a main political issue in this midterm election year caught our eye this morning as we prepared for the broadcast.

Our suggestions are far from exhausting — on big national policy anniversary days like today, the wealth of media coverage can be overwhelming. Instead, we hope our suggestions offer a nice place to start as you read up on the nitty-gritty details of an issue that’s difficult to grasp.

We want your suggestions, too: what did you read or watch or hear today about the War On Poverty that really made sense to you? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook, Tumblr and @OnPointRadio.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 29, 2015
Residents are evacuated by members of the Houston Fire Department from floodwaters surrounding their homes in Houston, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and closure of sections of highways in the Houston area. (AP)

Texas floods. Soccer scandal. Nebraska outlaws the death penalty. Identity theft at the IRS. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

May 29, 2015
In this March 24, 2002 file photo, John Nash, left, and his wife Alicia, arrive at the 74th annual Academy Awards, in Los Angeles. Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie "A Beautiful Mind,” died in a car crash along with his wife in New Jersey on Saturday, May 23, 2015, police said. (AP)

Remembering a beautiful mind: Nobel –prize winning game theorist John Nash . We’ll look at his game theory. His schizophrenia. His genius.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 29, 2015
In this March 24, 2002 file photo, John Nash, left, and his wife Alicia, arrive at the 74th annual Academy Awards, in Los Angeles. Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie "A Beautiful Mind,” died in a car crash along with his wife in New Jersey on Saturday, May 23, 2015, police said. (AP)

Remembering a beautiful mind: Nobel –prize winning game theorist John Nash . We’ll look at his game theory. His schizophrenia. His genius.

 
May 29, 2015
Residents are evacuated by members of the Houston Fire Department from floodwaters surrounding their homes in Houston, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and closure of sections of highways in the Houston area. (AP)

Texas floods. Soccer scandal. Nebraska outlaws the death penalty. Identity theft at the IRS. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: May 30, 2015
Friday, May 29, 2015

FIFAs gotta FIF, and other highlights from the soccer-filled week of news. Plus, we discuss how none of you really seemed all that concerned about a last-minute topic change.

More »
2 Comments
 
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
2 Comments