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  • Commentary posted September 23, 2014 by Robert Rector The War on Poverty: 50 years of failure

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's launch of the War on Poverty. In January 1964, Johnson declared "unconditional war on poverty in America." Since then, the taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson's war. Adjusted for inflation, that's three times the cost of all military wars since the American Revolution. Last year, government…

  • Commentary posted September 18, 2014 by Robert Rector Miscounting Poverty Again: The War On Poverty After Fifty Years

    Today the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual poverty report. The report is noteworthy because this year is the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s launch of the War on Poverty. But this morning, the Census Bureau reported that 14.5 percent of Americans were poor in 2013. This is essentially the same rate as in 1966, two years after the War on Poverty was…

  • Backgrounder posted September 15, 2014 by Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield The War on Poverty After 50 Years

    This week, the U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release its annual poverty report. The report will be notable because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. In his January 1964 State of the Union address, Johnson proclaimed, “This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in…

  • Commentary posted August 6, 2014 by Robert Rector Welfare State Grows as Self-Sufficiency Declines

    For the past 50 years, the government's annual poverty rate has hardly changed at all. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of Americans still live in poverty, roughly the same rate as the mid-1960s when the War on Poverty was just starting. After adjusting for inflation, federal and state welfare spending today is 16 times greater than it was when President…

  • Commentary posted January 7, 2014 by Robert Rector How the War on Poverty Was Lost

    On Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson used his State of the Union address to announce an ambitious government undertaking. "This administration today, here and now," he thundered, "declares unconditional war on poverty in America." Fifty years later, we're losing that war. Fifteen percent of Americans still live in poverty, according to the official census poverty…

  • Commentary posted September 23, 2013 by Robert Rector News Flash! Food Stamps Need Reform

    In a recent NRO article, Henry Olsen charges that the Heritage Foundation is leading a “conservative war on food stamps” that will take “food from the mouths of the genuinely hungry.” He declares this the “most baffling political move of the year.” A bit of background is in order. Food stamps are merely the tip of a much larger iceberg. In 2012, government spent $916…

  • Issue Brief posted June 24, 2013 by Robert Rector, Jessica Zuckerman Schumer–Corker–Hoeven Amendment Fails on Securing the Border and Halting Illegal Immigration

    On Friday, Senators Bob Corker (R–TN) and John Hoeven (R–ND), joined by Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY), introduced an amendment to the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill (S. 744). The amendment, which when incorporated into the bill ballooned it to nearly 1,200 pages, is touted as putting teeth into the border security provisions of the Gang of Eight’s amnesty…

  • Play Movie The $6.3 Trillion Cost of Amnesty: Rector on Lou Dobbs Video Recorded on May 9, 2013 The $6.3 Trillion Cost of Amnesty: Rector on Lou Dobbs

    Senior Research Fellow Robert Rector discusses the $6.3 trillion cost of amnesty on Fox Business Network's 'Lou Dobbs'.…

  • Special Report posted May 6, 2013 by Robert Rector, Jason Richwine, Ph.D. The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer

    Executive Summary Unlawful immigration and amnesty for current unlawful immigrants can pose large fiscal costs for U.S. taxpayers. Government provides four types of benefits and services that are relevant to this issue: Direct benefits. These include Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation. Means-tested welfare benefits.…

  • Issue Brief posted March 11, 2013 by Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield How to Get Welfare Spending Under Control

    Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, government has spent nearly $20 trillion (adjusted for inflation) on means-tested welfare assistance for the poor. Means-tested programs provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income Americans. Another name for these programs is assistance to the poor or anti-poverty spending. Currently,…

  • White Paper posted January 22, 2013 by Robert Rector, Jennifer A. Marshall The Unfinished Work of Welfare Reform

    Among the public-policy achievements of the past two decades, welfare reform may simultaneously be the best known and least understood. It is now remembered as a bipartisan triumph that ended “welfare as we know it,” to use President Clinton’s phrase, transforming the character of federal anti-poverty policy. The true history, however, is less august: The struggle to…

  • Play Movie The New "Poor": Big Houses, Flatscreen TVs, AC - Robert Rector on Fox & Friends Video Recorded on December 1, 2012 The New "Poor": Big Houses, Flatscreen TVs, AC - Robert Rector on Fox & Friends

    Senior Research Fellow Robert Rector discusses the difference between the perception and the reality of poverty in the United States on Fox & Friends.…

  • Commentary posted November 27, 2012 by Robert Rector 'Poverty' Like We've Never Seen It

    The federal government now considers a family of four in New York City to be poor if its pre-tax income is below $37,900.Even with full medical coverage. The calculation helps explain why newly revised Census Bureau figures hike the number of poor Americans to 49 million as of last year, further widening an already yawning gap between ordinary perceptions of poverty…

  • Commentary posted November 25, 2012 by Robert Rector Q&A: Why Marriage May Be the Strongest Antidote to Child Poverty

    Editor's note: The following Q&A with Robert Rector appeared on The Star Ledger's op-ed page. We tell kids not to drop out of school because they’ll be trapped in a life of poverty — but say nothing about other crucial choices, such as marriage. Is that a mistake? Liberals argue the solution to poverty lies in better schools and jobs, and more access…

  • Commentary posted October 22, 2012 by Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield Welfare Spending at All-Time High…and Growing

    Welfare spending has hit a stunning, all-time high. A new Congressional Research Service report confirms what research here at The Heritage Foundation has shown: The government’s means-tested welfare programs now cost taxpayers roughly $1 trillion a year. (This figure does not include either Social Security or Medicare.) Unlike general government programs,…