Do Republicans really care about the "War on Poverty?"
On Tuesday, the Senate advanced legislation to extend long-term unemployment benefits, and all but six Republicans declined to vote for it. Instead of helping to restore this financial lifeline to out-of-work Americans, Conservative lawmakers say that they are launching their own plan to help the poor. Today, Senator Marco Rubio will deliver a speech marking the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty, and he's expected to lay out the Republican plan to fight economic inequality.
Considering this is the same party that wants to slash food stamps, subject welfare recipients to drug tests, and kick people off unemployment assistance, it's hard to imagine how their ideas will include anything except for tax cuts for the rich. In a video message previewing today's speech, Senator Rubio asked, “After 50 years, isn't it time to declare big government's war on poverty a failure?” But, despite decades of Republicans trying to slash the social safety net, the war on poverty has actually been a success.
Just days ago, the New York Times released a report showing that the poverty rate would be twice as high without the government programs that the Right loves to hate. Republicans don't care about the war on poverty – they've been waging war on the poor for decades. If their tax cuts and austerity weren't so harmful to our nation, it would almost be laughable to hear conservatives talk about helping the poor. But the fact is – poverty isn't a joke.