The War on Poverty was declared by the Johnson administration in the 1960s after a slew of analysts, journalists, and politicians rediscovered and began to publicize the persistence of poverty in the United States. 1 In Lyndon B. Johnson's initial State of the Union message to Con-gress and the nation in 1964 reported that his administration "today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.
…Our aim is not only to relieve the symptoms of poverty, but to cure it, and above all, prevent it." 2 Despite such fervent views however, the issue of pov-erty persists within our own communities and extends far past the boundaries of our neighborhoods. These poverty-stricken people are often labeled as outcasts, pushed out into the inner-city ghettos and physically and emotionally detached from the broader af uent population in all regions of the country. This trend has changed dramatically in current discus-sions of poverty to the suburbs, which I will touch upon in a latter portion of this paper. However, it is evident that poverty does not have de nitive resolutions, but initiatives to eliminate and reduce poverty are widespread. These initiatives vary in the degree of implementation in different regions, groups, races, and in the level of opportunity that the underprivileged poor too often fail to obtain. Poverty analysts in the United States hold differing views on how best to combat such a malicious form of human degradation and this pa-per will illustrate the perspectives present in the discussions of poverty reduction in the United States to depict and adequately narrate such a contentious issue that is lled with abundant discord. Michael Harrington's in uential book, The Other America: Poverty in the United States received critical acclaim in the early 1960s. He was a prominent left-wing social activist and one of the most well known socialists of his time. 3 His magnum opus was the basis of a series of initiatives to combat poverty that were rst adopted by President John F. Ken-nedy. During his 1960 campaign he came face to face with poverty in West Virginia and after reading Harrington's lengthy book review in New Yorker magazine by Dwight McDonald, he ordered a formal study on poverty to create antipoverty ini-tiatives that would serve as his platform for his 1964 presidential campaign. 4 Pres-ident Johnson was briefed on Kennedy's study and decided to implement the issue nationwide, thus creating the War on Pov-erty. In Harrington's introduction to his book, he contends, "the poor are increas-ingly slipping out of the very experience and consciousness of the nation." 5 His in-troduction outlines and gives reasons for the persistence of poverty by identifying large groups of people that are affected by poverty more so than others, such as dispossessed workers, minorities, the farm poor, and the aged. Throughout his introduction, he implicitly refers to those in poverty as the "other America" and be-gins to draw a subtle picture of who those people are by explaining that "the poor existed in the Government reports; they were percentages and numbers in long, close columns, but they were not part of the experience." 6 There are no faces or personality to the numbers because they are virtually neglected by the government reports. In essence, he mentions this bit of anecdotal information to depict poor people as being invisible, part of separate culture, and essentially removed from mainstream society due to a lack of politi-cal representation in Congress.