This book focuses on the national debate about poverty in the United States from the 1950s to the present. It looks at the political, economic, and intellectual history of poverty and unemployment over this period, from the time of President Lyndon Johnson and his War on Poverty, to Richard Nixon's antipoverty policy, Ronald Reagan's conservative approach, and Bill Clinton's welfare reform. The book examines the extent to which poverty and unemployment was tied to factors such as economic growth, racism, regional decline, automation, and people's lack of education and skills. It discusses the liberal project of the Johnson administration that included programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps, as well as increases in Social Security benefits and a program of government jobs for the poor and the unemployed after he left office. The book's main argument is that good jobs are the key to an effective antipoverty approach, and that full employment allows the government to combat wage and price inflation.
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