President Barack Obama is making the case for his economic stewardship at home by appealing to American pride, arguing that the U.S. is showing more progress than other nations. "Our economy isn't just primed for steadier, more sustained growth," Obama said today in a speech at Northwestern University. "America is better poised to lead and succeed in the 21st century than any other nation on Earth." The U.S. economy has made broad gains and companies are thriving, even if few of the benefits have trickled down to typical families. Payrolls this year are expanding at the fastest pace since 1999, growing by an average of more than 215,000 jobs per month. The jobless rate declined to 6.1 percent in August, the lowest since 2008.
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In his January 1964 State of the Union address, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed, "This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America." In the 50 years since that time, U.S. taxpayers have spent over $22 trillion on anti-poverty programs. Adjusted for inflation, this spending (which does not include Social Security or Medicare) is three times the cost of all U.S. military wars since the American Revolution. Yet progress against poverty, as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau, has been minimal, and in terms of President Johnson's main goal of reducing the "causes" rather than the mere "consequences" of poverty, the War on Poverty has failed completely. In fact, a significant portion of the population is now less capable of self-sufficiency than it was when the War on Poverty began.
Incomes Fell From 2010 to 2013 for Most Groups.
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