by Henry Hazlitt
President Johnson has declared an “all-out war on human poverty.” It is a laudable aim. It has, in fact, been the aim of rulers, statesmen, economists, reformers, religious leaders — of every man of goodwill — from time immemorial. It is an aim shared by all free-enterprise economists since the time of Adam Smith and by all socialists and Communists since the time of Karl Marx. The problem does not concern the end but the means. What is the best way to abolish poverty?
Unfortunately the means Mr. Johnson recommends are dubious. He proposes more and bigger government spending programs — “to build more homes and more schools and more libraries and more hospitals than any single session of Congress in the history of our republic,” and to “budget the most Federal support in history for education, for health, for retraining the unemployed, and for helping the economically and the physically handicapped.”