On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams reported on another development in the Great Obama Recovery:
"We saw some astounding new numbers that came out today. They showed the number of Americans relying on food stamps has hit another all-time record. These numbers would come as a huge disappointment to President Lyndon Johnson, who launched his War on Poverty back in 1964. Nearly 46 million of your fellow citizens are receiving food stamp assistance. That represents 21 million American households. Numbers went up in 49 out of 50 states."
Certainly discouraging numbers, but not astounding. Unless, of course, you somehow expected the machinations of President Barack Obama & Associates to do anything other than kill any hope of economic recuperation.
President Lyndon Johnson may have been disappointed, but the chief warrior in the War on Poverty shouldn't be given total credit, if that's the correct word, for the food stamp program. That distinction belongs to another liberal hero, John F. Kennedy.
According to the JFK Presidential Library and Museum's Web site, on February 2, 1961, Kennedy asked "Congress for program to help end recession, including food stamps, extended benefits for unemployed workers and welfare payments for their children." This was followed by his first executive order, which announced a three-year food stamp "pilot" program. We all know what happens to temporary government programs; his successor and Congress made it permanent with the Food Stamp Act of 1964:
The Department (of Agriculture) estimated that participation in a national FSP would eventually reach 4 million, at a cost of $360 million annually.
Kennedy brother-in-law Sargent Shriver ran LBJ's Office of Economic Opportunity. In 1967, when about $700 million a year was devoted to food assistance programs, Shriver estimated that another billion dollars would permanently solve the problem of hunger in America. That was $66 billion ago.
If anything's astounding, it's that most in the mainstream media never question why, after trillions of tax dollars spent on fighting poverty, there's so little, if any, improvement. And it's questionable that Kennedy and Johnson, both of whom thought Washington had the solutions, would be all that disappointed to see so many Americans dependent on government for help.