Efforts to eliminate poverty as a major domestic problem in the United States have a long history. The attack was significantly heightened in 1964 with the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act, the statute designed as the foundation of the so-called war on poverty. In the succeeding years which have encompassed two national Administrations, one Democratic and the other Republican, a variety of means have been brought to bear on the problem. Public-assistance expenditures have spiralled upward and substantial amounts of money and manpower have been funnelled into preexisting and new programmes to increase total employment, improve housing, provide more and better health care, equalize opportunities and outcomes across ethnic and racial groupings, and bring legal justice, safety and security to those who have heretofore lacked the financial means for full enjoyment of these values. Still other anti-poverty programmes are under active consideration, most notably President Nixon's proposal to put an income floor under every American household.
† This paper is an outgrowth of a lengthy period of research, financed under two contracts with the US Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO-619 and OEO-1373). We acknowledge our appreciation for the agency's continued support. Neither the OEO nor any of its officials necessarily shares the views expressed in this paper.
* Chairman, Department of Economics, Boston University, USA.
‡ Professor of City Planning, University of Pennsylvania, USA.