Sponsored link
Friday, July 30, 2021

Sponsored link

UncategorizedSan Francisco’s War on Poor People

San Francisco’s War on Poor People

By Tim Redmond

The federal War on Poverty is 50 years old, and a lot of the news media reports are calling it a failure: The poverty rate today is not much lower than it was when Lyndon Johnston started his famous social programs in 1964. But that’s something of a misleading statistic, suggesting that there’s nothing the federal government can do about poverty.

Look at the data in the chart here. The poverty rate in the US dropped pretty dramatically after 1964, from close to 20 percent to as low as my 11 percent in the mid-1970s. There were 35 million people living in poverty in the early 1960s; a decade later, after huge spending by the feds on housing, welfare, and urban development, that number was below 25 million.

In other words, the War on Poverty was working. Until the Age of Reagan.

After the Republicans cut taxes on the rich and decimated Great Society programs, both the poverty rate and the numbers of people in poverty started to rise again. Now, with the marginal tax rate less than half of what it was in 1970, and the federal budget for social programs that fight poverty reduced to a tiny fraction of what we spend on, say, wars, it’s no surprise that the gains this country made between 1964 and 1979 have vanished.

What failed wasn’t the War on Poverty; it was ending the War on Poverty.

At the same time, what hasn’t ended – and if anything, is increasing – is the War on Poor People in San Francisco. (more after the break)

Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at) 48hills.org, follow @supermarke on Twitter.
Sponsored link


  1. I live across the street from a recycling center that was closed down. The streets were cleaner, quieter and the riff was almost invisible. The center closed and a bar called the Wreck Room moved next store. Who is pissing, puking and leaving their empties on the street. Drunken Bro’s frequenting these bars. There has been puke on my street or on my doorstep every Sunday morning since football started. Seriously, how hard is it to puke on the curb instead of on someone’s door step, wall, driveway etc. Lets not forget Zeke’s and the party buses. Pretty disgusting when that behavior is tolerated and people trying to recycle get the hassle.

  2. I appreciate the historical perspective, comparing poverty rates under different federal administrations. That is certainly informative about the failure of the Republican agenda in meeting the needs of our poor.

    I also appreciated the larger perspective presented around a few mean spirited comments by tech workers – revealing that such comments are the exception and do not represent mainstream views.

    I also agree that the closing of this recycling center will only hurt the very poor – people who are not going to go away because they are made even more poor by being deprived of what little income they could earn from recycling.

    David Elliott Lewis, a San Francisco resident for three decades.

  3. You don’t allow the comments to get posted without moderation because people are not angels and if you give some people an inch they take a mile.

    The war on poverty is the same thing times ten. Give people a hand and they bite off your arm.

  4. Do you have a theory about why the war on poverty created such a backlash?

    I remember that the war on poverty was a time when my (black) grandfather began carrying a gun when he left the house.

    The crime rate exploded during that time, when third generation single underage psychotic welfare mothers unable to stop having children with illiterate, third generation imprisoned underage psychotic fathers turned urban schools into apocalyptic hell zones that white families were forced to either bus their children on hours long bus rides or else flee.

    It was a nightmare. Still is.

  5. During the years of the war on poverty the crime rate exploded, the opposite of what you would expect.

    Busing caused an incredible backlash as a white elite who sent their children to private schools forced middle class white parents to send their children to school with violent psychopaths raised by third generation welfare underage mothers. That is not an exaggeration. It is what happened.

    The war on poverty had a dark side you are free to ignore as you wish.

Comments are closed.

Sponsored link

Top reads

SF to pay $8 million after cops framed an innocent man for murder

Plus: An urban farm in the Portola, and shadows on two city parks ... That's The Agenda for July 26-August 1.

Review: Wangechi Mutu brings cosmic energies to Legion of Honor

Stunningly reverberating with the collection, 'I Am Speaking, Are You Listening?' tells different stories of art

The campaign against CRT is all about preserving white privilege

That's the story the right-wing politicians don't want to talk about—because it's still a very real part of American life.

More by this author

PHOTOS: Second People’s March traces original 1970 Pride March path

Full of protest, music, and killer looks, the alternative Pride march brought LGBTQ color to Polk Street.

Watch: ‘Girl Shock’ author Maria Konner on trans journey from ‘tech dude’ to fabulous

New memoir takes colorful and important trip through the life of one of our beloved nightlife 'fembassadors'

Reconnect with the Bay: Our readers’ favorite things to do now we’re back

Here's what you told us you couldn't wait to do in the wake of reopening.
Sponsored link

You might also likeRELATED