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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16852/ideological-underpinnings-of-the-great-society/

Ideological Underpinnings of the “Great Society”

May 9, 2011 by

For the most part, the Great Society represented the culmination of economic, political, and intellectual developments dating back a century. FULL ARTICLE by Robert Higgs

{ 7 comments }

T. Doering May 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm

With all due respect, Johnson was a reckless idiot.

The Anti-Gnostic May 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm

No he wasn’t. He was a very savvy vote-buyer.

Ohhh Henry May 9, 2011 at 4:26 pm

the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, the Food Stamp Act of 1964, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and the Social Security Amendments of 1965 (creating Medicare and Medicaid), as well as establishment of the Office of Economic Opportunity (to oversee programs such as VISTA, Job Corps, the Community Action Program, and Head Start), Community Action Agencies, and many other bureaus ostensibly promoting poor people’s health, education, job training, and welfare

I believe that this happened at the same time that large parts of the downtown areas of major US cities were destroyed by rioters. In the 1990s I stood on the step of the Washington DC convention center looking out over a vast, empty expanse that was once houses and businesses. Apparently they were burned down in 1968 and had not been rebuilt after 25 years. It looked more like Dresden circa 1946 than anything to be found in a free country. So much for a Great Society. Did the welfare state cause the riots? Probably – both by creating a sense of entitlement that could never be fulfilled, and also by causing unemployment through high taxes and regulatory barriers such as the minimum wage.

Daniel May 9, 2011 at 10:05 pm

And by creating inner divisions and apparent classes within society

Libertarian jerry May 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm

The amount of damage,Economically,Culturally and Liberty wise,done to America by the government poverty “programs” over the last 1/2 Century is incalculable. Much of the money spent by the “Great Society” on the “War on Poverty” was squandered on waste,corruption and failed programs. Yet many of the Bureaucracies are still in place today. And of course,a lot of the Trillions of dollars spent on the programs were in 1960,1970 and 1980 dollars which could buy a lot more 30 or 40 years ago than today’s dollars. Just think.if all those dollars were kept in the private sector how much more prosperous our Nation would be today. Along with the waste and corruption one of the hideous results of Johnson’s poverty wars was to decimate the nuclear Black family in America by setting up a system of irresponsibility where the State became the father figure causing the illegitimacy rates to soar and at the same stroke discouraging the general population who were below the poverty line to be self reliant and self sufficient as to work their way into the Middle Class as generations of poor,in the past, had done. It seem, that the only ones who benefited were the newly hired government employees,the politicians who could rely on the votes of parasites and the lazy and morally bankrupt poverty “victims” who could now count on a free lunch at the expense of the productive. The only answer is a complete and total dismantlement of these cancerous programs. America would be better off without them.

Hank May 9, 2011 at 6:57 pm

It may help to understandJ.K. Galbraith’s attitude from the following incident reported in a book titled “Albert Speer and his . . . ” (I forgot the precise title and unfortunately lost the book).
After WW2 Speer was interviewed by a small group of US economists among whome was our friend Galbraith. These people were most fascinated as to how Speer, who managed the Nazi Economy, to maintain production at a rate higher than the USA’s despite all facilities have been bombed out.
The explanation given was simply he largely applied laissez-faire and laissez-aller principles at which point Galbraith walked out in disgust. How the truth hurts!!

Rafael Garcia May 10, 2011 at 12:05 am

Am I the only one wondering who “Stein” is? I guess this is either a book review or else an excerpt from a longer piece.

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