Poverty is often misunderstood because most people do not know who qualifies as poor, how much governmental assistance is available to the poor, or what allows people to escape poverty. Understanding this is crucial to provide more opportunities for work-capable people seeking to achieve self-sufficiency.

Key points

  • Poverty is often misunderstood, despite roughly $25 trillion (adjusted for inflation) having been spent to reduce it by governments in the U.S. since the 1960s’ Great Society.
  • Using income to measure quality of living for those in poverty is misleading as ample assistance is available through a robust social safety net provided by federal and state governments.
  • Despite the allocation of so many resources, the war on poverty has been a failure as the U.S. poverty rate has been about the same since the 1960s.
  • Texas and the U.S. need a new holistic approach to mitigate poverty that provides opportunities for self-sufficiency and a more robust economy.