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New America Foundation: 50 Years Since the War on Poverty - Looking Back, Moving Forward

MARCH 11, 2014 - 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM ET

Washington, DC

The War on Poverty is 50 years old. In his first State of the Union address in January 1964, President Lyndon Johnson announced his ambitious goal to improve the outlook for the millions of Americans who "live on the outskirts of hope." But it was not until March that he forwarded the initial legislative proposals that would begin a remarkable period of legislative activity.

Many programs that form the foundation of our social safety net (such as Food Stamps/SNAP, Social Security, Head Start, and Medicaid) were created or bolstered as part of this burst of historic bipartisan policymaking designed to improve health, education, and economic outcomes. Yet today's gridlocked Congress no longer seems to share a broad commitment to these programs, and too many Americans still live on the economic margins. 

What have we accomplished in the past 50 years? Where have we fallen short? And how can we update our policies to reflect a new 21st century antipoverty agenda?Please join New America and the Center for American Progress for a discussion designed to make sense of this legacy.  

Expert panelists will consider the historic roots of the War on Poverty, how anti-poverty approaches have evolved over time, and the legacy's impact on contemporary policy debates, such as eligibility for public assistance, the role of assets, and the call for a higher minimum wage. Our goal will be to take stock of what modern families need to get ahead, consider how public perception and political discourse shape the anti-poverty agenda, and elevate promising new approaches to help all families move up the economic ladder.

Copies of the executive summary of the Assets and Education Initiative’s new paperHarnessing Assets to Build an Economic Mobility System will be available.

Join the conversation online using #talkPoverty and following @AssetsNAF and@HalfinTen   

If you are unable to join us in person, please tune in to our live webcast on the day of the event. No sign up is required to view the streaming video.  


Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
Author, Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor  
Associate Professor and Director of Assets and Education Initiative, University of Kansas 
National Correspondent, New York Times
Vice President, Poverty and Prosperity Program, Center for American Progress
Vice President, Half in Ten Campaign, Center for American Progress Action Fund
Program Officer, Ford Foundation
Director, Asset Building Program, New America Foundation  
Co-Editor, The Assets Perspective: The Rise of Asset Building and its Impact on Social Policy
Economist, Economic Policy Institute
Senior Research Associate, Center for Economic and Policy Research 
Senior Policy Analyst, Asset Building Program, New America Foundation