Poverty: The War on the War on Poverty

When Lyndon Johnson launched his War On Poverty in 1964, he gave the Office of Economic Opportunity command of ten campaigns* to rescue the nation from want. Almost from the start, however, the antipoverty warriors have been fighting a losing battle on Capitol Hill. By now, a large segment of the Congress seems determined to divest the OEO of its generalship.

Whatever praise OEO receives, its defeats—admittedly not infrequent—reap salvos of abuse. Stung by growing senatorial criticism, the agency last week issued an upbeat report claiming that nearly 3,000,000 Americans—1,000,000 of them nonwhite—climbed out of poverty in 1967. In the War...