Rising Poverty In America: The Causes And Consequences

Johnny Noble, 9, sits in his uncle's trailer during a visit on April 21, 2012 in Owsley County, Kentucky. Mose Noble's trailer has no electricity or running water but he receives governmental and neighborly assistance. The 2010 U.S. Census listed Owsley County as having the lowest median household income in the country outside of Puerto Rico, with 41.5 percent of residents living below the poverty line.   - Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Johnny Noble, 9, sits in his uncle's trailer during a visit on April 21, 2012 in Owsley County, Kentucky. Mose Noble's trailer has no electricity or running water but he receives governmental and neighborly assistance. The 2010 U.S. Census listed Owsley County as having the lowest median household income in the country outside of Puerto Rico, with 41.5 percent of residents living below the poverty line.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Rising Poverty In America: The Causes And Consequences

A half century after President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty, more than 46 million Americans are poor - and that number is rising. What's behind poverty in the U.S. and what can be done about it.

A half-century ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty. Since then, the percentage of poor Americans has declined, but more than 46 million still live below the poverty line today. That's about 15 percent of the population. Whether the war on poverty was a success or failure is the subject of passionate debate and heavily ideological. Many economists say without the social programs implemented to fight poverty, millions more Americans would be poor. Critics argue those programs took away incentives to work and created an underclass dependent on government subsidies. Diane and guests talk about the causes and consequences of poverty in America.

Guests

Peter Edelman

professor, Georgetown Law Center; author of numerous books, including "So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America."

Trip Gabriel

national correspondent, The New York Times.

Ron Haskins

senior fellow and co-director of The Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution; a senior adviser to President George W. Bush (2001); staff director, the Human Resources Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee (1995-2000); author of a forthcoming book about evidence-based social policy in the Obama administration.

Robert Woodson

founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise; author, "The Triumphs of Joseph: How Community Healers are Reviving Our Streets and Neighborhoods"

Vanessa Cardenas

vice president, Progress 2050 at the Center for American Progress; lead editor of "All-In Nation: An America that Works for All."

Please familiarize yourself with our Code of Conduct and Terms of Use before posting your comments.

Our address has changed!

The Diane Rehm Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.