Commonwealth Policy Center

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is proposing new poverty-fighting programs which include an expansion of Medicaid to illegal immigrants. Her plan is called “A Just Society,” and it would increase the federal poverty line and expand benefits to include expenses like childcare and Internet access. Of course, this is nothing new. Federal poverty fighting programs go back to LBJ’s Great Society of the 1960’s where he vowed to eradicate poverty. According to the Cato Institute, government efforts to fight poverty have cost more than $23 trillion. However, the needle hasn’t moved much on the percentage of people living in poverty. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 40 million Americans still live in poverty. Poverty is unfortunate, but if there’s one lesson we’ve learned from poverty-fighting programs, it’s that benefits help, but other aspects must be addressed to truly bring someone out of poverty.