It was exactly 52 years ago this evening, that LBJ proposed (and ended up tasking Bill Moyers with) what he called the “Great Society” initiatives. Though many of them were based upon President Kennedy’s “New Frontier” initiatives, it was President Johnson who saw them passed into law, after Kennedy’s assasination. Mr. Johnson’s vision came almost one year to the day after Dr. King’s Letter From The Birmingham Jail was first read by most Americans.
As opposed to tax cuts and other preferences for billionaires (Mr. Trump’s mantra), both of these Presidents (Kennedy and Johnson) sought a more equitable America — especially for the nation’s lower middle classes — and those mired in generational poverty. I would clearly add Mr. Obama’s name to these two (on health care reform).
Here is a bit of what the Great Society achieved — and had LBJ not insisted on escalating his war in Vietnam, he might have enjoyed much more credit, for transforming America into a more just society:
. . . .Between 1964 and 1968 the United States Congress passed 226 of 252 bills into law. . . .
The Food Stamp Act (1964) provided low income families with access to adequate food.
The Economic Opportunity Act (1964) created the Job Corps, VISTA, and other community-based programs.
The Tax Reduction Act (1964) cut income tax rates for low-income families.
The Civil Rights Act (1964) outlawed discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. . . .
Federal funds transferred to the poor increased from $9.9 billion in 1960 to $30 billion in 1968. One million workers received job training from these programs and two million children experienced preschool Head Start programs by 1968. . . .
And so ends our “look back at history” weekend — but I may revisit these themes, in coming weekends’ posts — to highlight just how much of what is a “more just” America — that Donald. Trump. Just. Does. Not. Understand. Or. Care. For.
Mr. Trump is manifestly unfit to be President, if he sincerely believes he need not address the issues facing 47 per cent of Americans — the 47 per cent who struggle every day — from paycheck to paycheck. He is no one’s populist. He is. . . a fascist.