Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared "War on Poverty." And at first it seemed to work. The poverty rate dropped from 17 percent to 12 percent in the programs' first decade. Unfortunately, few people noticed that during the half-decade before the "War," the rate dropped from 22 percent to 17 percent. Without big government, Americans were already lifting themselves out of poverty.
Now, despite trillions of dollars and 92 different government welfare programs, poverty stopped declining. Government's answer? Spend more! But well-intended welfare programs and minimum wage hikes often end up exacerbating the problem, John Stossel argues. The free market will sort this out, if politicians would just let it. Left free, the market will provide the greatest benefit to workers, employers, and consumers, while allowing charity as well.