Now, Mitt Romney is not as far right as some in the Republican Party, but he's on board here. In the Washington Post, he is quoted as saying
As with others in his party, he raised the issue of social mobility and the difficulty of those at the bottom from rising into the middle class. He cited former president Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty half a century ago. Johnson’s intentions were good, he said, but his policies had not worked. He argued that Republicans must persuade voters that conservative policies can “end the scourge of poverty” in America.Let's forget for a moment that just two years ago Romney's sympathies for the downtrodden were invisible -- moochers, he thought of them. Takers.
Mitt and I are the same age but have had different experiences. Mitt was a rich kid in the richest part of the Midwest, prep school and all that. I was a lower middle class kid in the Deep South. I suppose Romney may have passed by poor people, but he never saw them. I did. I lived and worked alongside them. I knew people -- adults -- who had little education raising families on minimum wage jobs (another rightwing lie -- minimum wage jobs were only for schoolkids).
And there were other people that I did not work alongside who were much worse off. They worked for far less than minimum wage, and not often, had next to no education. I could see them. I talked with them sometimes.
There are still people like that, but millions of their children escaped. Went to college. Got hired for good jobs that don't require college, like selling cars. The Great Society was a big success. It did not succeed everywhere with everyone, but all you have to do is walk through an airport terminal and look at the travelers and you can tell -- if you remember what that scene would have been like 50 years ago -- that the American economic success fable is now reality for many more people than it used to be.
It wasn't trickle down economics that did it. In fact, the residue of intractable poverty in our great cities is due mostly to the offshoring of the steppingstone jobs that launched generations of Americans -- native or immigrant -- toward the suburbs and (for rightwingers) self-satisfied narratives of their own superiority.