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Republicans say US war on poverty hasn't measured up

Published on Jan 9, 2014 8:04 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US conservatives seized on Wednesday's 50th anniversary of the launch of president Lyndon Johnson's "war on poverty" to dispute the effectiveness of existing policies, and urge a welfare state overhaul.

"Five decades and trillions of dollars after president Johnson waged his war on poverty, the results of this big-government approach are in," Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a potential White House aspirant in 2016, said in a speech in the US Capitol's appropriately named Lyndon Johnson room.

"We have four million Americans who have been out of work for six months or more," he went on. "We have a staggering 49 million Americans living below the poverty line."

Mr Johnson's historic initiative achieved some noble victories in battles to help low-income Americans, some Republicans said, but the war is far from won, and perhaps slipping into stalemate.

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