WASHINGTON — Declaring that the United States will not commit itself to another unending, unwinnable conflict, President Obama today called for a complete withdrawal from the War on Poverty within 18 months.
“This war has cost us over $500 trillion dollars since President Lyndon B. Johnson first committed this country to defeating poverty in 1964,” declared Obama. “Almost 50 years later, most experts agree we have made little progress.”
The President said he believes an “open-ended battle” against poverty is not in the best interest of the American people. “Eighteen months will give us enough time to wind down operations, while training the poor to combat their impoverished conditions on their own.”
Obama said he will deploy an additional 30,000 social workers and employment counselors beginning this summer, “with the goal of starting to bring them home by September 2011.”
According to administration officials, the President plans to cease all U.S. involvement in the conflict by the end of his current term, in January 2013.
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was quick to criticize the President’s plan. “Setting a timetable for withdrawal will give the appearance of weakness to the forces of poverty, and they will use this perceived weakness as a recruiting technique.”
Fellow Republicans criticized McConnell for sounding as if he supported continued federal assistance to citizens in the throes of despair.
McConnell denied the allegations, saying he “couldn’t care less about the impoverished,” and the only thing he supported was “the fact that we’re involved in a war against it.”
“Whether we’re fighting the Taliban, Al Qaeda or Poverty,” he explained, “the United States needs to stay and finish the job, even if it means we have to help some deadbeat, homeless people along the way.”
“That’s a small price to pay for being the winners,” he added.