Little by little, everything that troubles America has become the concern of the Office of Economic Opportunity. Two years ago the OEO was simply a federal command post for the War on Poverty, hardly a modest operation at that. It is running at a cost of $1.75 billion a year, but it is now much more—something close to a Department for Fulfilling the American Dream: the Ministry of Hope. “Poverty” has turned out to be not a single phenomenon, like housing or water pollution, but a reflection of all the ills of the society. So it is now a war on class hostility, racial segregation, and powerlessness of the poor: on middle-class alienation, bureaucratic proliferation, the insufficient economy, inadequate education, political elitism—in short, the condition of man in the modem world.
It is not likely that anyone can draw a coherent picture of what the War on Poverty is doing; it is too big and far too diffuse for comprehension. Shelves of books are produced on a...
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