Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Ryan (R-WI) at The Brookings Institution
Jan. 13, 2014-The 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Baines Johnson's "War on Poverty" speech (January 8, 1964) has triggered a wave of events and speeches.  President Barack Obama delivered a major speech on social mobility on Dec. 4, 2013, stating that it is "the defining challenge of our time" [transcript].  Last week Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) delivered a major speech on combatting poverty in which he roundly rejected the notion that "government spending is the central answer to healing the wounds of poverty."  "We have the single greatest engine of upward mobility in human history at our disposal: the American free enterprise system," Rubio stated in his prepared speech [prepared remarks].  The Brookings Institution joined the field, holding a day-long "Social Mobility Summit," bookended by speeches by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).  As one would expect, the two legislators presented significantly different approaches to the subject.

back >