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Sen. Marco Rubio's War on Poverty

The Daily Beastreported on yesterday's big speach by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who declaired his own war on poverty.

This time, last year, Rubio wanted to be the Republican who tackled immigration reform. That didnt work out. And after taking a few months of heat from conservative activists, hes backed away from the effort entirely. But he still has national ambitions, and he still needs a signature issue.

Enter poverty and income inequality.

Republicans are trying to rebut Democratic attacks and rebrand themselves as a compassionate party thats sensitive to low-income Americans. And in that fight, Rubio seeks to lead the charge. To that end, in a speech marking the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnsons War on Poverty, he argued against welfare and unemployment benefits as effective policies for helping the poor, and outlined his vision for conservative anti-poverty policy.

What I am proposing today is the most fundamental change to how the federal government fights poverty and encourages income mobility since President Johnson first conceived of the War on Poverty 50 years ago, he said. I am proposing that we turn Washingtons anti-poverty programsand the trillions spent on themover to the states.

Despite clear evidencethat federal programs have dramatically lowered the poverty rate, Rubio believes the war on poverty was a failure. Like most members of his party, he sees broad federal programs as an obstacle to helping the poor.

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