Today marks 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that he would wage a “War on Poverty.”

In tonight’s Talking Points Memo, Bill O’Reilly called it a “noble idea.” But according to the Heritage Foundation, the War on Poverty has actually harmed the nation, and nearly $21 trillion in taxpayer dollars have been spent on it in the past 50 years.


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O’Reilly said that the state of poverty in America hasn’t improved much over the last 50 years. “All the social engineering has failed,” he said.

So what’s to blame for poverty in America, and how can we fix it?


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“True poverty is being driven by personal behavior, not an unfair economic system,” O’Reilly said, noting that only 6 percent of American babies were born out of wedlock in 1963, compared to 41 percent of American babies now. About 72 percent of African-American babies are born out of wedlock. O’Reilly cites the Heritage Foundation’s findings that single-family homes are four times more likely to be living in poverty. Children raised by single parents are three times more likely to end up in prison and 50 percent more likely to be poor as adults.

“So maybe we should have a war against chaotic, irresponsible parents,” O’Reilly said. “But America will never launch that kind of war because it’s too judgmental and deeply affects the minority precincts. Therefore, cowardly politicians and race hustlers continue to bear false witness that our economic system is at fault rather than bad personal decision-making.”

O’Reilly said addictive behavior, apathy and laziness are among the leading causes of poverty.

“Poverty will not change until personal behavior does,” he said.

Watch the full Talking Points Memo above.