Dismantling Johnson’s war on poverty


Did American liberalism peak under President Lyndon B. Johnson? New York Times best-selling author Joshua Zeitz joined Salon’s executive editor Andrew O’Hehir on “Salon Talks” to examine the nearly five years LBJ spent as president and how he was able to roll out the most sweeping social improvement plan since the New Deal, called the “Great Society,” along with vowing to end poverty and racial injustice.

Zeitz’s new book “Building the Great Society” explores Johnson’s “legislative mastery,” he said on “Salon Talks.” The Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Medicare and Medicaid and the Air and Water Quality Acts all were made law under Johnson. Zeitz offers a detailed look into his administration and how it set into motion the idea that in a booming post-war economy you didn’t need to redistribute wealth and privilege, but rather grow the economic pie.

“One way to really secure a legacy for yourself is to hire people who actually know what they’re doing,” Zeitz said. Since Johnson, Republicans have been working to dismantle LBJ’s vision for America. The open question today is, will presidential aides surrounding President Trump be able to realize his vision?

To hear more about LBJ and the Great Society, watch the full interview above.Tune into SalonTV's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage", daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon, Facebook and Periscope.

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