Sen. Marco Rubio, who plans to spend much of this year pushing ideas for reducing poverty and improving income mobility in America, is releasing a two-minute video in conjunction with Wednesday’s 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s declaration of a war on poverty: “[I]sn’t it time to declare big government’s war on poverty a failure? Instead of continuing to borrow and spend trillions of dollars on government programs that don’t work, what our nation needs is a real agenda that helps people acquire the skills they need to lift themselves out of poverty and to pursue the American dream. This agenda would create an economy with more good-paying middle class jobs and a government with less debt. It would repeal ObamaCare and it would replace it with more affordable health care options. It would save and strengthen our retirement programs for future generations."
Rubio speaks of "an agenda to create a new opportunity society in America." The phrase "opportunity society," along with the overall tone of the speech, comes straight from Newt Gingrich. In To Renew America (1996), he wrote:
The greatest moral imperative we face is replacing the welfare state with an opportunity society. For every day that we allow the current conditions to continue, we are condemning the poor--and particularly poor children--to being deprived of their basic rights as Americans. The welfare state reduces the poor from citizens to clients. It breaks up families, minimizes work incentives, blocks people from saving and acquiring property, and overshadows dreams of a promised future with a present despair born of poverty, violence, and hopelessness.