President Obama chose not to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty this week. Small wonder. If placed in the list of the ten longest wars in world history, this one would rank second. Since it began, we’ve spent almost $21 trillion fighting poverty with precious little to show for it. The poverty rate in this country now stands at 15.1%, lower than in 1964, but higher than it’s been in over 20 years. With the lone exception of 1983, today’s rate is the highest since the 1960s past into history.

In charting the poverty rate fluctuation over the past five decades, one fact stands out. The rate rises and falls, not with the amount of federal spending, but with the health of the economy. The number of people in poverty falls in economic booms and rises during recessions.

What does that tell us? If we’re politicians, nothing at all. They’re too busy growing their anti-poverty arsenal of assistance programs to notice how ineffective their efforts are. Today, we have more than 2,000 such programs. That’s quite an impressive number.

But, these thousands of safety nets have scarcely made a dent in, let alone eradicated, poverty. Nevertheless, the President this week stated that “our work is far from over.”. And for that he earns the latest Lame Spin Award.

What is it about working in Washington D.C. that sucks the brains out of people’s heads?