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At the Brookings event last week, I heard a prediction that the next Congress will create a poverty measure that bears some resemblance to reality. Modern expenses (e.g., high gasoline and housing costs) are likely to be factored in, as well as powerful antipoverty benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.

My goal here is to confirm that 40 years of colossal financial investments in the “war on poverty,” plus countless man-hours in volunteerism, have paid off.

Now if we can just get the official numbers to reflect reality and give us a true picture of how people are doing - and where problems persist - we can refocus and redouble our efforts.

Cutting U.S. poverty in half in 10 years is doable. We just have to listen to Mr. Moynihan.

c Cheryl Wetzstein’s On the Family column appears Tuesdays and Sundays. She can be reached at