LBJ again cut taxes, but he also improved transport links, increased funding for universities, and introduced a range of consumer laws to enable consumers to make out different goods, and to let them return faulty goods. However, he could not control unemployment and inflation which carried over from JFK. In one of his main focuses, decreasing poverty, he was quite successful, as with the Medical Care Act of 1965 he put more funding into health care, he increase the minimum wage even further, he gave more funding to the aid of families with dependant children, and he even gave food stamps to extremely poor families to help them buy groceries.
He made a Job corps to help school dropouts find work, and instated the Model Cities Act which cleared slums and provided parks and sports facilities. The only negative point to his actions in poverty is that he effectively destroyed some private health or education companies, and thus produced more unemployment and inflation, but that was largely the lesser of two evils. When compared according to economy and poverty, both presidents seem to come out neck and neck.
They both introduced major policies and acts, both cut taxes and increased the minimum wage, and both were spectacular failures with coping with inflation and unemployment. The final criterion is that of foreign affairs. This is what most people know JFK for; that he stood up to the Russian leader, Khrushchev; that he kept calm in the face of nuclear war and didn't behave rashly or foolishly; that he came out of discussions and tensions with a victory, a victory which allowed him to prevent nuclear war, keep Soviet ships and missiles away, keep his own missiles in Turkey near the Soviet Union, and still not look like a coward.
However, many do not know that he could not stop the Russians from cutting of West Berlin and East Berlin with the Berlin wall, or that his first reaction to Fidel Castro taking over Cuba, the invasion at the Bay of Pigs, was a terrible disaster. Still, he did prevent a possible Third World War, and gave a tremendous victory for the West against Communism. LBJ, on the other hand, was really quite a failure regarding foreign matters.
His dogged perseverance in keeping the US of A involved in a Vietnam War they were destined to lose was extremely unpopular, and caused deep rifts across the country, as well as severely damaging the economy. A favourite slogan of the time was "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did ya kill today? " The kids are not only US soldiers, but also young Vietnamese ones as well. In conclusion, even after looking at all the evidence, choosing the greater of the two presidents is extremely difficult.
However, I believe that JFK, John F Kennedy, was the greater of the two presidents, simply because he prevented possibly the war that could have destroyed the entire world. So although I believe his reputation is justified, I think that LBJ, Lyndon Ben Johnson, deserves a slightly better reputation than the one he currently has, as he was not a spectacular failure at everything, and in fact did some extremely good things for black civil rights and the poor. He deserves, at least, recognition for the way that he targeted some areas that many other presidents didn't want to or didn't have time for.