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Poole writes: "The major campaign goal is to persuade President Obama to talk about poverty and its solutions in his State of the Union address February 12. It is also an opportunity to tell conservatives in Congress and the states to focus on fighting poverty and stop fighting the poor."

A campaign is underway to get the President to address poverty. (photo: AP)
A campaign is underway to get the President to address poverty. (photo: AP)



Day of Action Against Poverty

By Isaiah J. Poole, Campaign for America's Future

31 January 13

 

n effort to move the fight against poverty to the top of the national agenda begins today, led by the Half in 10 campaign and the Coalition for Human Needs. The major campaign goal is to persuade President Obama to talk about poverty and its solutions in his State of the Union address February 12. It is also an opportunity to tell conservatives in Congress and the states to focus on fighting poverty and stop fighting the poor.

The heart of the #TalkPoverty campaign is a social media campaign that is designed to build public demand for paying more attention to the needs of the nearly 50 million people living in poverty in the United States. These are the people whose struggle to support themselves will be directly affected by the federal budget sequester that is scheduled to go into effect March 1 unless Congress and the Obama administration agrees on a budget. The sequester will force an average 5 percent cut in most federal spending programs.

While Social Security will be shielded, a broad swath of programs that help low-income people survive and climb out of poverty will be affected. They include nutrition assistance for children and their mothers, child care, housing, home energy, homeless aid, and education and training programs Medicare would be also be cut by $11.2 billion.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities recently released a fact sheet on what the sequester cuts would do to housing assistance and community development programs. If the sequester goes into effect, according to the fact sheet, 2.1 million people around the country would lose housing assistance. In many cases, losing this housing assistance will mean households will become homeless.

Cutting community development programs is particularly short-sighted at a time when our national unemployment rate hovers near 8 percent and many communities have unemployment rates well in excess of 10 percent. These programs provide a range of services for struggling families and help support neighborhood revitalization, providing foundations for private sector growth.

No program that sustains the basic needs of individuals and families, and no program that supports job creation, should be cut at a time when millions of Americans are still struggling with the effects of the economic downturn.

And yet, some conservatives in Congress are seriously considering allowing the sequester to take effect and call it a political victory, because they believe it is more important to say they have cut federal spending than it is to work to fix an economy that is not working for millions of Americans.

Meanwhile, conservative governors are waging their own war against the poor in the states. The most recent example is Gov. Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, who is cutting vital Medicaid services in his state after joining other Republican governors in refusing to expand Medicaid services offered under the Affordable Care Act.

Make no mistake: There is a conservative war against the poor, as they either work to shut down, cripple or privatize programs that allow low-income Americans to have a measure of economic support and the means to climb out of poverty.

President Obama expertly framed what we should be striving for as a nation in his inaugural address: "We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own."

The #TalkPoverty campaign encourages President Obama and our allies in Congress to defend the principle that we have a shared responsibility to ensure every American has the opportunity to live in dignity and to succeed. We need jobs, not cuts, and this is the message that the Washington establishment needs to hear, loud and clear.

 

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+5 # hd70642 2013-01-31 11:26
Well a day versus decades of inaction stemming the beloved Saint Ronald who tirelessly paved the road to third world status through ,gutting taxes ,the social safety net, regulation ,out sourcing ,and privatization etc while deluding the ill informed everything would magically trickle down!
 
 
-9 # MidwestTom 2013-01-31 11:32
If we have learned anything over the decades since Johnson's War on Poverty, it is that spending ever increasing Billions on the poor only accelerates the percentage of the population who are poor. By any statistic that you want to quote, the more you spend, the more the need. The only drop in those earning less than the poverty levels occurred during the boom years of the 1980's.
 
 
+7 # reiverpacific 2013-01-31 11:46
Hell, it's hard to get anyone in both major parties to even use the words "Working class" or even more relevantly these days, "Working Poor".
We are constantly hammered with the "Middle Class" which seems to me to be shrinking in spite of all the continuing rhetoric and continuing shortage of living wage work.
I hope that these good folks are able to change that at least.
 
 
+4 # hd70642 2013-01-31 12:40
Unfortunaity there is too much money in poltics and they are catering towards multinationals looking towards ever lower wages and less accountability
 
 
0 # Smokey 2013-01-31 12:52
Stop fighting the poor!

CONSERVATIONISTS: You can't solve the climate change problem by raising the price of energy and by keeping developing nations in poverty. Focus your attention, instead, on helping the people who are suffering because of rising food prices, droughts and heat waves, floods, and other immediate problems.... Don't tell poor people that you've got a "trickle down" scheme that will save Mother Earth in 20-50 years... The poor need help TODAY.

FOOD PEOPLE: Feed the hungry! If you're not talking about the problems of poverty - and if you're not talking about the oppression of workers in the food industry - what kind of food agenda do you have in mind?

The rich folks can shop at Whole Foods and they can get what they want. What happens to the poor? What's possible?
 
 
+2 # reiverpacific 2013-01-31 14:22
Quoting Smokey:
Stop fighting the poor!

CONSERVATIONISTS: You can't solve the climate change problem by raising the price of energy and by keeping developing nations in poverty. Focus your attention, instead, on helping the people who are suffering because of rising food prices, droughts and heat waves, floods, and other immediate problems.... Don't tell poor people that you've got a "trickle down" scheme that will save Mother Earth in 20-50 years... The poor need help TODAY.

FOOD PEOPLE: Feed the hungry! If you're not talking about the problems of poverty - and if you're not talking about the oppression of workers in the food industry - what kind of food agenda do you have in mind?

The rich folks can shop at Whole Foods and they can get what they want. What happens to the poor? What's possible?

Actually my daughter's partner in Madison Wis' volunteers at an organic food pantry to which many local farmers donate produce and meat and they help a lot of folks who would otherwise be eating factory-produce d crap at it's lowest end. It's been going for quite a few years now and there are local fund raising events to maintain it so it's recognized and supported by the community.
It's a good model and hopefully will take off nationally as Farmer's Markets have done. Just takes a joint collective effort. I wouldn't look for any government help on this -it's too -shall we say- unselfish and progressive.
 
 
-2 # EPGAH3 2013-02-01 21:32
Well, one thing that should be stopped is Welfare, since it creates an addiction--no, an insatiable HUNGER for other peoples' goods and money, which their fellow money-vampires/ sociopaths are only too happy to feed with a portion of what they take from those who actually work. BUT the poor breed more and more, so no matter how much they steal from the workers, it will never be enough. It CAN never be enough, because at some point, they steal too much for the workers to "stay afloat" financially, then the workers join the Horde, hungry for someone else's money...
That is all the 1965 Great Society produced. It has been little more than luck that the votes LBJ wanted to buy were Blacks, so the rest of us were allowed to stay self-sufficient and proud.

Don't want a trickle-down scheme? STOP BREEDING KIDS YOU CAN'T AFFORD! STOP DEMANDING OTHER PEOPLE PAY YOUR BILLS!
 
 
0 # thethinker 2013-01-31 23:02
Yes, we have a poverty issue. We also have 25 million people unemployed or working part time and seeking full time employment. Minorities, youth, and less educated Americans have particularly high unemployment rates.

So what do the President and "Senate gang of eight" propose? Legalizing 11 - 20 million illegal immigrants that are taking jobs that unemployed and poor Americans should have. Proposing an increase in low skilled worker immigration, so that there are even more poor people chasing scarce jobs.

It is not just conservatives waging a war on the poor - it is all politicians, including President Obama, that are seeking amnesty for illegal immigrants and pushing for importing even more poor people. Why are they doing this? It is because they are serving their corporate masters that profit mightily from mass immigration of poor uneducated people willing to work for low wages and no benefits.

Wake up. The "comprehensive immigration reform" proposals will hurt the poor, by ensuring a continual supply of poor immigrants competing with the existing poor. If you wish to help the poor, oppose amnesty and insist on lower levels of immigration. It is simply a matter of supply and demand. A tight labor market (less workers) is good for workers who can get more jobs and demand higher pay.
 
 
0 # hoodwinkednomore 2013-02-03 02:52
NAFTA = rise in immigration due to slave wages, productivity privitization and loss of communal, sustainable economies. Plus the immigrants do the 'shit' work for slave wages that us 'Americans' snub our noses at.

Corporations are the largest welfare recipients--not to mention how they're run by the only vampire sociopaths that I know. Period. We pay all their bills, and all of our kids, their kids, and their kids will keep on paying corporations' bills until we change the system of the Corporate States of America.
 

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