Tuesday, October 16, 2012

U. S. candidates avoid talk about poverty

One thing has been missing during this U.S. Presidential campaign... any talk about lifting the poor out of poverty.

Both the candidates have ignored the issue because they are not trying to earn the votes of those in poverty. Instead they have focused on the issues important to the middle class, single professionals, and senior citizens.

Still the plight of the poor is one of this nation’s biggest tragedies. Without any candidate talking about it, it will be very hard to get any action to improve this issue.

The only bright spot we could find is from the advocacy organization Circle of Protection. They asked for each candidate to record a video that outlines their platform for poverty issues.  You can view each of the videos at this link.

From NPR, we learn of another organization trying to get the candidates to talk about poverty.
Melissa Boteach heads Half in Ten, a campaign by progressive groups to cut poverty in half in 10 years.
"The problem is that when politicians talk about jobs, they don't talk about how they're going to reach the most vulnerable people who have been out of work for the longest time," she says.
Her group and other anti-poverty advocates are so frustrated by the candidates' lack of attention to the topic, they've launched a Twitter campaign with the hashtag "#talkpoverty." They're trying to get someone to ask the presidential candidates in the debates what they would do to reduce childhood poverty in their first 100 days. So far, they've had no luck.
"When you don't talk about something, it's hard to build the political will to implement it," says Boteach.
 Anti-poverty advocates say they're especially disappointed because they think Obama has a very good record to run on. They credit him with keeping millions of additional people out of poverty during the recession with stimulus spending on things such as expanded tax credits for low-income families, unemployment insurance and food stamps. And they note that his health care law will extend Medicaid coverage to millions of additional poor people.
But Republicans say one only has to look at the high poverty rate to see that Obama's approach has not worked.
"If someone's in poverty, what do you do about it?" asks Kevin Hassett, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute and a Romney adviser. "What you do is you fix the economy."
Hassett says Obama's plan is largely to expand government aid, but he says it's this spending that's helping to keep the poor in poverty.
"We've got people in poverty that can't find a job [and] that have to rely upon the government safety net, which should be there to protect them," he says. "But the reason they have to rely on the government safety net is that we have a president that hasn't thought, 'Geez, you know, being the highest corporate tax place on Earth is a bad idea.' "

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