Wednesday, August 29, 2007

POVERTY IN AMERICA - DECLINING? OR BECOMING MORE ENTRENCHED?

"SIGNIFICANT" DECLINE? COME ON! Yesterday's headlines from the Associated Press and other news outlets was that poverty in America declined "significantly" from 2005 to 2006. In reality, the drop was from 12.6% to 12.3% and it was the first drop after years of increases. A closer look at the U.S. Census information reveals not only the persistence of unacceptable levels of poverty, but that it is more entrenched than ever before. Read the article for yourself. Learn more about this report from the Census bureau.

SETTING A DISMAL TRAJECTORY. This one-year "drop" in poverty is nothing to cheer about, though the Bush Administration is doing just that. It is hypocritical, at best, for this Administration's near total abandonment of poverty-relieving programs and dribble of economic empowerment initiatives that direcly impact the poor (and that make sense) has set up a trajectory that ensures a steady increase in poverty for Americans into the foreseeable future.

INDIANA SINKS FURTHER. For Hoosiers, poverty continues to increase, as today's front-page story in the Indianapolis Star indicates. For all that Governor Mitch Daniels has savvily "fixed" with his crisp, corporate-style, can-do decisions and privatization policies, his administration is failing our state's poor individuals and families. If politics is about image casting and pandering to the privileged, Daniels is doing a great job. But if the measure of effectiveness is addressing the quality of life of the poorest and most vulnerable citizens (as I believe the bottom of line of politics should be), Daniels is ineffective. We--and he--can do better.

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