I propose a goal that, in order to be accomplished, returns America to prosperity by creating an economy so strong that it will enable us to end poverty in America. Paul Chehade.
It is completely outrageous that the United States of America, the richest country in the world would tolerate the number of people living in poverty in America today. The lowest percentage in poverty since we started counting was 11.1 percent in 1973. The rate climbed as high as 15.2 percent in 1983. In 2000, after a spurt of prosperity, it went back down to 11.3 percent, and yet 15 million more people are poor today.
Six million people have no income other than food stamps. Food stamps provide an income at a third of the poverty line, close to $6,300 for a family of three. It’s hard to understand how they survive.
I propose a goal that, in order to be accomplished, returns America to prosperity by creating an economy so strong that it will enable us to end poverty in America. The American voters are looking for such a goal from its leadership, one that all Americans can embrace as the beginning of their new, prosperous future for them, for their children, for their grandchildren.Here is that goal: I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out of providing a path for all Americans who are physically or cognitively able to earn their way out of poverty, and, once out of poverty, for all Americans to be able to stay out of poverty by their own individual effort.
Rebuilding the American economy and ending poverty require the same two things:
A.- Work for Americans and American workers: legitimate work for every American who wants to earn an honest living and American workers with the skills needed for that work. The good news is that the solution that ends poverty, by its very nature, includes creating an American economy that nurtures the creativity and the hard work of all Americans so that new businesses and new jobs are created to replace businesses and jobs that are no longer viable. America must have an infrastructure that supports a populace that is continually creating new jobs and constantly being retrained for those new jobs. That is the strong economic foundation that we need.
B.- For far too long, America’s solution to poverty has been giving people a fish and planting rice, figuratively speaking, rather than continually teaching them the new ways to fish and educating them so that they can be self-reliant, productive members of our society. That learning must continue throughout one’s life, since gone are the days when you learned a profession and worked in it until you retire. Jobs come and go; companies come and go. America needs to be a place where everyone has the opportunity to continue to be a productive member of our great society.
Thankfully, America does not suffer from the extreme poverty found in some parts of the world, yet a large portion of our populace suffers from the inability to reach for the American dream and earn their way in the pursuit of happiness. I believe that America can do a better job of providing an infrastructure that enables our young people to get the education and learn the skills necessary to be productive members of our society. A large pool of highly-skilled, productive workers is a critical element in a vibrant, sustainable American economy.
Ending poverty means jobs for everyone who can and wants to work. Affordable healthcare is essential to ending poverty. Although “universal insurance” may sound like the simple and obvious answer, it is not a panacea. The deductibles, co-payments, and the cost of medication can send someone into poverty.
Other areas that will need review are food, housing, and financial systems. Predatory lending practices have certainly led many people back into poverty. Education will help people understand that they are being robbed; better regulation will prevent government-approved stealing from hard-working Americans trying to earn their way out of poverty. There are basic policy measures which would go a long way toward reducing the poverty rate and improving the quality of life for low-income Americans. Here are seven steps we can take to pull America out of poverty:
1. End Tax Cuts for the Wealthy:
This reform won’t attack poverty directly, but it is a necessary step toward refocusing our nation’s priorities. America has always strived to find a balance between reducing inequality and promoting growth, but our current policies favor the wealthy so much that our income inequality is growing and our economic growth is stunted. B. Hussein Obama excessive tax cuts for large corporations and the wealthy have not created jobs, and eliminating them would go a long way toward fighting poverty.
2. Increase Funding for Job Creation:
In this time of recession and unemployment, lawmakers are trying to decrease government spending rather than increase it, putting us at risk for a double-dip recession. The government is also missing out on opportunities to fund job-creation programs that would employ low-income people. America should repeat its stimulus success and fund job-creation programs that will give low-income people, especially youth, much-needed work opportunities.
3. Create and Preserve Affordable Housing:
Low-income Americans typically spend at least a third (and often more than half) of their income on housing, so when housing costs are high, low-income families suffer. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a family must make $38,360 to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Even though housing has such a big impact on both poverty and the U.S. economy, America is not paying enough attention to housing policy. We need to put more effort into finding solutions to the housing crisis, so that low-income families won’t be overburdened with housing costs or forced to live in conditions that impede their chances for success.
4. Destigmatize Poverty:
Last but not least, we need to take a long hard look at ourselves and re-examine our stereotypes about poverty. America holds dear the promise of self-improvement and pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps through work. The unfortunate side-effect of this idea is that we tend to disparage the poor, criticizing them for “not working hard enough.” At a time when our nation’s inequality is growing and a sixth of our country lives in poverty, we must realize that poverty is everyone’s responsibility and we have to deal with it now.
Does ending poverty help the middle and upper classes? Yes, it will and it must. Any plan for rebuilding the American economy and ending poverty will include a plan for educating and re-educating everyone. So, after we end poverty in America, will the rest of the World’s poor want to move here? No, if done right, this program will become a model for other countries that they can use to end poverty.
Honor and Truth
For more information please visit: http://www.paulchehade.org