Issues: Poverty

What does "Faithful Citizenship" say about poverty?

"We are an affluent society where too many live in poverty and lack health care and other necessities of life." #2

"While the common good embraces all, those who are weak, vulnerable, and most in need deserve preferential concern. A basic moral test for our society is how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst. In a society marred by deepening disparities between rich and poor, Scripture gives us the story of the Last Judgment (see Mt 25:31-46) and reminds us that we will be judged by our response to the 'least among us.'" #50

"Wages should allow workers to support their families, and public assistance should be available to help poor families to live in dignity." #70

"Welfare policy should reduce poverty and dependency, strengthen family life, and help families leave poverty through work, training, and assistance with child care, health care, housing, and transportation. It should also provide a safety net for those who cannot work. Improving the Earned Income Tax Credit and child tax credits, available as refunds to families in greatest need, will help lift low-income families out of poverty." #77

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (November 2007)

For more, see "Catholic social teaching on poverty."

What does the Democratic National Platform say about poverty?

"When Bobby Kennedy saw the shacks and poverty along the Mississippi Delta, he asked, "How can a country like this allow it?" Forty years later, we're still asking that question. The most American answer we can give is: "We won't allow it." One in eight Americans lives in poverty today all across our country, in our cities, in our suburbs, and in our rural communities. Most of these people work but still can't pay the bills. Nearly thirteen million of the poor are children. We can't allow this kind of suffering and hopelessness to exist in our country. It's not who we are.

"Working together, we can cut poverty in half within ten years. We will provide all our children a world-class education, from early childhood through college. We will develop innovative transitional job programs that place unemployed people into temporary jobs and train them for permanent ones. To help workers share in our country's productivity, we'll expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, and raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation. The majority of adults in poverty are women, and to combat poverty we must work for fair pay, support for mothers, and policies that promote responsible fatherhood. We'll start letting our unions do what they do best again--organize and lift up our workers. We'll make sure that every American has affordable health care that stays with them no matter what happens. We will assist American Indian communities, since 10 of the 20 poorest counties in the United States are on Indian lands. We'll bring businesses back to our inner-cities, increase the supply of affordable housing, and establish "promise neighborhoods" that provide comprehensive services in areas of concentrated poverty. These will be based on proven models, such as the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City, which seeks to engage all residents with tangible goals such as attendance at parenting schools, retention of meaningful employment, college for every participating student, and strong physical and mental health outcomes for children. The Democratic Party believes that the fight against poverty must be national priority. Eradicating poverty will require the sustained commitment of the President of the United States, and we believe that the White House must offer leadership and resources to advance this agenda."

What does Barack Obama say about poverty?

"There is an easy answer to the moral question of whether we can continue to tolerate poverty in America: We can't. The political question of what to do about it has always been more difficult. But now that we know what works, this country has an obligation to act." Statement to Stanford Poverty Institute, December 2007

"People are seeing less income, fewer wages, jobs being shipped over seas. And when people lose their jobs, when the plant closes, they don't just lose their job. They lose their healthcare, and their pension. More than that, you lose your sense of who you are and your place in your community, your sense of dignity, and your ability to support a family.... We cannot afford to wait to fix our economy." Ft. Wayne Indiana, May 2008

"Our government cannot guarantee success and happiness in life, but what we can do as a nation is to ensure that every American who wants to work is prepared to work, able to find a job, and able to stay out of poverty. What we can do is make our neighborhoods whole again. What we can do is retire the phrase "working poor" in our time. That's what we can do, because that's who we are." Washington, DC, July 2007

"If we continue to let our trade policy be dictated by special interests, then American workers will continue to be undermined, and public support for robust trade will continue to erode.... We cannot let enforcement of existing trade agreements take a backseat to the negotiation of new ones. Put simply, we need tougher negotiators on our side of the table -- to strike bargains that are good not just for Wall Street, but also for Main Street. And when I am President, that's what we will do." Flint, MI, June 2008

"We can't afford to lose a generation of tomorrow's doctors and scientists and teachers to poverty. We can make excuses for it or we can fight about it or we can ignore poverty altogether, but as long as it's here it will always be a betrayal of the ideals we hold as Americans. It's not who we are." Washington, DC, July 2007

"We need to heed the biblical call to care for `the least of these' and lift the poor out of despair. That's why it's not just a policy issue when we fight to expand the Earned-Income Tax Credit and the minimum wage. If you're working 40 hours a week, you shouldn't be living in poverty." A Politics of Conscience, Hartford, CT, June 2007

For more, see barackobama.com "Economy."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."

Inaugural Address, President Obama


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