Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Poverty and Choices

Mirror of Justice links to an interesting study by the Center for American Progress entitled "From Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half." A noble aim, given that almost 40 million people live in poverty in the United States (one in eight), and poverty rates have risen dramatically under the Bush presidency (from 11.3 percent in 2000 to 12.6 percent in 2005). These figures are among the highest in the developed world. Inequality is also mushrooming, with the richest 1 percent of the population holding the largest share of income since 1929.

The study puts forward four key recommendations that, if implemented, would reduce poverty by 26 percent immediately. The recommendations are: (i) raise the minimum wage; (ii) expand the earned income tax credit (in-work benefits); (iii) provide childcare subsidies to poor families; (iv) expand the child tax credit.

The overall cost of these measures: $90 billion a year. To put this in perspective, Bush's tax cuts cost around $400 billion a year, while tax cuts for families making more than $200,000 a year alone costs more than $100 billion. And of course, the Iraq war: $420 billion and counting...

So there is a choice. It is possible to reverse the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush era, and still enact policies that would dramatically reduce poverty rates. Do we want to help the poor and the needy, as Christ commanded, or do we want to give handouts to the rich and spend money on war? For a Christian, the answer is clear. For the Bush administration, not so much.


Anonymous said...

Do we want to help the poor and the needy, as Christ commanded, or do we want to give handouts to the rich and spend money on war?

That's all so yesterday !It's no longer about the poor and needy, or Christ's commands, or war. According to some of the more prominent voices in today's Church, our chief mission as Catholics is to propagate the US Supreme Court with rightwing corporatist justices. Unlike what you learned as a child back in the day, the End now justifies the Means. Anything that may be encountered on the way to those coveted SC nominations - be it ever so unsavory - can easily be explained away, ignored or defended if one is to be considered a "Faithful" Catholic, circa 2007.

Give to the rich and the largesse will trickle down to the lower classes.

Better to fight them there than here.

Compared to 40 million abortions, 650,000 dead civilians in Iraq isn't that bad.

Franklin Jennings said...

These proposals do hardly anything to attack the root of the problem. Publically traded corporations are afforded the protections of the 14th amendment, giving them an advantage that allows them to figuratively enslave all but the highest of socioeconomic classes.

Our system of government advantage to corporations will not allow human beings to live in dignity. Debt peonage isn't dead, it just comes with a monthly statement now. Without that advantage, corporations could be forced to work for the common good, if nothing else by exorbitant tax rates which limit or negatively impact their growth while using the proceeds to assist average americans to start their own businesses, truly family owned businesses that could then engage in a truly free market.

Simply redefine person int he 14th to apply to any living organism possessing the DNA of homo sapiens sapiens, and you end legal abortion and corporate dominance of our economy in one fell swoop.