"Our politics moves from budget showdown to cultural conflict to trivial controversy while carefully avoiding the greatest single threat to the unity of America: the vast, increasing segregation of young, African American men and boys from the promise of their country."
"One wants to strengthen the nation's existing safety net. The other wants to overhaul it. President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney have vastly different views on how to help the 46.2 million Americans in poverty and the more than 30 million people who are near poor. The president leans toward expanding the programs that exist, while the Republicans say they will set up a system that fosters economic opportunity instead of government dependency."
"Change is an America where we reduce our deficit by cutting spending where we can, and asking the wealthiest Americans to go back to the income tax rates they paid when Bill Clinton was president. I've worked with Republicans to cut a trillion dollars of spending, and I'll do more. I'll work with anyone of any party to move this country forward. But I won't agree to eliminate health insurance for millions of poor, elderly, or disabled on Medicaid, or turn Medicare into a voucher just to pay for another millionaire's tax cut."
“Neither the quantity nor the quality of jobs being created in the present ‘recovery’ are reason for optimism. Too many of the jobs created in the last two months have been either part-time, or positions to fill the needs of the holiday retail season. Part-time jobs rarely lift a household out of poverty, and poverty rates are already at the highest rate in decades.”
“Medicaid, which covers low-income families with children under 19 as well as the elderly and disabled who are impoverished, has received far less attention in the presidential campaign than Medicare. But Medicaid, which costs about $400 billion a year, provides health care for more people - roughly 1 million in Wisconsin and more than 60 million nationwide.”
"At the outset of the #TalkPoverty effort, I promised to hound both campaigns for answers. In the end, it didn’t really require hounding as far as the Obama campaign was concerned—they agreed to respond when I first contacted them."
“There is, in fact, a government program that provides discounted phone service to low-income people, depending on where participants live, through Federal Communications Commission programs. Lifeline provides discounts on basic monthly phone service, according to the FCC website.”
"There's an odd imbalance that few have noticed in this presidential campaign. In the midst of a continuing economic downturn, one candidate talks regularly about poverty, and the other doesn't. The one who does is the Republican, Mitt Romney."
“But the budgetary plans of Romney and Ryan are the cause of great concern. Their plans to slash federal assistance programs and turn some into block grants have anti-poverty advocates worried that the safety net would be shredded and put the nation’s future at risk.”
“Ryan’s answer was serious without being comprehensive. He was strongest on the need for education reform in mediocre schools that routinely betray poor and minority children. Ryan correctly criticized welfare policies that encourage dependence and undermine family commitments.”
“Neither President Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney has said very much during the presidential campaign about helping the poor. There may be a good reason for that: Elections are won by appealing to the middle class, not the impoverished.”
“Neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney has said very much during the presidential campaign about helping the poor. There may be a good reason for that: Elections are won by appealing to the middle class, not the impoverished.”
“According to Mr. Rector, roughly 100 million people - one-third of the U.S. population - receive aid from at least one means-tested welfare program each month. Average annual benefits come to around $9,000 per recipient.
“He’s right that poverty rates go down for two-parent families. It’s also true that they go down for two-earner families: only 4 percent of households with more than one earner are in poverty, as compared to 24 percent of households with a single earner, according to a report last year from Half in Ten. Marriage isn’t the only route to two incomes (nor does marriage always result in two incomes). The Romney-Ryan ticket and the GOP might want to reconsider, for example, their opposition to investing in job training programs that can lead to good jobs for young people and a path to the middle class.”
“Federal welfare spending has grown by 32 percent over the past four years, fattened by President Obama's stimulus spending and swelled by a growing number of Americans whose recession-depleted incomes now qualify them for public assistance, according to numbers released Thursday.”
“And Obama? Unlike Romney, he did respond to advocates who had asked the candidates to detail their anti-poverty plans in writing. But on the stump, he usually alludes to the poor only in passing, too - when he praises Social Security for keeping 20 million older Americans out of poverty every year.”
“If you've been following the presidential campaign, you might easily have gotten the impression that the poor no longer exist. The word "poverty" was mentioned once in the first debate between President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney. Together, the two candidates made 29 references to the middle class. And in Tuesday's debate, I lost count after Romney reeled off more than half-a-dozen references in a single answer.”
“As President Obama and Mitt Romney crisscross Ohio this month, Howell has watched in disappointment the two tangling over foreign affairs, the economy, and taxes on the middle class and the rich. There's been scant talk, he said, about improving the lives of America's poor.”
"'This is the first time in this campaign that either candidate has specifically addressed how to combat child poverty this campaign,' said Redlener of the Children’s Health Fund. Noting that Romney declined to answer, Redlener continued, 'Whoever prevails in November, there is no escaping the fact that investing in children is essential to the economic well-being of the U.S.'"
“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.”
“Honorable people can disagree on whether our safety net is lavish or not. It is surely at risk, but not because of the Paul Ryan budget, which proposes spending at a higher level than George W. Bush's last budget (the same one Barack Obama blasted as being ‘unpatriotic’ for its excess). The safety net is at grave risk because we can't sustain Obama's spending habits.”
“Private health plans will start enrolling people in October 2013. The result, according to the Congressional Budget Office, is that 30 million uninsured people will eventually gain coverage. To help them afford it, the federal government would subsidize private insurance premiums for people with incomes up to four times the federal poverty level ($92,200 for a family of four). And it would expand Medicaid to cover more poor people, including many adults without children.”
“Mitt Romney wants to save Social Security and Medicare partly by cutting benefits for higher- income recipients. President Obama also sees wealthy Americans as part of the solution but suggests instead raising their premiums or payroll taxes. The fact that both presidential candidates back some form of so-called ‘means testing’ suggests that millions of future seniors will probably end up paying more, or getting fewer benefits no matter who wins the White House.”
"'Like President Obama, Vice President Biden will use the upcoming debate as an opportunity to speak directly to the American people about what’s at stake for the middle class in this election,' a campaign official said. 'He will continue to drive home the specific plans he and the president have to keep strengthening our economy and the middle class.'"
“They pointed to Simpson and Bowles' call for a reduction in Social Security benefits, even though Social Security is a pay-as-you-go insurance program that by law cannot add to the deficit. A proposed cost-of-living adjustment sounds benign but would represent 3 percent less for seniors to live on. The normal retirement age would be raised gradually to 69, even though low-income Americans' life expectancy isn't increasing.”
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