Blog Action Day - Poverty
According to Merriam Webster's, poverty is
"the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions."
The U.S. Census Bureau has all sorts of information about poverty. Did you know these statistics?
In the United States, the official poverty rate in 2007 was 12.5%.
In 2007, 37.3 million people were in poverty, up from 36.5 million in 2006.
Poverty rates in 2007 were statistically unchanged for non-Hispanic Whites (8.2 percent), Blacks (24.5 percent), and Asians (10.2 percent) from 2006.
The poverty rate increased for Hispanics (21.5 percent in 2007, up from 20.6 percent in 2006).
The poverty rate increased for children under 18 years old (18.0 percent in 2007, up from 17.4 percent in 2006).
The poverty rate remained statistically unchanged for people 18 to 64 years old (10.9percent) and people 65 and over (9.7 percent)
These statistics are the results of all kinds of surveys and research. I'm sure there are many complicated formulas behind them too, but they don't tell the real story of poverty.
Millions of people in America don't have enough. This country where people spend millions of dollars to give their dogs birthday parties. Others don't have enough to eat. They may not be literally starving, but they are malnourished. Millions of people are not properly clothed. They don't have sufficient health care. They don't have enough heat in the winter. They don't live in safe environments.
They just plain don't have enough. When will this no longer be tolerated? Poverty is horrible anywhere in the world, but the amount of poverty that remains in America is completely unacceptable. Poverty can be eliminated, especially here in the United States. John Edwards' anti-poverty plan was to cut poverty by one third within a decade, lifting 12 million Americans out of poverty by 2016 and end poverty within 30 years, lifting 37 million Americans out of poverty by 2036.
We need to take specific steps to achieve these goals. One of these steps is to look at the past and see how we got to this point, so we don't repeat it and make better choices in the future. Everyday we hear about the horrible state of the economy. The foreclosure crisis has hit this country hard.
Debt is a huge problem in this country. But do people remember that credit card debt used to be deductible on their income taxes? Yes, it was. Now all of you people who love you some Ronald Reagan, do you remember which president eliminated that deduction for the middle class? And also restricted the deductability of IRA Contributions. Oh, and made unemployment benefits taxable. Yes, Ronald Regan did with the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Ronald Reagan was no friend to the middle class or the poor.
I believe that we are now seeing the results of his tax policies. Nothing trickled down. I'm certainly no economist nor an income tax expert; these are just my opinions. But I do think that it's quite interesting that the mortgage interest deduction was the main deduction that the average consumer was left with. Home ownership was even more strongly encouraged and mortgage debt and home equity lines of credit were the ways that your average person could have more cash and an income tax deduction. Could this be related to all the shady mortgages that were sold and all the foreclosures now?
We are getting ready to have a historical election in this country in just over two weeks. What candidate truly shows an intent to end the income disparity in this country? Which candidate idolizes the polices of Ronald Reagan? If we really want to end poverty in this country, we need to choose the right leader. Vote Obama/Biden!
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