A New Day Shines – The Tower, September 24 2010
Domestic poverty does not exist to most Americans. While living in the wealthiest nation in the world, this ignorance about or intentional suppression of making poverty an issue in the United States is a sin. Recent statistics show that in 2010, this nation suffers from one of the highest poverty rates since the government began collecting data in the mid-1960s.
The statistics go on and on, overwhelming the mind’s ability to truly grasp how devastating poverty is within the United States. Put more concretely this means 43.6 million people live below the federal poverty line.
That is 1 in 7 Americans.
Worse, the Census Bureau’s data underreports the number of people struggling to provide for themselves and their families. Systemic flaws in the calculation of the federal poverty line and the federal poverty threshold hinder our ability to truly comprehend and hear the cries of the poor.
As the election season heats up, the time has come to reinvigorate the national discourse surrounding domestic poverty. Economic matters appear to dominate the election, yet voters only seem concerned with their immediate needs. They seek tax cuts for those with means, at the expense of those without. Politicians pander to these sentiments, refusing to even explore domestic poverty as a campaign topic.
First, reforms of the federal poverty line must be undertaken, so the true magnitude of need becomes visible to the government and the public alike. Second, existing programs such as food stamps and Medicaid are perpetually underfunded and must be made spending priorities. Third, after the election, private citizens must become engaged in community organizing, charity work, and other avenues for meeting immediate needs and bringing about systemic changes.
When November arrives and voters head to the ballot box, the American citizens must stand in solidarity with one another, to seek the good of the poor.