[Homestead] Thinking about national well-being

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Tue Sep 28 16:10:07 EDT 2004


Everyone thinks about their own well-being and quite a few attempt to do 
something about it.  But few think about how their individual 
well-being  and that of their children is affected by that huge drag on 
the economy that is over 35 million poor.
There is a small percentage of the poor that is crippled, blind, ill, 
too dumb to educate, but for most of them it is a politically-contrived 
condition.by the Republicrats.  No intelligent life in the U.S. 
political universe.


Boston.com 	THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

The Boston Globe <http://www.boston.com/news/globe/>
MISSED MESSAGES '04 | GLOBE EDITORIAL


  35.9 million people

September 28, 2004

/A series on forgotten campaign issues/
POVERTY eats away at America's Missedmessages '04promise. But the issue 
gets too little attention on the presidential campaign trail. In 2003, 
12.5 percent of the country, or 35.9 million people, lived in poverty, 
according to the Census Bureau. It's a problem in familiar cities and in 
neglected places that George Bush and John Kerry are far less likely to 
visit. Consider:

* Lubec, Maine: Declines in the fishing industry have affected this 
town: 28.8 percent of the 1,650 residents live below the poverty line, 
according to 2000 Census figures. Lubec's Washington County is a picture 
of rural poverty where a sparse population spreads over 2,500 square 
miles, making it tougher to provide essentials such as medical care for 
children and the elderly. Heroin and prescription drug addictions are 
chronic problems. Fish farming is on the rise, but the city needs more 
economic development.

* Miami: It's a political and cultural hot spot, but the Census Bureau 
says that in 2003, 28 percent of Miami's people lived below the poverty 
line, rising to 50 percent for families with a female head of household. 
This summer, one mother told The Miami Herald that she lived from 
paycheck to paycheck despite working 64 hours a week at two nursing home 
jobs for $8 and $9 an hour. College could serve as a ladder to the 
middle class for working and unemployed parents. But shortsighted 
policies often push people into dead-end jobs instead of careers.

* Missoula, Mont.: Housing prices here -- $445,000 for a five-bedroom 
house -- seem like a bargain by Boston-area standards. And Montana has a 
low unemployment rate -- 3.9 percent in August. But Montana suffers from 
low and stagnant wages. Last month, average hourly wages were $13.22. 
That's not enough, according to a study by the Northwest Federation of 
Community Organizations, which says a single adult with two children 
needs to earn $17 an hour to pay bills and cope with emergencies. Two 
working adults with two children would need $23.74 an hour.

* Cleveland: The city has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and 
the Indians, a Major League Baseball team. But when John Edwards and 
Dick Cheney go there for the Oct. 5 vice presidential debate, they 
should talk about Cleveland's 2003 poverty rate of 31.3 percent and 
child poverty rate of 46.9 percent -- both the highest for large US 
cities. The loss of jobs is a huge problem for Ohio. And there is a lack 
of affordable housing in the suburbs that could put people closer to the 
jobs that have fled downtown.

The candidates must talk about world affairs, but they should also 
emphasize the network of factors that cause poverty. And they should say 
that improving the lot of all Americans is also part of homeland security.
*TOMORROW: Immigration reform.* 

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The New York Times Company
 






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