[Homestead] Thinking about national well-being
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.
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
* 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
* 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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