Concerning the Poor and Mitt Romney
Republican presidential contender
The real problem with the statement isn't that it misstates Romney's concerns, but that it accurately states our national reality and our bipartisan political consensus. Romney's "gaffe" states a central truth. The fact is this nation shows too little concern about the poor.
The rich rulers in high places show amazing indifference to the poor while commercializing a religion that is rooted in a poverty-stricken Jesus - a minority born under a death warrant who escaped to
There are 49 million Americans now in poverty.
One in three Americans is in poverty or classified as low income. More than 17 million children live in a household that is "food insecure," the technical term for going hungry.
One out of every 45 children - 1.5 million in all -is homeless. Of the industrial nations, the U.S. lags in ensuring that poor children get a fair start with adequate nutrition, prenatal care, stable housing and high-quality education.
Most poor people, contrary to what
The poor are Appalachian coal miners who work without adequate safety protections. They are veterans who return victorious from wartime battlefields to face defeat in economic crossfires. The poor tend our children, mow our lawns. They clean up the hotel rooms that Romney and Gingrich sleep in. But the poor can't afford adequate health care, stable housing, or to send their kids to college.
Yet neither party "concerns" itself with the very poor. They tend not to vote. They can't afford lobbyists. They don't make campaign contributions. Even as poverty spreads, politicians in both parties talk about the middle class.
We need targeted intervention by our federal government to provide jobs for our people - an FDR-like program that hires our youth, our returning soldiers, our chronically unemployed. Providing corporate tax breaks is not enough. We need a program that reinvests in America and puts America back to work NOW.
The last president to express real concern about the poor was
Ironically, the more both parties talk about the middle class, the more the middle class declines. As poverty deepens and spreads, the middle class is undermined. The decline of the minimum wage and of labor unions contributed to declining wages. Good jobs were shipped abroad. College was priced out of the reach of more and more families. Health care costs soared. The middle class, unlike the poor, could keep afloat by taking on more debt, pulling money out of their homes - but now that option is gone.
Romney said the poor had a safety net, but he would "fix it" by shredding it. He and Gingrich promise more top-end tax cuts, more military spending - and less government spending, requiring savage cuts in programs for the poor from aid to poor schools, prenatal care for mothers, Pell grants for college students, affordable housing and more.
Conservatives argue that America is a Christian nation, but these realities offend the faith. Jesus embraced his mission to "preach good news to the poor." He would judge us by how we treated the "least of these."
By that standard, we should remember
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Concerning the Poor and Mitt Romney | Politics
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