"The fundamental lesson of the past 50 years is that we have made progress in the War on Poverty largely through bipartisan efforts to strengthen economic security and increase opportunity. As our economy moves forward, rather than cut these programs and risk leaving hardworking Americans behind, we need to build on the progress we have made to strengthen and reform them. Going forward, we cannot lose sight of the positive part government can continue to play in reducing economic hardship and ensuring access to economic opportunity for all citizens."
This quote is from the White House Progress Report on the War on Poverty
. This insight is incredibly important in wake of the Census Bureau's findings last fall.
The Report: Income, Poverty, Health Insurance Coverage in the US: 2012 show that no significant statistical changes were made to the national poverty rate. 15% of Americans struggle with poverty. This meant Brookings predictions from September were almost entirely correct. We are appreciative of the Coalition on Human Needs' quick analysis and comparison of poverty numbers from year to year. KACAP and our member agencies remain dedicated to programs and policies that will make a difference.
Congressman Paul Ryan is taking aim at the nation's poverty programs, unveiling a report longon criticism of more than 90 different poverty programs in 2012 that provided food, housing, education and other assistance for low-income Americans, but short on policy prescriptions for our country’s increasing income inequality and sagging economic mobility.
KACAP considered the Congressman's report, and in doing so, find that we echo the sentiment of Melissa Boteach, friend and colleague from the Center for American Progress. Her response included: "As we consider reforms to strengthen the safety net and lift people out of poverty, solutions should first do no harm and not exacerbate poverty and inequality. We can adjust to the reality of more mothers working and changing family structure with policies such as high quality childcare and early childhood education, paid family leave, paid sick days, and closing the gender pay gap. We can tackle the need for greater workforce development through expanding policies such as apprenticeships. And we could actually reduce the safety net spending that Rep. Ryan decries by raising the minimum wage so that fewer families are working full-time and still living in poverty. "