The poor in America: In need of helpSome 15% of Americans (around 46.2m people) live below the poverty line, as Ms Hamilton does. You have to go back to the early 1960s—before Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programmes—to find a significantly higher rate. Many more, like Ms Dunham, have incomes above the poverty line but nevertheless cannot meet their families’ basic monthly needs, and there are signs that their number is growing.
Once upon a time the fates of these people weighed heavily on American politicians. Ronald Reagan boasted about helping the poor by freeing them from having to pay federal income tax. Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s running-mate in 1996, sought to spearhead a “new war on poverty.” George W. Bush called “deep, persistent poverty…unworthy of our nation’s promise”.
No longer. Budgets are tight and the safety net is expensive. Mitt Romney famously said he was not “concerned about the very poor” because they have a safety net to take care of them. Mr Obama’s second-term plan mentioned poverty once, and on the trail he spoke gingerly of “those aspiring to the middle class”. “Poor” is a four-letter word.
posted by infini
on Nov 8, 2012 -
Juan Cole remembers Reagan. Cole: I did not say anything yesterday about Ronald Reagan's death. The day a person dies he has a right to be left alone.
But yesterday is now history, and Reagan's legacy should not pass without comment.
posted by skallas
on Jun 7, 2004 -
'The guy who tried to kill my dad.' Setting aside partisan bickering, this description of Saddam Hussein by George W. Bush today sent my mind reeling. Is this in reference to something published in the past that is just escaping my mind? The Reuters version of the story adds that it is reference to "an Iraqi plot to kill former President George Bush after the 1991 Gulf War." Anyone have a link to that older story?
posted by bclark
on Sep 27, 2002 -