Ask the VP Candidates to #TalkPoverty at Tonight’s Debate!
By Devon Grayson-Wallace on 10/11/2012 @ 06:25 PM
Poverty rates in this country are unacceptably high for a prosperous nation. A few weeks ago we were relieved to discover that there were not more people living in poverty in 2011 than there were the previous year. However, there were still 46.2 million people struggling to make ends meet. This includes 16.1 million children, so that one in every five children under the age of 18 lived in poverty. The United States is the country with the highest GDP and yet has the second highest percentage of children living in poverty in the developed world. So why wasn’t there a single question about poverty during last week’s presidential debate?
As the 2011 Census data show, various federal programs lifted millions above the poverty line and mitigated the worst injustices of poverty – like food insecurity – for millions. Access to quality public education and job training is the most viable path out of the cycle of poverty. Moreover, our country’s history shows that practical solutions can successfully reduce poverty. As we’ve written in the past, when we invest in federal programs that create jobs, support struggling families and ensure no child goes to bed hungry, we protect the most vulnerable in our society.
In the coming months, our leaders will be faced with deciding our nation’s priorities. As my predecessor April Mays wrote one year ago, “It seems as though working to reduce or eliminate poverty would be in the best interest of all in regards to budget savings, job creation, and giving the economy the boost it needs.” For the good of us all, the leadership of this country needs to take more decisive action to end poverty in the United States. What better place to start than in the debates and discussions leading up this year’s elections?
FCNL has some ideas about how to further mitigate the effects of poverty and build a bridge to a future without poverty. Now it is time for the presidential candidates to step up and offer their own ideas about how to address the widespread poverty in our nation. What the candidates will do to relieve poverty should be part of the election discussion, but we have yet to hear how either side will address poverty during ongoing difficult budget decisions. Fortunately, there is a growing number of people and advocacy groups, like our friends at Half In Ten and Bread for the World, who are calling upon the debate moderators and the candidates to engage in a substantive conversation about how public policy can and does affect those living in poverty. I encourage you to add your voice through social media like Facebook and Twitter by tagging the moderator, Martha Raddatz, and adding the phrase #TalkPoverty. Please join me in asking the moderator and the candidates to bring poverty to the debate.
For more information about how to convey your priorities to candidates running for all levels of government, see our “What the Candidates Didn’t Say” page.