War on Poverty or War on the Poor?

By Winnie Eke

One can argue that the “war on poverty” has not worked. However, Representative Paul Ryan’s “conversation” plan simply ignores some facts.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 1966 to 2012 the poverty rate has been consistent from 11 percent to 15 percent. This rate is in spite of the increasing income among the rich. In addition the near poverty rate has not decreased for many as those on the threshold tend to fall into poverty.

Ryan agrees that education is fundamental to reducing poverty yet he is not willing to support a budget that can fund education programs. It was nice for Mr. Ryan to visit the inner cities. Unfortunately, Mr. Ryan did not learn a lot about the poor. His suggestion that those training for a skill or getting treatment should be punished is counter intuitive. In essence he wants to punish children and other family members because the mother or father is not able to complete a program.

As Mr. Shipley noted, America’s economy is stratified. Mr. Ryan needs to account for how to help those unemployed and those marginalized in our society.

Your thought.


One thought on “War on Poverty or War on the Poor?

  1. Objective and respectful dialogue is an important tool for the public adminstrator when developing or seeking to change policy. It is the difference between any and no hope for lasting change. Case in point: does anyone really believe that Ryan “wants to punish children” with his policy? Does he really stay up nights dreaming of ways to punish poor children? Of course not. Sadly, stating it this way will cause any sympathic Ryan person to become defensive, and once that happens all hope is lost. Why not say that a consequence of Ryan’s proposals is that poor children….. Respectfully demonstrate the results of a policy nstead of assigning personal motives. As a professional organization should we not strive for this?


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