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December 08, 2016
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‘Let them eat cake’

Just for the record, the weighted average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2012 was $23,492.

Here at home, poverty is no stranger. A snapshot of Sullivan County shows that of 29,222 total households, 8% have incomes below $10,000, 7.1% between $10,000 and $14,999, and 15.2% have incomes between $15,000 and $24,999. If you look only at the county’s 18,135 families (not households, but families), you find that 5% have incomes below $10,000, 3.7% between $10,000 and $14,999 and 11.3% between $15,000 and $24,999 (factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_12_1YR_DP03&prodType=table). These same census tables are not yet available online for Wayne and Pike counties in Pennsylvania.

Any way you measure it, too many of our neighbors are stuck in poverty, receiving a variety of forms of public assistance, including food stamps.

So, let’s talk about lifting people out of poverty. To do so will require cooperation and collaboration, not the kind of poison politics we have today. Most Americans agree that it’s in our interest as a nation, both for humane and economic reasons, to help people move from dependency to self-sufficiency. To achieve this, America needs to invest in policies and programs that address the underlying causes of hunger and poverty.

Polarized politics founded in ideology will not produce a solution. Neither the approach of just slashing safety-net budgets will work, nor the approach to indefinitely spending more on programs that we cannot sustainably afford.

Perhaps the solution lies in the center. Too bad so many of our leaders are unable to meet there and address our many problems.