The War on Poor versus The War on Poverty


During the 2012 presidential campaign, none of the candidates courted the poor because voter turnout among the poor is traditionally low. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (data from Tuesday, September 13, 2011) the nation’s poverty rate rose to 15.1% or 46.2M Americans in 2010. This is up from the poverty rate in 2000 in which 12.2% of Americans fell below the poverty line. In fact, most Americans (58.5%) will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75.

Why do I bring this up? There are too many Americans living under the poverty line, struggling to get the basic necessities. Too many politicians portray the poor as lazy, live unambitious for a better life, and perceive themselves to be victims. Too many politicians choose to court the rich and ignore the poor.

Children represent a disproportionate share of the poor in the United States and a disproportionate share of the population that the politicians characterize as lazy, unambitious, and victims. Children are 24% of the total population, but 36% of the poor population. In 2010, 16.4M children, or 22.0%, were poor.

Children are the building blocks to our society. So goes our youngest generation, so goes America.

It seems that we need to reframe the conversation around the War on Poverty versus the War on the Poor. We need to focus on social programs that will drive change especially among our youngest Americans. This is going to be one of many posts on The War on Poor versus The War on Poverty. These are issues I feel very strongly about.