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Politicians are ignoring crisis of poverty in America

Politicians are ignoring crisis of poverty in America

The Huffington Post is running a series spotlighting problems that are not being discussed by either political party this election season. As part of this project, Jim Wallis notes that we’re looking at the highest rates of poverty this country has seen in 50 years:

We’ve got a poverty problem in this country, paired with leaders who won’t even say the word “poverty,” let alone solve the problem. We have a political class, on both sides of the aisle, that is so far removed from the hardships of a normal life that they can’t even connect with the middle class, let alone the poor. We’ve got professional politicians who think they’re representing their people, but how can they when they’re forced to raise thousands of dollars per day to get re-elected?

We have a system set up for politicians to move farther and farther away from their constituents and into the hands of the donors, the rich, the powerful. Instead of representing their district, they’re trolling for money and have lost touch with the people who need them the most — the poor and vulnerable. I don’t think all members of Congress came here to overlook the poor, but they were elected into a system that does it for them; in Washington, it’s always campaign crunch time, and the pervasive dominance of money in politics has made it nearly impossible for the stories and hardships of the poor to make headway into the national conversations.

The Bible says a nation is judged by how it treats the poor, the vulnerable, and who Jesus called “the least of these.” Will we continue to ignore the poor? Will we finally gather the political will in this country now that it’s moved to the suburbs and the societal mainstream? Now that it’s next to us? Now that it’s us?

The poor don’t have lobbyists or super PACs to get their voices heard in Washington, and they certainly don’t have a real commitment in the party platforms at the conventions this season. So people of faith and conscience will keep beating the drum about poverty and asking each candidate, every candidate, what their policies will do to the least of these. Doesn’t the highest American poverty rate in 50 years make this a moral issue — and a political issue?

Read full text here.


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Bill Dilworth

Kevin, Dolan also gave a benediction for the Dems.


Lan: I suppose she spoke at the Dem’s rally for the same reason Dolan spoke at the GOP rally. They were invited and they agreed. 🙂

And yes, the Executive Branch of our govt (aka The White House) bears much responsiblity in the transfer of wealth from all of us to the few of us. Let’s start with repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, the branch banking laws that protected the consumers. If the White House had fought the repeal of these laws, we would not be in the banking mess we are today. The laws were repealed in the name of “de-regulation”, and The 1% pillaged the banking industry like Genghis Kahn pillaged China.

That was the job of the Executive Branch, and it failed us.

Kevin McGrane


It was interesting to read the quotes from the Bible, then read it was all the politicians in the White House’s fault. Perhaps the church, the ones the N.T. was written to, should “step up”. I noticed, too, that Sr. Simone Campbell spoke to the Dems and not to the GOP. Wonder why that was?

Lan Green

Bill Dilworth

“we need to ask all the politiccati “Why?””

I don’t think we need to scratch our heads too hard over this. Look at the socio-economic status of the political class: they are the rich. Some are richer than others, but even those who started off life in somewhat modest circumstances are rolling in it now.

I’m not saying that the rich never care about the poor and never take action to better their lot. I’m saying that advancing policies that favor one’s own class is natural behavior. Which makes it all the more remarkable – and rare – for them not to do that.


I agree that we’ll probably get a better deal from the Dems that the GOP. That said, the facts still state that, since 1970, the rich have gotten richer and the rest of us poorer, no matter who has been in the White House.

Source: Pew Research, Aug. 8, 2012 report.: In 1970, middle class Americans took home 62% of the country’s income; that proportion has fallen to 45% in 2006 and remained at 45% in 2010. Upper income adults now receive a large slice of the annual income pie: 46% in 2010 compared with 29% in 1970.

That has been over 8 presidential administrations, both Dem and GOP from Nixon to Obama. If we look at the graphs, there is virtually zero difference in the trends no matter who was in the White House.

I don’t think Rev. Wallis is far off the mark, and we need to ask all the politiccati “Why?”

Kevin McGrane

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