Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The War I Support

The War on Poverty. Lyndon Johnson declared it in January of 1964. In that year, 19% of American families lived at or below the national poverty level ... an annual income of $2,473 a year. Forty-eight years later, 15% of America's families live at or below poverty, represented by an annual income of $14,824 for a family of three. Is anyone declaring a 4% decrease over 48 years a victory in this war? Federal welfare assistance was established in the 1930s, and ended as a government funded entitlement program in 1996, during Bill Clinton's presidency. The program that replaced welfare was Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and it remains the program administered to our impoverished citizens today. The annual budget for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families is currently $17.5 billion...which translates into an average TANF payment...for a family of three living on less than $15,000 a year...of $166 a month. Meanwhile, the War in Iraq costs $12 billion a month. As my mama has been known to say...if you want to know where your priorities are, look at your checkbook. The final debate between our presidential candidates has just ended. I heard no "buzzwords" to identify either Senator Obama or Senator McCain as a champion for the poorest in our land. The focus is on a financial crisis so sprawling that most of us have no idea how it will impact us. Our candidates for president are, at best, aiming their heftiest remedies at the middle class. But what about the poor? We must not forget the poor among us. So, on this Blog Action Day....the day bloggers across the world have spoken out on the subject of poverty...count me in! Mama de la Paz supports the war on poverty. Wiping out poverty here and around the globe is our most reliable road to peace.

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