The US is the richest
country in the world, yet 1 in 5 children will grow up in poverty --
more than in any comparable western country. One in 3 African-American
children will spend their childhood impoverished. During the past
decade, inequality increased and welfare provisions became less generous
in spite of a booming economy and government surpluses. Hunger
relief organizations have reported increased demand since the 1996 welfare
legislation. Economic prosperity is no longer sufficient to alleviate
poverty and reduce inequality. The next economic recession is certain
to make things even worse for our poorest and most vulnerable citizens.
Low-wage work in no solution.
The minimum wage has failed to keep pace with inflation. In no state
can a minimum wage salary pay fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment.
In addition to more than 600,000 homeless people, 5.4 million families
have "crisis-level housing needs" – the largest number ever recorded.
If our society can be judged by the treatment of its poorest and most vulnerable
members, then the US is doing very poorly indeed.
The Poverty Working Group
will join the struggle for affordable housing, affordable and high
quality child care, improvements in education, and expansions
of hunger relief, health insurance, and cash assistance
programs to aid poor children and adults.