Kathleen Parker on Poverty

ImageI would rather sit with the rural poor, the desperate children of urban blight, the victims of racism, and working people seeking a better life than with those whose religion is the status quo, whose goal is profit and whose hearts are cold. — Douglas Fraser

In a column in today’s Elmira Star-Gazette, Kathleen Parker smears Democrats with a broad brush. Her title, “Inequality of language: Dems aren’t really fighting poverty,” sets the stage for what comes next — Dems aren’t really interested in reducing widespread poverty, it’s all political talk.  (How would she know that?)

Parker’s theme is that wily Democrats, having hit on the innocent phrase “income inequality,” use it to mask their real intent:

  • government intervention
  • higher taxes,
  • spending,
  • redistribution

ideas that Republicans like to talk about but don’t like.

Parker writes: “What is missing from the trumpeting of income inequality are the hundreds of billions in annual government redistribution (that bad word again) that already takes place.  How much will be enough to satisfy the inequality camp?” The answer to this is that effective policies to reduce poverty would satisfy.

The problem as Parker admits is widespread poverty in America.  This problem as Parker affirms may not be easily solved.  The problem is not the rich, or income inequality, and the solution is not redistribution, income equality, or even vocational education, which is Parker’s suggestion. The challenge is to do what it takes to raise the wages of American workers so that almost everyone has enough income to live decently.

What would it take to reduce poverty and reduce the growing gap between rich and poor? Here are some suggestions.

  • Investment in infrastructure: highways, bridges, waterways, dikes.
  • Immigration reform
  • Relief from the burden of student loans
  • Programs to reduce the rate of teen pregnancy.
  • Support for families: paid leave for childbirth, childcare, Head Start,
  • Programs designed to bring people not just to the poverty level, but well above it.
  • Stop counting tips toward restaurant workers wages and raise the minimum wage.
  • Higher estate taxes
  • Fewer laws and regulations restricting the growth of labor unions.

Yes, paying for these things might require higher taxes for those who can afford them, or it might require cutting some military programs or corporate subsidies that we might well do without.

No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level — I mean the wages of decent living. — FDR

© William Hungerford – January 2014

About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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11 Responses to Kathleen Parker on Poverty

  1. BOB McGILL says:

    The quote from FDR is as up to date as you are. Check out some non-profit organizations, see exactly how much goes to support the cause. Sometimes as little as 3% actually goes to those who need it, the rest goes to pay the fund raising organizing company. We all remember some of the religious organizations and churches who’s leaders lived high on the HOG. Even FDR himself was a fraud, he started Social Security knowing full well the average life expectancy was 47 at that time. Even today the average working person doesn’t live long enough to collect anywhere near what they pay in. Even Obama made it easier to collect SS Disability to make the unemployment figures look better.


  2. whungerford says:

    If it were true that ” today the average working person doesn’t live long enough to collect anywhere near what they pay in,” Tom Reed would have no reason to worry about SS running out of money.


  3. susan boldman says:

    Honest question here…how did the President make it easier to collect SS Disability?


  4. Deb Meeker says:

    The term “redistribution” is a misnomer to begin with. The government is granted the power to collect taxes, and use that pool of federal money for these enumerated reasons.
    “Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:
    The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States….”

    “Redistribution” as Parker suggests, is willy-nilly robbing of the long suffering “job creators” and giving to the undeserving “takers”. As usual, those with Parker’s slant of the revelation, (there is widespread poverty in the US) seem to be able to pin point what won’t work, with no credible theories for what will.


  5. BOB McGILL says:

    must be you didn’t see the part about disability— close to 20 % of the population–check it out


  6. BOB McGILL says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtLp7oV4D9s‎SimilarMar 16, 2011 – Uploaded by nydisabilitylaw
    http://www.nydisabilitylaw.com New York Social Security Disability attorney Troy Rosasco says that you don’t have to be an invalid to receive Social Security… … Your case is easier to win if you are over the age of 50, if you have less education , and if your job is physical. Watch the video now to learn more.

    Ya know, instead of asking me to prove every statement why don’t you use your computer to educate yourself by doing a little research instead of taking every thing you read in the papers as the truth.


  7. BOB McGILL says:



  8. whungerford says:

    Our country is in no danger of going broke if that is even possible; certainly not when we have trillions for wars, warships and military aircraft projects. Taxpayers haven’t rebelled much since the Whiskey Rebellion in 1791 nor have they any reason as our taxes are low by world standards..


  9. BOB McGILL says:

    Did you forget about 2008 ? You need to talk to some of the DOOMS DAY prepers. There are thousands, maybe millions of people that will disagree with you. I am not one of them but I do believe this country is hanging by a thread ! How many times has money been near worthless in this country ?????


  10. whungerford says:

    Money issued by the US Government has never been near worthless to my knowledge. During the Great Depression, as is the case today, money wasn’t worthless — many people just didn’t have enough of it.

    There were many bargains for those with money during the depression — many with money to spend made themselves even richer just like Mitt did after 2008.


  11. susan boldman says:

    Ya know, that is still no answer. The laws and lack of oversight make disability “easier to get” not the POTUS. Don’t lecture me.


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