“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Counties in District 23 have above-average poverty rates compared to other parts of New York. How would you address that issue?
The following ideas for combating poverty are from opinion pieces published in local Gannett newspapers on July 20.
- I will fight to keep these programs (Social Security and Medicare) strong and vibrant for older Americans.
- A tax system that expands our middle class– Martha opposes tax policies that reward special interests, millionaires, and corporations that ship jobs overseas.
- Opposes “free” trade deals, which reward companies that ship jobs overseas.
- Leadership–discount card for prescription drugs, increase our housing supply, access to quality education
- Leadership–leaders who listen and care.
- Aggressively pursue an agenda of opportunity
- Government should be used as a tool to provide the stability and opportunity needed to attack poverty.
- The Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI) (currently blocked by House Republicans)
- Tom promotes a trained and skilled workforce, competitive energy costs, a lower tax burden, and a community willing to invest in its future.
- Tom promotes tax reform–A simpler, fairer tax code would save a typical family in the 23rd District an average of $600 annually. (tax preparation fees)
- We must work together to strengthen resources like local food banks and pantries that families rely on during their time of need. That’s why I introduced The Fighting Hunger Incentive Act, which incentivizes (with a tax break) restaurants and groceries to contribute excess inventory to local organizations working to fight poverty.
These ideas are disappointing–none directly addresses poverty. Poverty is measured by the amount of family income; it is unaffected by the cost of drugs or taxes.
“The official measure (of poverty income) uses three times the cost of a minimum food diet in 1963 in today’s prices.”
Some of these ideas intended to create jobs might reduce unemployment (none do directly) which would affect the poverty rate. Cuts to Social Security benefits would reduce senior’s income causing more to slip below the poverty line. Both candidates noted the high official rate of poverty in Tompkins County, but neither gave a plausible explanation. Census data shows that Tompkins County demographics are unusual for NY-23–the number of children under 18 and persons over 65 is unusually small. Thus the high official rate of poverty may reflect a large number of graduate students and starving artists in Tompkins county rather than any of the superficial, political explanations given by the candidates.
© William Hungerford – July 2014
http://www.stargazette.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/07/19/roberton-poverty-district/12878929/ http://www.stargazette.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/07/19/reed-poverty-district/12878837/ http://www.census.gov/how/infographics/poverty_measure-how.html