Leonard Pitts on Poverty

Paul Ryan has an anti-poverty proposal

mandelaLeonard Pitts writes that Paul Ryan has made a proposal for addressing poverty in the USA. Pitts says that Ryan would give the States grants to spend as they like. The grants would come with strings and conditions intended to ensure that the States achieve the desired results. Pitts applauds the fact that the proposal exists, indicating that Republicans may finally recognize that poverty is a problem needing attention.

I haven’t studied Ryan’s proposal. I know no more about it than I read in Leonard Pitts’ column. Giving anti-poverty money to the States is consistent with Republican views. It would be as futile as giving hurricane Sandy money to Gov. Christie — unlikely to achieve the goal. Nor do I believe that the answer to poverty is any different in Michigan than in Mississippi–although some states surely would spend the money more effectively than others. Pitts writes that Ryan’s proposal would “turn one problem into 50,” and that has the ring of truth.

We know how to solve poverty–increase family disposable income–we don’t need 50 experiments.

  • Raise wages well above the poverty level.
  • Stop short-changing women
  • Child care allowance
  • Stop counting tips as wages
  • Put more people to work
  • Invest more in education and infrastructure
  • Every job should have adequate benefits: vacation, pension, insurance, family leave

Suggesting the States experiment is naive–we don’t need to start over as if poverty were a mystery that we have no idea how to address.

We need what we almost had during the Johnson Administration–a national consensus to defeat poverty. We need a national plan, formulated by experts, enacted by Congress, and accepted by the people. This is a monumental challenge. When we try to address a social problem as a nation, we often fail in a flurry of partisan strife as we have with affordable health care, climate change, and education reform.

Leonard Pitts concludes:

pittsThus one welcomes even this flawed proposal. One hopes it presages renewed GOP interest in an issue the party has largely ceded to the Democrats and spurs us all to reconsider what we can–and should–do to erase the specter of want in a land of plenty. For too long, we have responded to that urgent need only with silence.

© William Hungerford – August 2014


Click to access expanding_opportunity_in_america.pdf


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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33 Responses to Leonard Pitts on Poverty

  1. Deb Meeker says:

    No, not a good idea for states to be given the reins. States were given the choice to set up healthcare insurance exchanges, and because of that, millions are still uninsured. The first full three years were to be federally paid, then after that by 90%, and still the ideologues would rather let people die, than allow government spending. What would be different about assuring the people of food?


  2. BOB McGILL says:

    So in conclusion, we liberals intend to change human nature with money. Watch, as we change druggies and drunks and other social sewage into productive citizens by simply giving them more money.


  3. Anne says:

    I wonder whether throwing enough money at cranks would help change them, too.


  4. Anne says:

    You know, GW Bush was also in recovery for alcohol and cocaine drug abuse. Did you consider him ‘social sewage’ too?


  5. BOB McGILL says:

    him and Clinton too ( both Clintons )


  6. BOB McGILL says:

    try it and see by donating to Martha 🙂


  7. BOB McGILL says:

    ” We know how to solve poverty–increase family disposable income–we don’t need 50 experiments.

    ■Raise wages well above the poverty level.
    ■Stop short-changing women
    ■Child care allowance
    ■Stop counting tips as wages
    ■Put more people to work
    ■Invest more in education and infrastructure
    ■Every job should have adequate benefits: vacation, pension, insurance, family leave ”

    this is a line of bull, it’s a fact that there will always be poverty


  8. whungerford says:

    So Bob, you disagree with Nelson Mandela’s view that poverty is man-made and can be removed by human actions.


  9. BOB McGILL says:

    there is a guy in town that we call the ” CAN MAN “. He is on welfare and dumpster dives for returnable cans and bottles. Then spends the money on lottery tickets. Then there are the people who use their EBT cards to get cash from the ATM and buy lottery tickets and RED BULL.


  10. BOB McGILL says:

    Mandela is delusive, people who are able to make their own way will not stand for government taking from them to help others on a scale that would be required.


  11. whungerford says:

    So what, Bob?


  12. whungerford says:

    As more and more people slip into poverty, how long will they stand for being shortchanged, Bob?


  13. BOB McGILL says:

    hey, I asked you to produce the starving children you keep talking about, but you have not come up with one yet. Do you really think this country would drop tons of food to people in Iraq and let kids starve here, in this country ?


  14. BOB McGILL says:

    SO WHAT YOURSELF willy 🙂


  15. Anne says:

    In my school district, there are kids who eat free breakfast and free lunch at school, and then that’s it for the day for them (and yes, please, I want you to tell me they’re not hungry). All across the state you’ll see big banners outside of local schools: Kids eat here for free. Why do you think that is, Bob? I can “produce” plenty of hungry kids, but of course cannot–will not–name names due to privacy considerations. Because Bob never had children, he of course has no idea what children’s lives are like nowadays, something he might be better acquainted with if he had a family and therefore more exposure to other people’s families. As it is, he’s clearly toppled over the point from (maybe devil’s advocate?) contrarian to being stupid for stupid’s sake. Smileys notwithstanding.


  16. BOB McGILL says:

    my father disappeared when I was 6, in the 50s there weren’t the programs that we have today. I’ve been there, done that. TRY AGAIN 🙂


  17. BOB McGILL says:



  18. BOB McGILL says:

    so you say, ” I can “produce” plenty of hungry kids, but of course cannot–will not–name names due to privacy considerations. ” Now we have an idea of what type of person you are, I would never let a kid go hungry, even if I had to starve myself. What are you doing about it ? besides bitching about Tom.


  19. Anne says:

    I’m working to elect representatives who will enact policies to end childhood hunger, is what I’m doing about it. And I bet there are plenty of kids going hungry right in your town,whether or not you decide to acknowledge it, and despite your assertion you’d never allow it. Your ugliness is really showing these days, Bob. But really, we’re all still waiting for you to start a blog of your own! Surely you have some original thoughts of your own?


  20. Anne says:

    This comment doesn’t make any sense at all.


  21. Anne says:



  22. whungerford says:

    Bob, first you underestimate the scope of the problem (I don’t know any hungry kids), then you overestimate your ability to solve it (I would never let a kid go hungry).


  23. BOB McGILL says:

    there is a low income housing project 2 blocks from my house, I can see it from here. The cars are all pimped out with fancy wheels and tires, some of the decals cost over $ 50.00 and the sound systems cost hundreds. These people walk past my house to a local store and believe me most are over weight and they drag all kinds of junk food home and litter the streets with wrappers from ice cream, candy and soda pop. They don’t even save the returnable cans !


  24. BOB McGILL says:

    I have a friend that sells fresh produce. One day he had some veggies left over so he took them to a local food pentry. Guess what, the pantry did not want the stuff because they said nobody wants it and they can’t get rid of it.


  25. BOB McGILL says:

    ya know, if you really know a hungry kid, just call the county Social Services and see what happens. In New York, if you want to feed a kid, all it takes is a phone call


  26. BOB McGILL says:

    since you’re so smart, I thought I should post it twice 🙂
    ya know, if you really know a hungry kid, just call the county Social Services and see what happens. In New York, if you want to feed a kid, all it takes is a phone call


  27. BOB McGILL says:

    if you know about kids going hungry in Thompkins County, it would be, in fact, Marthas fault as County chair. 🙂


  28. Anne says:

    Not really, but thanks for playing. We’ve all enjoyed watching you lap yourself on the nonsense track today. 🙂


  29. BOB McGILL says:

    wall street journal “The Myth of Starving Americans
    According to the Census Bureau, 96% of parents classified as poor said their children were never hungry. Facebook
    Share0 Twitter Google+
    LinkedIn smallerLargerBy Warren Kozak January 30, 2012 ”
    you need a subscription to read the whole thing


  30. whungerford says:

    Bob, when a news report seems wrong, it often is wrong.


  31. BOB McGILL says:

    ya mean like almost everything YOU post on this blog ?


  32. BOB McGILL says:

    Aug 30, 2011 … How can poor children be starving and obese at the same time? They can’t. The starving children storyline is false. I think it is hysterical that …


  33. BOB McGILL says:

    Jul 1, 2013 … The private charity, Feeding America, alone claims to feed 14 million kids. … Congress should be aware of the true hunger statistics, both for children and adults, as it … Not 1 in 5 children go to bed hungry on a given day.


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