We must address poverty

March 16, 2014 

Nearly 25 percent of children in this country live in poverty. This is in stark contrast to other advanced countries where the number is about 5 percent. This is tragic.

Other nations believe children are the hope for the future. They believe sensible government programs can have a positive effect on children and on society in general. Most provide early childhood development programs, including education and child care. They provide extended paid family leave. They have single payer health care systems, which avoid expensive health insurance. They have extended unemployment safety nets. They believe in a sense of national community.

In this country there is hate and suspicion of government, especially by far-right Republicans. They believe food stamps and unemployment benefits will make people lazy. They refuse to consider raising the minimum wage. Many believe people are poor because God is punishing them.

The truth is that most poor people work, often two jobs or more, just to survive. Their children suffer hardship, including hunger and homelessness.

The right-wing attitude here could best be described as selfish individualism. They believe they should not have to pay any taxes to help the needy. Their attitude is, "I've got mine, and I'm not sharing." This shows a total lack of a sense of national community (unity).

Government is certainly not the whole answer, but a few sensible government programs would help greatly. It is appalling and obscene that a country once called the land of opportunity has a quarter of its children living in poverty.

Larry L. Brown

Glen Carbon

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