Childhood Poverty in the United States: Get Off Our Butts!

Mark Shriver: “Before President Johnson and my dad started making deep investments in anti-poverty programs like Head Start, about one quarter of all children and the elderly lived in poverty.

Ten years later, that number dropped to about 15 percent for both groups.

The elderly poverty rate kept decreasing and is now at a historic low of nine percent. But the percentage of kids living in poverty today has returned to mid-1960s levels. I believe that’s so because kids don’t have access to the political process the way other Americans do.

Childhood poverty doesn’t just cause misery for the most vulnerable of us, it sets them up for failure in school, in their health and, frankly, for the rest of their lives.”

Catholic Bishops Fear the Human and Social Costs of GOP Budget Cuts

USCCB: “We fear the human and social costs of substantial cuts to programs that serve families working to escape poverty, especially food and nutrition, child development and education, and affordable housing.

We also fear the costs of undermining international assistance which is an essential tool to promote human life and dignity, advance solidarity with poorer nations, and enhance global security. Such assistance supports a wide range of life-saving programs, including: drugs to combat diseases; assistance to poor farmers and orphans; food aid for starving people; aid to victims of natural disasters; and help to refugees fleeing for their lives. The House proposal will require massive cuts in all these areas. We support continuing reform of programs that serve poor people to make them even more effective.”

DFLA Board Member Steve Schneck takes on Paul Ryan

Steve Schneck: “At the beginning of life, Medicaid also pays for about one-third of all births in America. Maybe you know a scared young mom who needed such help. If you are pro-life, like me you realize what support for these births can mean.

Or maybe, like I do, you have a friend who lost his job and, despite best efforts, hasn’t found work. Unable to stretch unemployment insurance enough to make ends meet, he was embarrassed to need help, but at least he was able to feed his kids with food stamps. Maybe you, too, know a divorced mom with a special-needs child who is able to make it because of Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition assistance. We all know people in these situations. They’re our neighbors, our friends, our relatives. Maybe we’ve been there, too — or worry that someday it might be us or our loved ones in such circumstances.

Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s 2012 budget strategist, would cut all these programs and many others like them just when folks are struggling to stay afloat.”

Face to Face With a Mother’s Pain

Nicholas Kristof: “And Ms. Finiba, eight months pregnant and starving? With the help of Helen Keller International we were able to get her food and, it seems, medical care. But rising food prices may put millions more into Ms. Finiba’s sandals, just as donor countries’ budgets are under pressure.

We need more people raising Ms. Dave’s teary question: Is there anything we can do?

The answer is: Yes, definitely!”