Poverty is not Implacable
Poverty exists but it is not implacable. So often ineffective solutions are implacable. We can get smart about shrinking poverty but not by following current policies and proposals that shut down roads to self determination and economic security.
The National Center for Children in Poverty reports this week that New York is growing its poor population rather than shrinking it. Forty one percent (higher than the national average of 39%) of New York's children are growing up in poor and low-income families.
In the last decade, we have seen reduced services for the poor and tax cuts for the high income population. More of poor and low-income New Yorkers money has gone to state and local taxes than wealthy New Yorkers. According to Bic Ha Pham, Executive Director of Hunger Action Network of New York State, twice as much of the income of the low wage and poor households goes to state and local taxes than that of wealthy families. How is that possible?
We have read about the income divide expanding. We have heard that tax cuts and breaks will bring more jobs to NY but haven't seen that old chestnut of an economic theory produce significant results. Moreover, we have heard repeatedly that jobs are all that poor people need. Well the jobs have not come from the tax cuts which have gone to wealthy New Yorkers but the tax burden has shifted to the poor and low-income families that so many of our current policies seem hell bent on growing. And bad public policies are drying up access to the education and training that people need to grab hold of the jobs that are coming down the pike.
New York State Senator Liz Krueger's recent piece in The New York Times encapsulates a disconnect between current education policies and low-income and poor people's access to higher education. We are fortunate that Senator Krueger is joined by other elected officials and policy makers who see reality and are committed to reorganizing New York state priorities and developing the human capital we are squandering now.