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Poverty Awareness

January has been Poverty in America Awareness Month.

Fifty years after President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his War on Poverty 1964, the Center for American Progress has concluded that “the War on Poverty has not failed us, but our economy has.” “Our national poverty rate fell by 42 percent during the War on Poverty, from 1964 to 1973. And that trend continues today: The poverty rate fell from 26 percent in 1967 to 16 percent in 2012 when safety net programs are taken into account.”

But, did you know that:

  • “Today, more than one in three Americans—more than 100 million people—live in poverty or on the edge of it!”
  • Half of all Americans will spend at least a few months churning into and out of poverty during their lifetimes.”

Half in Ten, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Coalition on Human Needs, and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, believes we must set and work toward a national goal of cutting poverty in half in 10 years.

They focus on three measures:

  1. Raise the minimum wage – In his State of the Union address on January 28, 2014, President Obama announced that he would increase the minimum wage to $10.
  2. Close the gender pay gap – Closing The Gender Wage Gap Would Cut Women’s Poverty Rate In Half
  3. Create better-quality jobs  – as Sabina Dewan suggests, “creating high-paying jobs is one of the few policy objectives that can unite the right and left.”

In case you missed them, Spirituality & Practice has had an article every day this month on poverty:

January 1: Christmas Work Begins
January 2: The World of the Poor
January 3: Forgiveness for Stealing Bread
January 4: Poverty Is Blinding
January 5: So Many Hungry Children
January 6: Being Poor Is Complicated
January 7: The End of Poverty?
January 8: The Human Race Fully Alive
January 9: Perspectives on Consumerism
January 10: Failing to Help Is Wrong
January 11: Loans to the Poor
January 12: Healing Power of Generosity
January 13: The Global Equity Crisis
January 14: Jesus Lessens the Rich Poor Gap
January 15: Value of Giving and Receiving
January 16: Prayers for People Living in Poverty
January 17: Helping Those Who Suffer
January 18: Solidarity with the Poor
January 19: Face of Poverty Changing
January 20: Leftover Food
January 21: Poverty Surrounds Us
January 22: World Hunger Can End
January 23: Low-paying Dead-End Jobs
January 24: Psalm for the Poor
January 25: All People are Sacred
January 26: Prayer for Those Living in Poverty
January 27: Why We Fast for the Poor
January 28: Those Who Are Voiceless
January 29: Ways to End World Poverty
January 30 Eradicating Poverty
January 31 End Extreme Poverty by 2025

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