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Showing posts with label poverty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poverty. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Big Business of Poverty pimps the poor


Two years ago, during the aftermath of police violence and protest demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, the nation witnessed a militarized police force, and learned of dismal police-community relations, as well as a scheme resembling debtor prisons.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated and issued their report, "Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department". 

They found practices that were unlawful, deeply-entrenched and unconstitutional: “Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs. This emphasis on revenue has compromised the institutional character of Ferguson’s police department, contributing to a pattern of unconstitutional policing, and has also shaped its municipal court, leading to procedures that raise due process concerns and inflict unnecessary harm on members of the Ferguson community.” While the report shows a link between debtor prisons and the prison industrial complex – there’s also strong link to the growing poverty industry as well too.
  
Daniel L. Hatcher has written a new book on this topic called, The Poverty Industry: The exploitation of America’s most vulnerable citizens.  Mr. Hatcher recently visited the Busboys and Poets Bookstore and CafĂ© in Washington D. C., on June 29th, to talk about his new book.  For roughly thirty minutes before a question/answer session, Mr. Hatcher provided a glimpse into the poverty industrial complex and how this massive network manages to divert funds from, who Mr. Hatcher appropriately characterizes as America’s most vulnerable citizens – impoverished families, abused and neglected children, and the disabled and elderly poor. “My hope to getting this book out is to provide awareness because with awareness you have the potential for change.  So in the poverty industry, I’m hoping to expose and explain several of these revenue maximizing practices that states and state agencies to use on the most vulnerable populations,” explains Mr. Hatcher.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Poverty in America: who is really deserving of help?

By Charles Brooks

The Economic Policy Institute recently reported that in the roughly three decades leading up to the most recent recession, looking at the officially measured poverty rate, educational upgrading and overall income growth were the two biggest poverty-reducing factors, while income inequality was the largest poverty-increasing factor. The federal government set the poverty line at $23,550 for a family of four in 2013, $11,490 for a single individual, and $4,020 for each individual person. The Blackboard spoke with Dr. Wilhelmina A. Leigh, who serves as a Senior Research Associate with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, about poverty in America: “People have to be aware of (poverty), care about it and understand that having the kind of inequality we have in this country is not good for any of us. People have to be made aware, somehow, that inequality and high levels of poverty impairs all of our lives and limits the growth of our economy.”

The poor suffers again...billion$ in cut$ to food stamp$

By Charles Brooks

                         Photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

Just ten days after delivering his most recent State of the Union address, where he described 2014 as the “year of action” – President Barack Obama kicked off the year by signing into law a $987 billion Farm Bill. In doing so, the president signed away $80 billion, over a ten-year period, in cuts to food stamp benefits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cuts will affect approximately 850,000 people, who will see their monthly benefits reduced by $90. But just a few days ago, President Obama stood before the nation and outlined his proposals designed to tackle poverty, income inequality and economic mobility. These proposals focused on job creation, immigration reform, tax policy reform, job training, and unemployment insurance reform. Yet days later, President Obama talks about the reforms and the billions of dollars the new law will save. The $987 billion Farm Bill appears to be another example of how public policy can exacerbate poverty while simultaneously advancing income inequality. Consider for a moment that while billions of dollars are cut from food stamps – the agribusiness interests will reap the benefit$.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

President Obama's State of the Union address - "At least they're thinking about it..."

By Charles Brooks
(Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
In the days leading up to President Barack Obama’s fifth State of the Union (SOTU) address, income inequality emerged as a highly anticipated topic to be discussed. This was quite understandable and actually made sense considering the recent events - the president’s speech on income inequality (though billed as a speech on economic mobility), his announcement of the Promise Zones as part of his administration’s anti-poverty strategy, and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. As the president delivered his address and spoke about working hard and getting ahead in America, he said, “Now, let's face it: That belief has suffered some serious blows. Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.” The President continues, “Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by; let alone to get ahead. And too many still aren't working at all. So our job is to reverse these trends.”