Monday, December 17, 2012

Stop Humiliating the Poor: An Open Letter to Politicians and Welfare Bureaucrats, by Vicky Steinitz and Anne Wheelock

What kind of society do we live in?  Two disturbing trends help answer this question.

First, growing numbers of our citizens are living below the poverty level and even, alarmingly, below half the poverty level. Growing numbers receive food stamps, live in shelters, and are daily denied emergency shelter assistance.

Second, despite the rise in poverty and inequality, the percentage of Americans who favor government help for the poor is declining.  According to a Boston Globe article (“The Great Divide,” 11/4/12, p.1), the slide in approval of public benefits is especially dramatic among Republicans, whose support for aid has dropped from 62% to 40% over the past 25 years.  Among Democrats, support for government assistance has also declined, from 79% to 75%.

Why is it that at a time when we should expect more compassion, we find less?