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Policy provokes me to think and write. I currently work in ivory towers inspiring people to engage in their world. I am a student of the human condition and my classroom is the world. I don't need credentials to have an opinion but I've got paper to prove I know a few things about public health, social welfare and economics. I'm coming out of the tower and taking the words to the people and hope you will send some words back at me.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Dear Barack Obama, What About the Poor?

I could write a long list of statistics about poor people in the USA but at the end of it all, you will know what you already know: being poor in America is a hard row to hoe. What with the cutbacks in food stamps, subsidized childcare and a stubborn unemployment rate, being poor means to do without and to struggle to get what you have and fight to get what help is offered.

And yet.... it is not the poor that President Obama is worried about as he does his stump(?) speech on his economic plan for America. It's the middle class. It's the people who may have to tighten their belts but their kids will go to college. They have health insurance (or soon will be forced to under Obamacare) and tend to live in the suburbs unless they are flush enough to live the more expensive life of the urbanite. It seems the poor have nothing to contribute to economic growth. Our Gini index could put us on par close to Jamaica and Cameroon and behind Uganda in terms of income inequality, which data in several social sciences link to quality of life.

So as a social worker, public health professional, professor and mental health activist, I would like to ask our president, "What about the poor?" What do they get from Congress? Where do they fit in your economic plan for America's future?

Mr President, it was the middle class who 'occupied' America fighting against the inequality that keeps growing because it seems that most politicians in this country do not care about the poor, even when they are not running for election.... like you.

Mr President, you have already admitted that Congress is going to fight you on whatever economic strategies you put forth to help the middle class so since they are already middle class and it is the poor that is being left behind, why not just go for it and fight for the poor the way some Republicans fight for wealthy taxpayers or the unborn.

Go for it, Mr President, be THAT guy. Be the President remembered for using his last 3 years to fight for those who are being left behind. Those with whom you worked as a community organizer in Chicago. As my Dad would say, these are the people for whom the first meal is a surprise and the second a wonder. The people for whom the roof is a sky and a pillow a rock. The ones with kids who have decaying teeth despite having insurance (but have low health literacy). The ones in crappy schools and unsafe/crowded housing. The ones eating one meal a day and sometimes it's the one their kid brought home from a free lunch program... of course that's if they still qualify.

I get it. Middle class people vote more than poor people. And maybe that's because noone is representing the interests of the poor. They get nothing from their vote but to give some guy another chance to screw them over.

So dear Mr President, I ask you..... "What about the poor?"

If you get this far, click on the following link: contact the white house  and write to the president and ask him what he is doing for poor people.                                                                                       

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