Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Symposium on Poverty in America

See the full symposium on poverty which was held this January on the campus of George Washington University. The event was hosted by Tavis Smiley. The discussion was based, in part, on data from Indiana University, which focused on poverty and the impact of the Great Recession. See the full list of panelists here. Of course Tavis Smiley tries to take a few jabs at President Obama for not making the poor a higher priority. It's as if Tavis has been living in a bubble and is not aware that Congress has blocked and undermined Obama more aggressively than any other President in recent history. Despite Tavis Smiley falling out of favor somewhat with me, I still believe that the report and symposium are useful. Also Barbara Ehrenreich is on the panel.... which makes it worth it for me.

I'm one of those people who can't seem to get a good foothold in the middle class, so this is an issue for me. Although I know that neither party is going to do much of anything to help the poor/working class or recent college grads who can't find work, and nor do they want to help. Their main concerns are getting big donations, maintaining their corrupt relationships with special interests, keeping their benefactors happy, and getting re-elected. But these discussions may help force the issue into the national debate and thus force the candidates to address the issue. Voters want populist, pragmatic solutions and this is an issue which could actually help Progressives in November. It would help President Obama position himself as the more reasonable, populist candidate against an opponent who is literally sponsored by (and who literally represents) big business. Why Obama's advisers are reluctant to take a more populist/progressive position is a mystery to me. When issues are broken down piece by piece... to a level where Americans have an understanding of how policy will actually affect them, the more populist & progressive position almost always wins more public support. When progressives fail on PR, fail to communicate with the public, attempt to move too far right, allow Fox & other media to define candidates and refuse to fight back, progressives lose.

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