Sunday, February 01, 2009

Grading the Administration 2

Weekly Poverty Grades for the Obama Administration: C

Okay, not much happened this week with regard to poverty, but the United States lost 100,000 jobs in one week. It is understandable that the entire focus of the executive and legislative branches be directed at addressing the economic downturn. The economy is hurting everyone including those currently living in poverty so the work on a stimulus package should count toward addressing poverty. If nothing is done or we rely only on one strategy poverty will get worse. More and more people will be forced out of their homes, more will need public assistance, and more people will show up requesting help with food. So, this second week, I have to give the Obama administration a C for their efforts to reduce poverty. Here is the score from last week.

I have to say that appointing the Vice President to assist the middle class is not that helpful in reducing poverty, and that has to count against the administration. These are a few highlights this week:
  • Most of the work was directed at the economic recovery package, which deserves all the attention with things slipping every day.
  • There is talk of additional dollars for shelters, school construction, and extended unemployment, which would be helpful.
  • There was use of the bully pulpit to criticize the wall street bonuses that were made with taxpayer money. We can only hope we will return to the idea that business executives should not make obscene amounts of compensation. Can we go back to a 90% tax bracket for those who receive such extreme benefit packages?
  • Lily Ledbetter equal pay law was signed. This assures that 51% of the population are allowed to sue if they find out they are being discriminated against in the workplace. Hopefully, this provides some balance in the workplace between worker and the giant corporations in this country, and will allow women to receive equal pay. This law keeps people out of poverty.
These are the items that they need to work on to improve that grade which has slipped in one week.
  • No work on Katrina recovery.
  • No jobs created.
  • No health insurance
  • No school system was improved
  • No additional assistance was provided so that young people could go to college.
  • No further details or action on a rural or urban agenda.
  • No further action on homelessness
  • No civil rights agenda was proposed.
  • Nothing on the extreme debt facing poor people.
  • Two things that I missed last week is that we still do not have action on a foreclosure moratorium. We need to call a halt to all foreclosures while we stabilize housing.
  • Still no action on all the toxic assets being held by banks.
  • There is very little change with the HUD, HHS, and Department of Labor websites. It was interesting that the White House website changed around noon on Tuesday January 20. The other cabinet officers have not put their goals or agendas on their agency websites yet.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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