Sunday, February 08, 2009

Grading the Administration 3

Weekly Poverty Grades for the Obama Administration: C-

Grades are slipping for the administration's struggle against poverty. We had the worst month for jobs in 34 years, and so once again the focus was on the economic stimulus. 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 strictly on a tax cut strategy, poverty will get worse. The creation of the faith based and neighborhood partnership advisory is a good step because it features Rev. Jim Wallace and Rev. Otis Moss. The addition of Tammy Duckworth to the Department of Veterans Affairs is a positive addition to the administration. The third week of the administration sees another slip in the grades. I have to give the Obama administration a C- for their efforts to reduce poverty in week 3.

The new staff for the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnership, Joshua DuBois, said,
"Whether it's connecting groups that are training people to do new jobs, or figuring out the role of faith-based organizations in combating global climate change, this office creates those partnerships in a way that's responsible, constitutional, and -- bottom line -- helps those in need."
Mr. DuBois seems like a good advocate for America's cities. He was the guy who pushed the City of New York to remember Amadou Diallo by leading a 41 hour vigil in 1999 after Diallo was assainated. With the support of the amazing Jim Wallace of Sojourners and Cleveland's own Rev. Otis Moss, this office should be able to make great strides if they do not spend all their time arguing about the constitutional questions.

Ron Sims of Seattle was named Deputy Secretary of HUD to oversee all day to day operations. I have no idea if this is good, but at least these positions are being filled. The new Children's Health Insurance Program rules were signed into law expanding health care coverage. This is a positive for low income families and those children who do not have health insurance. But overall, we still have not seen much action on reducing poverty. I am getting worried that we may not see much progress because of this economic downturn. We lost the shelter money that the president proposed in the stimulus bill. We lost the money for affordable housing that the House passed, and we lost the money for our Commnity Action Agencies. The Senate added money for Public Housing, but homelessness took a hit in the legislation.

The list of activities that are still outstanding is getting longer every day:
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.
  • The HUD Continuum of Care funds for last year were not released.
  • No further action on homelessness
  • No civil rights agenda was proposed.
  • Nothing on the extreme debt facing poor people.
  • No halt to all the 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.
  • Some Bush Administration hold overs are still in office, and need to be let go.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

1 comment:

Douglas Tooley said...

As to Sims, he is not bad, but he is tolerant of some rather bad apples - most salient would be the folks behind a upscale project using HUD 'blight' money based on falsified crime statistics.


Sims had no direct culpability with this, but you can bet the folks with the Fed links on both his appointment and the deal do.

Curiously, these are the same folks behind WAMU and Microsoft, but that gets more complicated.

-Douglas Tooley
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