Why Does Neither Presidential Candidate Address Poverty?

The United States has the most powerful economy on Earth, but shamefully, we also have the highest percentage of our population living in abject poverty of any industrialized country. It is reprehensible that many war veterans who risked their lives to protect the rest of us are sleeping in the streets and begging for money to buy food. Yet, neither of the two major presidential candidates is making a point of reducing poverty.

Things were different in the 1950s and 1960s. Do you remember President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty? Even during Bill Clinton’s administration, poverty decreased, but that was partly due to the fact that the economy was so strong and the demand for workers so high that almost anyone who could show up on time could get a job. As late as the George W. Bush administrations, presidents promised to reduce poverty, although President Bush became distracted from the task by his overseas military adventures.

In all fairness, although Hillary Clinton does not directly address poverty, her programs would help the working poor by increasing the minimum wage to $12 an hour. Her proposed subsidies for health care, child care, and education could also help some people make their way out of poverty. Still, I would be happier if she would directly address the problem of both the working poor and those who are not working. (I am writing this hours before she is scheduled to unveil her economic policy, so it may be that I will soon learn that I am doing her an injustice.)

As to Donald Trump, I haven’t heard a single proposal from him that would help anyone but the rich. He does pay lip service to helping the middle class, but most economists agree that if his economic plan were put into practice, the real beneficiaries would be very wealthy people like Donald Trump himself, and everyone else would suffer.

If you are attempting to support a family on the minimum wage or, worse yet, if you are not working at all, you cannot afford a decent place to live in even the lowest-cost cities in the US. You are raising your children in poverty with the most basic opportunity to get an education, making it difficult for the next generation to climb the economic ladder.

Both candidates have talked about bringing back good-paying working class jobs such as laboring in steel mills or mining. Neither of them talks about improving the lot of people cleaning offices at night or working in the kitchen of fast-food restaurants, although I mention again, Hillary Clinton’s minimum wage proposal would help those workers.

Speaking of people working for very little money, I have several books for sale on Amazon, notably A Senior Citizen Walks the Camino de Santiago about my 400+-mile pilgrimage on foot across northern Spain last summer and Running for President, a novel about a person an awful lot like Donald Trump who manages to be elected president of the United States. You can read a free excerpt from either by clicking on the corresponding book cover image in the left sidebar. The second book is available both as an ebook and in a printed edition.

I make nothing if you only read the free excerpt, but if you buy a book or read the book for free using Kindle Unlimited, a few pennies do trickle into my piggy bank