OTHER VOICES

Threat of poverty

Posted Aug. 07, 2012, at 7:47 p.m.

There’s an ugly truth that keeps nagging us. As much as we might like to, it cannot be ignored.

More Americans are becoming poor.

The nation’s 2011 poverty rate is expected to hit 15.7 percent, according to an Associated Press forecast, a troubling increase from 15.1 percent in 2010 and a harbinger of worse rates to come.

There’s no disputing the Great Recession’s impact on the growth of poverty. The national rate increased from 13.2 percent in 2008, when the economic crisis began, and has grown steadily ever since.

With the ranks of the poor significantly expanded with victims of the economy, it stands to reason that the threat of the growing poverty rate ought to have emerged as a critical issue. It has not.

Election campaigns locally, statewide and nationally don’t address the threat of poverty or the increasing ranks of the poor. You won’t hear a robocall, watch a television ad or read a campaign flier that mentions the issue, much less proposes ways to fight poverty.

Thank goodness for the soup kitchens, food pantries and other services that help the poor. Most of them struggle to meet the rising demand for their services despite reductions in government aid.

You won’t see many politicians paying them visits in this election year — and you won’t hear the candidates making any promises to win these resources greater support for the vital work they do.

Poverty is the status we fear and fight to avoid, but it is a condition few of us seem willing to do something about. It also is a circumstance that is becoming greater — and that ought to trip some alarms.

Times Herald, Port Huron, Mich. (July 30)

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