Two events warned us about the serious social problems associated with poverty in the US. First, Bruce Springsteen sent a letter to the editor of his local paper warning about the impacts of Republican budget cuts on the poor. Also last week, I attended a great conference sponsored by the UNC School of Law. You can read a summary of the conference and download some helpful publications. Some common themes emerge from the Boss’s letter and the UNC conference. Right-wing conservatives in many states (including New Jersey and North Carolina) are aggressively pushing pro-corporate economic policies. Their give-aways to big business will be paid for on the backs of the poor and less fortunate who can least afford such cuts.
This is a symptom of the massive wealth gap between the richest families and the rest of us. In fact, just one percent of Americans now control 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. Just 25 years ago, the top 12 percent only controlled one-third of the wealth. These articles also point to the importance of educating the public about how the problems of poverty affect us all. Clearly, these issues will be important during the 2012 political campaigns. It should be an area for the Democrats to win the debate– particularly with stronger White House leadership. However, these stories also stress the important role that state-level politics and budgetary problems have in making the problems of poverty even worse. Click below to learn why poverty problems are more serious and important now than ever.