by Latoya Peterson
I’m not really a huge fan of politics, especially not the horserace thing that’s popular this time of year. I was planning to do an update to a 2008 post, where I asked:
Ask yourselves: what is your candidate going to do with the rising class gap in America? How do they propose to fix the problems (housing, retirement problems, education, wages) that contribute to the ever widening class divide?
Pathways Magazine, a Stanford University based publication dedicated to exploring poverty, inequality, and social policy, recently provided takes from the three major democratic front runners on their plans to alleviate poverty in America. (Hat tip to the Education and Class blog.)
Back in the day, Obama promised this:
Barack Obama – “Tackling Poverty and Inequality in America”
(p. 14-16; PDF p. 16-18)
1. Replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone model and create Promise Neighborhoods in 20 cities across the country. (Sites will be selected by the government – cities and private entities will be required to pay 50% of costs to ensure involvement)
2. Expand early childhood education, federal grants and school loans
3. Sponsor Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Legislation – providing financial support to fathers who pay their child support, cracking down on fathers who don’t; initiatives to stop the cycle of domestic violence that takes a toll on families
4. Expand the Nurse Family Partnership program which offers home visits to low income expectant mothers
5. Double funding for the Federal Jobs Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program that helps low income individuals get to their jobs and day care services
6. Add $1 billion in funding for innovative transitional jobs and career pathway programs over five years
7. Triple the EITC for full time workers who make minimum wage; increase EITC benefits for families with three or more children; expand EITC benefits for childless workers
8. Create a universal healthcare plan which mandates child coverage and provides adults with an optional, low cost high quality plan
9. Fund $250 million per year to create a national network of public-private business incubators (to assist with start up advice and costs)
10. Earmark more SBA funds to minority businesses; direct more venture capital funding to untapped communities
11. Closing the digital divide; increasing internet access in urban/rural areas
12. Affordable housing trust fund to add 112,000 new affordable units in mixed income neighborhoods.
13. Roll back cuts to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) which provides housing assistance to inner cities
14. Sponsor Stop Fraud Legislation to create a definition of mortgage fraud, strengthen lender penalties, and mandate mortgage companies to provide accurate info about options to reveal the true cost of the mortgage
But before I could squeeze the time in to do that, this MHP vs. Cornel West thing bubbled up. Tami has already stated why West and Watson’s arguments are so problematic. But we haven’t really opened up a space to talk about the core disagreement. Has Barack Obama turned his back on Americans of Color, and the poor more broadly? Is he any different than any other President? Is he being held to an unfair, higher standard than his predecessors?
What do we need to talk about here, going into election season?
(Image via Shutterstock)