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Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Anti-poverty activist and scholar Peter Edelman during a recent lecture at Northwestern University Law School sponsored by the National Public Housing Museum. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

It will take “a national groundswell of concern if we are going to make the progress we need on poverty,” said Georgetown Law Center Professor and author Peter Edelman during a lecture hosted by the National Public Housing Museum at Northwestern University Law School, 375 E. Chicago Ave., on October 10. Discussing the “growing chasm between America’s wealthy and poor,” Edelman said that “America has the highest poverty rate in the industrialized world,” with 46 million people living below the poverty line, a situation that could cause problems in the future. “Our democracy is in danger,” he said.
Edelman, faculty director at the Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy in Washington, D.C., is an antipoverty advocate and former legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy who served as Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Clinton administration but resigned from his position to protest President Clinton’s support of welfare reform. The free public lecture, based on Edleman’s latest book, “So Rich, So Poor: Why it’s So Hard to End Poverty in America,” was part of the National Public Housing Museum’s “Profiles in Color: Race, Place and Identity Series” funded by the Ford Foundation and the Boeing company. Read more »

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Welfare Reform: Lost In Space

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Many U.S. government policy makers seem to be getting their information on the lives of welfare recipients from science fiction television rather than real life. Their welfare reform proposals appear to be something straight out of the ‘twilight zone.’ And there appears to be a ‘lost in space’ mentality when it comes to financial and food assistance, training and education, housing, childcare and health care.

The legislators who are proposing new welfare reform laws seem to be under the impression that welfare reform has been a big success. They even have convinced much of the country. Read more »

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