"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

7.20.2006

walk through the valley where the shadow of death is

Why this would surprise anyone is beyond me. The Bush Administration's so-called efforts to help the poor have been mediocre at best, and harmful at worst. It doesn't really help to "raise work levels" when minimum wage is $5.15 an hour. It doesn't help much to promote marriage when the poverty threshold for a family of four is still defined at an unrealistic annual household income of $20,000 (The estimated actual living expenses for a family of four in Austin is around $45,000. Imagine what the real cost of living in DC or New York is. $20,000 defines it wherever you are in the lower 48 states.).

I don't think the president is a bad man. I do think that he has almost no grasp of what it's like for working poor families in this country - how hard they work, how much they suffer, and how little they have to show for it. If he were serious about ending poverty in our country, he'd familiarize himself with the issue in a way that's personal, not abstract. Until he does that, whatever he says to the NAACP today or anyone else tomorrow won't really matter. The same goes for the rest of us.

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