5 Ways to Reduce Poverty in America
8 months ago
At least one in eight Americans live in poverty. What is the solution?
3. Address food insecurity and nutrition-related health problems
How? Bane suggests the first step is to effectively deal with the nation’s food stamp program.
“Food insecure families need both education and structural devices, like receiving their food stamps weekly and not monthly.” She continues, “This would facilitate the regular access to healthier foods.”
Proper diet fosters strong brain development, with sugar and fat dense foods being linked to developmental and behavioral problems for children and adolescents.
Of the 20.6 million school children receiving food assistance at lunch, 11 million do not receive breakfast assistance and 18 million do not receive summer meals. Many eligible children lack access to programs or face other barriers to participation, whether it is because a program is not offered in their community, transportation is limited, or eligibility provisions lack coordination with other agencies. Child nutrition programs could do far more to reduce hunger simply by reaching more kids.
4. Promote unionization by enacting the Employee Free Choice Act
The Employee Free Choice Act would require employers to recognize a union after a majority of workers sign cards authorizing union representation, and establish stronger penalties for violation of employee rights. The increased union representation made possible by the Act would lead to better jobs and less poverty for American workers.
According to the organization Bread.org, “One in four jobs does not pay enough to lift a family of four out of poverty,” and so with a stronger middle class, bolstered by unionized work, blanket wages go up, which usually benefits the local tax base, which as a result, infuses schools with much needed money to lure better teachers and improve infrastructure.
With this model, working class employees are guaranteed sick and vacation days as well as a base salary.
5. Address the many issues connected with incarceration and its effects on communities
In According to Bruce Western, professor at the Havard Department of Sociology, Incarceration increases the odds that young men will be jobless or channeled into the secondary labor market. Western estimates that the lifetime earnings of those who have been incarcerated will be 42 percent lower than earnings of those who have not been incarcerated.
Washington State professor David Leonard asserts that, “mass incarceration, and its desperate impact on African American communities, has had a dramatic impact on employment. Ending the war on drugs, and ending the lifetime sentences that prevent formerly incarcerated individuals from working an array of jobs, would change the job prospect for thousands.”
Greenberg and his CAP team suggest developing “comprehensive reentry services aimed at reintegrating former prisoners into their communities with full-time, consistent employment.”