Lee aims to halve poverty in a decade

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, today introduced a resolution designed to set a national goal of cutting poverty in the U.S. in half over the next ten years.

“It is unacceptable that, in the richest nation in the world, there are 37 million people living in poverty,” Lee, co-chair of the House Out-of-Poverty Caucus, said in her news release. “Eradicating poverty needs to be a national priority, and the best way to do that is to set some measurable goals. If we are serious about this, we need to commit to cutting the number of people living in poverty in this country in half over the next ten years.”

Lee noted 37 million Americans — more than the population of California — now live in poverty, up 5 million since 2000 with the impact falling disproportionately on minorities. Her bill mirrors the goals set forth in a report released in April by the Washington,DC-based Center for American Progress, which based its recommendations for cutting poverty on four principles: promoting decent work, providing opportunity for all, ensuring economic security, and helping people build wealth. The recommendations included: raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation, expanding the earned income and child tax credits, promoting unionization by making it easier for employees to vote to join a union, offering child care assistance for low income families, guaranteeing early education for all and providing two million people with “opportunity housing vouchers.”

Questions? Ask Lee yourself. She’ll hold a town-hall meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday, Aug. 7 at the Piedmont Community Center, 711 Highland Ave., to update constituents on legislative work and to discuss ending the occupation of Iraq.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.