Katrina Vanden Heuvel in The Nation:
Last Wednesday, at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington, the CAP Task Force on Poverty released the results of fourteen months of work in its report, From Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half.
The report offers twelve concrete recommendations to reduce over the next ten years, creating a stronger middle class and setting our country on a course to end American poverty in a generation.
Sen. Edward Kennedy and Ways and Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, were both on hand to pledge their leadership on what Task Force co-chair Peter B. Edelman, professor of Law at Georgetown University, called “a national shame…. There should be no one [in this country] who’s poor.”
This is one of the great scandals of our times. In the richest industrialized nation in the world, 37 million Americans–one in eight citizens–live below the official poverty line (just $19,971 income for a family of four); in 2005, more than 90 million Americans had incomes below 200 percent of the poverty threshold (less than $40,000 for a family of four); the United States ranks 24th out of 25 developed nations in the share of the population with an income below 50 percent of the national median income–and the US is dead last among 24 rich nations when the same measurement is used to assess child poverty.