A rising economic tide lifts everybody’s financial boat. Well, almost everybody’s. Thanks to the country’s unprecedented economic expansion, the great majority of Americans are better off financially than they were several years ago. Not only are the rich getting richer, but the middle classes too have seen a surge in income and wealth. The economic boom has even helped low-income families.
The global financial crisis makes it even more urgent that the United States not only take care of its own economy but also redouble efforts to aid the world’s poorest, according to a new report and several development experts.
Why is that man holding a sign, Daddy?” “He wants us to give him some money.” “Why does he want money, Daddy?” “Because he doesn’t have any and he’s hungry.” “Why aren’t you giving him any money, Daddy?” “Because I’m not sure he’s really going to spend it on food . . . errr . . .
Dramatic increases in food and gas prices are leaving some religious hunger-relief groups praying for relief.
Problems were already apparent in 2006, but U.S. churches now report increased difficulty getting meals to people who need them. Food distributors see a perfect storm: a huge jump in requests from new clients, along with decreased donations and a thinning food supply.
Rosalie Higgins has had a hardscrabble life. She didn’t make it into the air force and she couldn’t complete nursing school. The jobs she was able to get with the computer skills that she picked up in trade school paid no better than $6.50 an hour. At age 66, she lives on her Social Security check of $623 a month, which is less than the rent for a one-bedroom apartment.
Last month marked the tenth anniversary of President Clinton’s welfare reform law, which imposed time limits for receiving cash assistance and required welfare recipients—including single mothers with young children—to work. Highly controversial at the time, the measure has become so much a part of the political landscape that welfare now hardly figures as an election-year issue.