Dear Editor: A few weeks ago, Congressman Paul Ryan released his latest proposal for tackling America’s poverty epidemic.

Unfortunately, the plan does very little to combat poverty in our country, and instead, continues the devastating austerity policies that Ryan himself helped to create. Thanks to those policies, entire communities across America are underwater, and struggling to survive in tough economic times.

One of those communities is Ferguson, Mo. While that community continues to protest the police shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, it’s also dealing with crippling poverty. An analysis by Elizabeth Kneebone, an economic scholar with the Brookings Institution, found that unemployment in Ferguson more than doubled between 2000 and 2012. The analysis also found that more than a quarter of Ferguson households had incomes below the federal poverty line of $23,492 in 2012.

So, not only are the people of Ferguson dealing with the traumatic death of Michael Brown and the resulting violent reactions to that death, they’re also dealing with debilitating poverty. And unfortunately, both of those experiences are likely to stick with the Ferguson community for decades to come.

This, America, is something that brews up when the people of this country feel that something is not right.

Margaret Hittinger




Published: Aug. 28, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 20