Maryann Tobin

The very nature of poverty in America is counter to pro-big business conservative philosophy. Therefore, ever-deepening cuts to programs that help low and middle income people will only deepen the financial struggles of all but the very rich.

“The first thing needed if we’re to get people out of poverty is more jobs that pay decent wages. There aren’t enough of these in our current economy…we’ll need a full-employment policy and a bigger investment in 21st-century education and skill development strategies if we’re to have any hope of breaking out of the current economic malaise,” according to the New York Times.

Conservatives have traditionally fought increases in the minimum wage. They are also against funding for education. In fact, Mitt Romney called for an end to the Department of Education and the privatization of public schools through a voucher program. Such a plan circumvents the constitutional right to a free, public education.

People cannot be lifted out of poverty without an education. But even with good skills, wages remain low.

“We’ve been drowning in a flood of low-wage jobs for the last 40 years. Most of the income of people in poverty comes from work. According to the most recent data available from the Census Bureau, 104 million people — a third of the population — have annual incomes below twice the poverty line…Half the jobs in the nation pay less than $34,000 a year, according to the Economic Policy Institute. A quarter pay below the poverty line for a family of four, less than $23,000 annually,” according to the New York Times.

Simply ending welfare and food stamps does not end poverty. People need a way out and a way up.

It is not the role of government to create wealth. But government is responsible for providing tools of opportunity, through education and basic workplace standards.

Capitalism is not a form of government - democracy is. And in a democracy, capitalism must be regulated or it will self-destruct, as it did in 2008.

“Just a few years ago, a powerful ideology – the belief in free and unfettered markets – brought the world to the brink of ruin,” said Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz. “A resurgence of right-wing economics, driven, as always, by ideology and special interests, once again threatens the ... economies of Europe and America.”

The remedy, Stiglitz said, is to “put America back to work by stimulating the economy; end the mindless wars; rein in military and drug costs; and raise taxes, at least on the very rich. But the right will have none of this, and instead is pushing for even more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, together with expenditure cuts in investments and social protection.”

America succeeds when Americans work together to create a better society. And a that does not include creating an atmosphere where people are encouraged to squash the weak with an everyone-for-themselves attitude. If the Founding Fathers thought that way, there would be no United States of America.

However, there is evidence to suggest that the current extremist right-wing movement is not interested in preserving and protecting the Constitution of the United States. So much for our founding fathers. Now we have the Tea Party.

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