Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bring Back John Edwards

Now, before you think the Old Feminist is for marital infidelity, let me reassure you, I am not.

What I miss about John Edwards was his unflinching support for the working class, for those yearning for the middle class, for the working poor, for those in poverty. You recall, the "Other America?"

He may be rich now, but, apparently, he REMEMBERS.

Poverty is an accident of birth that can destroy all in its path. No child deserves to be poor. No child deserves to be malnourished. No child deserves an inferior education. No child deserves to be denied opportunity.
  • If you are poor, you pay more for things those firmly ensconced within the middle class take for granted. "The poor pay more for a gallon of milk; they pay more on a capital basis for inferior housing," says Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). "The poor and 100 million who are struggling ... actually end up paying more for transportation, for housing, for health care, for mortgages. They get steered to subprime lending..." (The High Cost of Poverty)
  • The rich have direct deposit for their paychecks. The poor have check-cashing and payday loan joints, which cost time and money. Payday advance companies say they are providing an essential service to people who most need them. Their critics say they are preying on people who are the most "economically vulnerable." (The High Cost of Poverty)
  • "There is evidence that credit-card mills have recently started trolling for the poor. They are targeting the recently bankrupt." (Blumenauer) (The High Cost of Poverty)
Poverty is real. It's relentless. It's cruel.

In the fight to end poverty, there's a gaping hole in the system. Edwards had concrete plans for plugging that hole, getting low-income kids to college, expanding access to bank accounts (28 million Americans don't have one), and raising the minimum wage.

Carlos Watson says, "... Obama need[s] people to push him to ensure that everyday people -- the "Other America" that Edwards referred to so often on the [campaign] trail -- get a fresh start ahead of Wall Street bondholders. ... Leveling the playing field will yield a more just America, and a more economically and socially dynamic America, as well. "

During the course of the presidential campaign, there were signs and bumper stickers supporting Mr. Obama which read, "Imagine Hope." For the poor, imagining hope is another luxury they can't afford.

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