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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 29, 2005 / 25 Elul, 5765

‘Po’ vs ‘Broke’: Two types of poverty

By Clarence Page


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I'm delighted to hear people jawboning about poverty again, even if it took a couple of hurricanes to get us to do it. I also wonder how many Americans really know what poverty is.

Basically, poverty is a profound lack of money.

Or, as my father used to put it, "po'," which apparently meant that you were too poor to afford the "O" or the "R".

"Are we po'?," I asked the old man.

"Naw," said the principal breadwinner of our household. "We're not po'. We're just broke."

What was the difference?

"Po' folks don't know when they're gonna eat again," he said. "I have a job. When I get paid, I won't be broke no mo'."

For this we were so thankful that, when the Sunday School plate was passed for a "missionary offering," my parents always reminded me to remember to drop in something "to help the po'."

I must have been in college before I discovered that, according to sociologists, our family was "the po'!"

And, yet, we were rich in spirit.

I might not have had holes-free socks to wear to school every day, but I went to school so that, as Mom said, "someday you can buy yo' own socks."

I had loving, hard-working and dependable parents at home, which meant I was blessed. We had an optimism about our future that kept us from feeling as poor as many of the po' folks whom I have covered during my decades as a journalist.

Optimism or a lack of it separates the "po'," the long-term poor, from those who are "just broke."

President Lyndon B. Johnson declared "unconditional war on poverty in America" in the 1960s. Two decades later, President Ronald Reagan ridiculed Johnson's challenge with, "Poverty won."

Fortunately, Reagan was wrong. We've won many victories, thanks to some anti-poverty reforms from both parties, but poverty doesn't quit.

Poverty declined sharply from 22.4 percent in 1959 to a low of 11.1 percent in 1973, according to the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan. After a few years of minor fluctuations, the poverty rate rose steadily in the 1980s to 15.1 percent in 1993. Poverty then declined to 11.3 percent by 2000. Since then it has risen to 12.7 percent in 2004, the most recent figures available.

Overall, we've made a lot of progress against poverty since the 1960s, thanks to a combination of government and private sector reforms. They include new job and educational opportunities for blacks and other minorities, increased help for the elderly, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, a break supported by the right and the left that effectively gave an income raise to low-wage earners.

Yet, after Hurricane Katrina made America's usually invisible poor visible again in New Orleans, I've heard people repeat Reagan's glib pronouncement, as if Americans fighting poverty had not scored any victories at all. We need to give ourselves more credit than that.

The poverty challenges we face now are not quite the same as those we have faced in the past. What program, public or private, can prevent those who are merely "broke" from sliding into the predicament of long-term "po" folks? How do you cure a loss of hope and a poverty of optimism?

Folks on the left want government to spend more time and money on our urban poor. Folks on the right want the poor to produce fewer out-of-wedlock babies. As National Review editor Rich Lowry has suggested, these do not have to be opposing values. In a new anti-poverty war, such values could be the makings of a grand left-right coalition of the willing.

We have needs. We need to set realistic goals for further progress in liberating the poor from dependency, and find realistic ways to achieve those goals.

We need to avoid stereotyping all of the poor as looters, snipers, drug addicts and out-of-wedlock welfare cheats.

We need to give special attention to gender differences, such as the way our young males of all races are failing academically and economically at a faster rate than our young females.

We need to encourage those teachers, preachers, social workers, neighborhood associations and others who have worked directly and effectively with teen-agers and their families.

We who have succeeded in life need to be divinely dissatisfied with tax breaks and other government policies that widen our rich-poor divide to a canyon that resemble a Third World country.

And we African Americans, I might add, need to transfer some of our alarm about the racial divide, which has narrowed in recent years, over to the class divide which has widened between have's and have-nots within our own communities.

Then maybe the poor won't have to be so po' no mo'.

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