Entries tagged with “Poverty”.


I got back into the swing a litte better this month of blogging here.  It was a good month, but hard to believe we’ve been in Minnesota for almost a year!

This was a big month for this blog as I finally completed the move from Blogger to WordPress and changed the name!

In case you missed it this was a presidential election year!  I shared why I am a moderate and also some thoughts on having schools be a polling place.  Many people where up in arms and afraid that the election of Barack Obama was going to ruin our country so I posted two videos to remind myself and others that God is always in control.

I posted an e-mail forward about poverty that I thought was insightful into being poor. In a similar vein I took part in Bloggers Unite for Refugees and shared some of my thoughts about the refugees I’ve encountered here in Minneapolis.

Last year I wrote about Five Forgotten Fights, sadly to say – they are all still forgotten. I also did a better job of writing about the sermons I heard at church.  The first was about having too much stuff!  We went to a medical missions conference in Kentucky and heard lots of good, challenging, and inspirational messages. Another sermon this month was about using it or losing it.

I finished Billy Graham’s book Peace with God, which was a nice change of pace. I also read Martin Dugard’s Into Africa which told the story of Stanley and Livingstone.  I offered my 10 Rules of Internet Safety and was surprised at how many people actually read them!  As Thanksgiving approached I shared about a news story which talked about the need for food in America.  As we entered the Christmas season I encouarged all of us to think about the ways we are blessed and how the HIV/AIDS crisis is still rampant.

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On Weds I wrote about Blog Action Day and some ways that Christy and I are working to end poverty. I was really happy to see that over 20 of the blogs I read on a regular basis posted something for Blog Action Day. So below is a list of their posts:

As you can see my reading list is quite eclectic, but it is awesome to see so many people willing to take a day and blog about something so important as poverty. It is really cool to see some of the creative ways that individuals tied poverty into their blogging niche.

One action you can take that will help children in Romania is purchasing some Christmas cards from Word Made Flesh’s Valley House!

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I always knew Rent-to-Own places were too good to be true and scams. Sadly they take advantage of poor people more than anyone else. There are probably lots of reasons why those living in poverty are more susceptible to these scams than others, but I think at one point or another we are all desperate enough to try and do anything to feel pride in ourselves and our material goods.

Take all of the newest gaming technology. You can buy a Nintendo Wii for a couple hundred dollars. Or you can rent-to-own the same product for a total cost of around $950. About 400% of the actual cost over a 12 month lease.

Sound ridiculous?? Check it out at the Consumerist. These type of deals often cater towards individuals with limited, no, or bad credit. It is cheaper to place it on a credit card and carry the balance for the year than to go to one of these stores.

This ranks right up there with Cash Advance stores on the evil factor. If we could get rid of these types of thieves we could begin to make some progress against poverty. I would venture to guess that this is pretty similar to what caused the sub-prime mortgage mess.

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What do these numbers say about the state of the church? All from this Christianity Today article.

$633,314 Contributions given so far (February) by clergy to 2008 presidential candidates.

56% Percentage that has gone to Democrats.

52% Percentage of the $1,149,326 given by clergy in 2004 that was given to Republicans.

(Source: OpenSecrets.org)

42.5% American congregations that spend less than 10 percent of their budgets on social services in their community.

12.2% Congregations that spend more than 30 percent.

(Source: The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy)

7.1% American congregations that receive government grants to provide social services.

$395,628 Average (mean) grant received by these congregations (which received an average of three grants over four years).

(Source: The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy)

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A radical idea! (This is not to be seen as an endorsement of Edwards, but merely a showcase of some ideas that might just work!)

This week John Edwards spoke in New Hampshire about ending poverty, both domestically and world-wide. A pretty radical idea here are some excerpts.

WORLD-WIDE POVERTY

From the Boston Herald

Seeking to link poverty in other countries to the United States’ national security, Edwards argued that militant extremists in nations torn apart by poverty and civil war have replaced government educational systems and are teaching young people to hate the United States.

”If we tackle it, we have the chance to change a generation of potential extremists and enemies into a generation of friends,” Edwards said.

From John Edwards for President website:

Edwards will endorse the goal of universal basic education by 2015 and commit $3 billion a year to this cause—enough to enroll 23 million children—and encourage our allies to provide the remaining $7 billion needed.

Edwards will invest in preventative health care in poor countries, beginning with increased vaccinations and the provision of sterile equipment and basic medications

Edwards will expand support for the National Endowment for Democracy to strengthen political parties, train political candidates, educate voters, and monitor elections. The resources will help countries with a history of political violence or extremist or terrorist activity.

The new Cabinet-level position within the White House will coordinate global development policies across the federal government. The adviser will have the authority to coordinate budgets among the relevant programs at the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. and other relevant agencies. During Cabinet meetings in the Edwards Administration, the official will be a voice for the fight against global poverty. [A truly radical idea, get rid of some beuracracy!]

DOMESTIC POVERTY

From the Boston Herald

Edwards, who established a research center on poverty after his failed 2004 campaign, has set a goal of eliminating poverty in the United States in 30 years. His proposed solutions include creating a million temporary jobs for low-income workers, strengthening labor laws, increasing tax credits for working families and making housing and higher education more affordable.

Edwards, who established a research center on poverty after his failed 2004 campaign, has set a goal of eliminating poverty in the United States in 30 years. His proposed solutions include creating a million temporary jobs for low-income workers, strengthening labor laws, increasing tax credits for working families and making housing and higher education more affordable.

From John Edwards for President website:

Edwards calls for a national effort to:

  • Cut poverty by one third within a decade, lifting 12 million Americans out of poverty by 2016.
  • End poverty within 30 years, lifting 37 million Americans out of poverty by 2036.

Edwards suggested creating 1 million temporary jobs over five years. The jobs would be reserved for individuals who cannot find other work after six months of looking, pay the minimum wage, and last up to 12 months. In return, workers must show up and work hard, stay off drugs, do not commit any crimes, and pay child support.

Edwards proposed increasing the minimum wage to at least $7.50 an hour. The proposal would increase a full-time minimum-wage worker’s pay by $4,800 and benefit more than 15 million minimum and near-minimum wage workers. A $1 increase in the minimum wage has been estimated to lift nearly 900,000 people out of poverty.

Edwards suggested creating one million new housing vouchers over five years to let low-income families choose to live in better neighborhoods. He believes that we should also expand the supply of affordable housing that is economically integrated with other communities.

Edwards will require more fathers to help support their children and, in return, help them find work. He will reserve budget cuts in child support enforcement to increase collections by more than $8 billion over the next decade and ensure that payments benefit children.

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The New York Times reported on January 25, 2007 about a recent study on the long term costs of childhood poverty.

  • Children who grow up poor cost the economy $500 billion a year because they are less productive, earn less money, commit more crimes and have more health-related expenses
  • authors had not specified the high cost of eliminating child poverty, which census figures show affected 12.3 million children in 2005, or 17.1 percent of those younger than 18.
  • Poor schooling, lack of employment and the high arrest rate among poor young men, especially black men, have emerged as major concerns of liberal and conservative experts alike.
  • Social research and neuroscience have shown the importance of early childhood development on later functioning, Jane Knitzer, director of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University, told the panel. Yet the Early Head Start program serves just 62,000 infants and children, Ms. Knitzer said.

Find out more about the study at the Center for American Progress. Their website says:

More specifically, we estimate that childhood poverty each year:

  • Reduces productivity and economic output by about 1.3 percent of GDP
  • Raises the costs of crime by 1.3 percent of GDP
  • Raises health expenditures and reduces the value of health by 1.2 percent of GDP.

I will point out that the NY Times article quoted conservatives who would agree with the $500 Billion price tag saying it maybe slightly off but close enough for the purposes of discussion.

Read the 23 page report. Here’s a Google search for the report, with other news articles if the NYTimes one is archived.

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There is a plethora of resource about this and how to help end poverty. I’m going to post a message prepared by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, quoted in blue below. I did add links for your use!

The theme for this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – “Working together out of poverty”—highlights the need for a truly global anti-poverty alliance, one in which both developed and developing countries participate actively.

The world has made real but insufficient progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. Thus, while extreme poverty declined significantly between 1990 and 2002—from 28% to 19% of the developing world’s population—progress has been uneven both within and between regions and countries. In much of Asia, economic and social progress has lifted nearly a quarter of a billion people out of perpetual poverty. But poverty rates in Western Asia and Northern Africa have remained stagnant, while the transition economies of Eastern Europe and Central Asia have registered increases. And sub-Saharan Africa lags the most, with the region unlikely to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015.

Clearly, more needs to be done to tackle poverty and underdevelopment. The Doha trade negotiations need to produce freer and fairer trade for all. Developed nations need to come through on their Official Development Assistance (ODA) and debt relief commitments. Developing nations, for their part, should prioritize the Millennium Development Goals and, if they have not yet done so, adopt national strategies to achieve them. They should utilize ODA flows to bolster national capacities in a sustainable manner, emphasizing better governance and strengthened rule of law. And countries already on track to achieve the Goals can aim higher still by adopting even more ambitious targets.

Regrettably, the “global partnership for development” remains more phrase than fact. This has to change. All key development actors – governments, the private sector, civil society and people living in poverty – must undertake a truly collective anti-poverty effort that will lift living standards and alleviating human suffering.

The campaign to make poverty history—a central moral challenge of our age—cannot remain a task for the few, it must become a calling for the many. On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, I urge everyone to join this struggle. Together, we can make real and sufficient progress towards the end of poverty.

http://www.un.org/events/poverty/2006/sgmessage.html

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