The Collegian
Friday, March 01, 2024

Only poverty ever seems to trickle down

Richmond College '12

The trickle-down theory, a favored policy of today's plutocrats, has been proven to solely serve the rich. A capitalist economy can only succeed with a populous and prosperous middle-class, and through aiding the poor we can deepen that pool. When a sizable middle class income is distributed more equitably, more people have the ability to purchase more goods.

This fact drives my belief that poverty is the most pressing issue in our society, trumping national security, gay marriage and abortion rights. A candidate's stance on poverty, on helping those who can't help themselves, is what convinces me to back him.

I support Barack Obama because his plan to combat poverty is specific and feasible, whereas John McCain's is sparse and impotent.

Barack Obama knows what it's like to live among the poor. Obama's parents were not wealthy. After graduating from college, Obama spurned what would have been excellent jobs to work as a community organizer in Chicago. As a member of the Illinois Senate, Obama created the Earned Income Tax Credit, which returned $105 million to the pockets of those who needed it most. Obama notes that with the present tax code, someone working full-time on minimum wage, including food stamps and tax credits, will still live below the poverty line. He realizes something has to be done about this.

Even though most people who live below the poverty line hold jobs, Obama knows that job creation is a good way to combat poverty. He'll create jobs through his Green Jobs Plan, which is similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, but employs underprivileged youth in environmentally friendly sectors. He'll invest a billion dollars in our job development and creation programs, and specifically target ex-criminals as potential workers. This will minimize recidivism and make us safer. It would especially benefit the Richmond area, where two-thirds of the homeless are ex-criminals.

He'll combat inner-city poverty by creating "Promise Neighborhoods," which are essentially socialized neighborhoods to ensure stability until the people in these areas can support themselves. Obama also supports small businesses, Internet expansion and renewable energy projects that will help decimated rural areas. I can personally attest to the efficacy of wind farms; towns in Western New York that have embraced these money-making machines have found themselves in a position where they can reverse decades of decline.

Obama also plans to help those already working emerge from poverty and join the ranks of the middle class. He'd raise the minimum hourly wage to $9.50, and more importantly tie the minimum wage to inflation so that workers can keep up with the rising prices of goods. He will guarantee a week's worth of sick days to the poor. He'd cut taxes for households making less than $250,000 a year, give lower class and middle class workers $500 to combat the payroll tax and completely wipe out taxes for the elderly on Social Security and other pension programs paying less than $50,000 each year.

Contact opinion editor Michael Rogers at michael.rogers@richmond.edu

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