WASHINGTON – A report recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau, shows a slight decrease in the federal poverty rate, the first one since 2006, but Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said Congress still isn’t doing enough.
“We aren’t investing in early education enough, we’re not increasing the minimum wage, we’re not giving tax breaks for the working,” Brown said. “Instead we give tax breaks for moving jobs overseas.”
In 2013, local, state and federal governments spent almost $1 trillion on more than 100 anti-poverty programs. But some political experts say that money is going to programs that focus on the wrong priorities.
“The focus, really should be on education, job creation, pregnancy prevention,” said Michael Tanner, a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, and co-author of the paper The War on Poverty Turns 50: Are We Winning Yet?.
Tanner said it’s time to for Congress to change its way of thinking.
“Before we spend another dollar,” Tanner said, “let’s ask ourselves ‘is what we’re doing, working?’”
About 50 million people across the country live in poverty. While Tanner said some existing anti-poverty programs do help those in poverty live more comfortably, both he and Brown agree that there is still a lot of work to do.
“I think we want to create a society in which every person can reach their full potential,” Tanner said. “That’s going to take very different policies from what we’ve been pursuing so far.”
“If we’re going to give low-income and middle-income people an opportunity to make it into the middle class,” Brown said, “we’ve got to invest better than we’ve done.”