John Edwards leads Half in Ten Effort on Poverty

John Edwards has joined with several organizations to try to cut poverty in America in half in the next 10 years.

Watch the video with John Edwards and join the movement here:

One in eight Americans now lives in poverty.  A family of four is considered poor if the family’s income is below $19,971-a bar far below what most people believe a family needs to get by. Still, using this measure, 12.6 percent of all Americans were poor in 2005, and more than 90 million people (31 percent of all Americans) had incomes below 200 percent of federal poverty thresholds.

Millions of Americans will spend at least one year in poverty at some point in their lives.  One third of all Americans will experience poverty within a 13-year period. In that period, one in 10 Americans are poor for most of the time, and one in 20 are poor for 10 or more years.  

Poverty in the United States is far higher than in many other developed nations. At the turn of the 21st century, the United States ranked 24th among 25 countries when measuring the share of the population below 50 percent of median income.

Inequality has reached record highs. The richest 1 percent of Americans in 2005 held the largest share of the nation’s income (19 percent) since 1929. At the same time, the poorest 20 percent of Americans held only 3.4 percent of the nation’s income.

It does not have to be this way.  Our nation need not tolerate persistent poverty alongside great wealth.


Do you care?  Do something and join this effort.

Half in Ten: From Poverty to Prosperity

The Center for American Progress Action Fund is committed to cutting poverty in half in 10 years. Under the leadership of Senator John Edwards, CAPAF has joined with ACORN, the Coalition on Human Needs, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights to create the Half in Ten campaign.

In 2006, the Center for American Progress-our partner organization-convened a diverse group of national experts and leaders to examine the causes and consequences of poverty in America and make recommendations for national action. The resulting report from the Task Force on Poverty calls for a national goal of cutting poverty in half in the next 10 years and proposes a strategy to reach that goal, guided by the following four principles:

Promote Decent Work. People should work and work should pay enough to ensure that workers and their families can avoid poverty, meet basic needs, and save for the future.

Provide Opportunity for All. Children should grow up in conditions that maximize their opportunities for success; adults should have opportunities throughout their lives to connect to work, get more education, live in a good neighborhood, and move up in the workforce.

Ensure Economic Security. Americans should not fall into poverty when they cannot work or work is unavailable, unstable, or pays so little that they cannot make ends meet.

Help People Build Wealth. All Americans should have the opportunity to build assets that allow them to weather periods of flux and volatility, and to have the resources that may be essential to advancement and upwardmobility.


The Report (Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half by the Center for American Progress Task Force on Poverty) is here:  http://www.americanprogress.or…

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More after the fold.  

From Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half

By The Center for American Progress Task Force on Poverty

Thirty-seven million Americans live below the official poverty line. Millions more struggle each month to pay for basic necessities, or run out of savings when they lose their jobs or face health emergencies. Poverty imposes enormous costs on society. The lost potential of children raised in poor households, the lower productivity and earnings of poor adults, the poor health, increased crime, and broken neighborhoods all hurt our nation. Persistent childhood poverty is estimated to cost our nation $500 billion each year, or about four percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. In a world of increasing global competition, we cannot afford to squander these human resources.

The Center for American Progress last year convened a diverse group of national experts and leaders to examine the causes and consequences of poverty in America and make recommendations for national action. In this report, our Task Force on Poverty calls for a national goal of cutting poverty in half in the next 10 years and proposes a strategy to reach the goal.

Our nation has seen periods of dramatic poverty reduction at times when near-full employment was combined with sound federal and state policies, motivated individual initiative, supportive civic involvement, and sustained national commitment. In the last six years, however, our nation has moved in the opposite direction. The number of poor Americans has grown by five million, while inequality has reached historic high levels.


They recommend 12 key steps to cut poverty in half:

1. Raise and index the minimum wage to half the average hourly wage.

2. Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

3. Promote unionization by enacting the Employee Free Choice Act.

4.  Guarantee child care assistance to low-income families and promote early education for all.

5. Create 2 million new “opportunity” housing vouchers, and promote equitable development in and around central cities.

6. Connect disadvantaged and disconnected youth with school and work.

7. Simplify and expand Pell Grants and make higher education accessible to residents of each state.

8. Help former prisoners find stable employment and reintegrate into their communities.

9. Ensure equity for low-wage workers in the Unemployment Insurance system.

10. Modernize means-tested benefits programs to develop a coordinated system that helps workers and families.

11. Reduce the high costs of being poor and increase access to financial services.

12. Expand and simplify the Saver’s Credit to encourage saving for education, homeownership, and retirement.

Read more here:


A personal observation.  This is what issue activism is all about.  If we want real change, and god knows we need it, then it is up to each of us.  A Democratic President is a good start, but unless we act, it won’t make the change we need.  People make change, leaders don’t.  What kind of world do you want to live in?

Join here now and make real change:


Skip to comment form

    • TomP on May 9, 2008 at 20:05

    Join Here:

    • Benny on May 9, 2008 at 20:27

    This is really what JRE wanted to talk about today on the teevee shows.   You get a pony from me!

    Didn’t I hear he will be on All Things Considered to discuss this today?

  1. The intiatives being proposed are those that will provide a real hand up, not just a hand out.

    Looking forward to hearing more about this campaign.

  2. though all my money is going to campaign donations through November.

  3. I will join. I have never felt better in the last 5 years than when I’ve joined the Edwards is a vision of what our community should look like.  John Edwards is always about action which is the opposite of hopelessness.  And solving poverty is the key to moving away from imperialism.

  4. John’s out there being America’s spokesperson on poverty issues and his wife is fighting the good fight for UHC. I’m so thankful to them for taking leadership roles on two issues that rarely get ink in America.  

  5. Is Edwards going to be tapped for vice president?

    • RUKind on May 10, 2008 at 08:27

    That portion of a family budget is skyrocketing. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. Health care should start at pregnancy and follow through to the grave. Preventive health care especially. It saves in the long run.

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