POLICY AND POVERTY MATTERS: Our Collective Inability to #TalkPoverty Hurts Us All

An honest and substantive discussion about poverty is, and has long been, virtually missing from the public debates. When is the last time you read a news article covering the issue of poverty in a substantive way? Chances are slim, according to a recent study conducted by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

Of the nearly 10,500 campaign articles published from January to June 2012 that were reviewed, the study found that national media coverage of poverty-related issues appeared in only 17 of the articles. Yet, the study found that “debt” and “deficit” appeared in 1,848 of the articles. How can we talk about fiscal cliffs, scaling back social insurance programs, and improving the weak economic recovery without having a substantive conversation about poverty, the structural factors that are driving poverty, and how it affects us all?

Our collective inability to talk about poverty is widespread: not only are we ignoring the plight of the poor during dinner-table conversations, the problem of poverty is no longer an urgent national or state priority.

Remaining silent on persistently high poverty levels and its impact is a conscious choice that affects all of us.  It does not have to be this way. We can learn and talk about poverty, write about poverty, and fight back against policymakers who claim it does not exist.  In starting the conversation, we can also begin the work of collectively addressing poverty in our communities and state.

That is why the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center launched a pledge to talk about poverty. We are urging all North Carolinians to talk about poverty with their family, friends, neighbors, and congregations.

Let’s #TalkPoverty and end the silent treatment. Sign the pledge here.

 

3 Comments

  1. Frank Burns

    September 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I agree we should talk about poverty more and how to limit it. Public funds will become more and more precious due to budget cuts from deficit spending and therefore should be spent wisely. Does it make sense to send billions of dollars to Egypt and Libya where they hate us and want to limit free speech, while we have poor people here in this nation? Does it make sense for us to continue to fund public entertainment (NPR) when we have poor people that are malnourished? How much money is enough to spend on global warming research? We need to thoroughly study how our money is being used and reset our priorities to the needs of our citizens. We cannot just continue on the path to destruction that we find ourselves on or we will all be in that state of poverty.

  2. david esmay

    September 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Does it make sense for us to spend trillions on defense when that money could be spent on education, health care, job training? Does it make sense to subsidize oil and gas companies when they are making record profits when we have poor people that are malnourished? NPR is minuscule compared to the money wasted on Republican pork.

  3. Frank Burns

    September 30, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    David, Nothing is miniscule with a huge spending deficit. Everything needs to be on table. We can’t continue on the path we’re on. I didn’t know that pork was defined by any particular party.