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Somalia’s famine brings issues of global poverty to the
Prachi Kamble, Staff Writer
The recent famine in Somalia brought the fate of eighty percent of
the world’s population to the spotlight. With catastrophic events
such as this famine, poverty resurfaces yet again in the global
consciousness. A consciousness that is mostly preoccupied with the
rapid advances of its more exciting urban economies. Questions are
then raised on the prevalent quality of poverty and the horrors of its
The causes of poverty are manifold. War, disease, famine and
unemployment being the big players. What steps can then be taken
towards addressing the massive social issue of global poverty that
has afflicted humanity for centuries?
1. Employment generation
Carefully and extensively planned employment programs funded by
the government can spur growth in jobs. Industries requiring
substantial labour forces can also be given significantly larger aid
from the government. Focus should be placed on developing
companies that offer sustainable and long-term jobs to the
community. Companies should also budget sufficiently for employee
training and related community programs, so that employees and
prospective employees can keep their skills relevant and up-to-date.

g. research institutions. 3. non-profit organizations. The priorities of these countries are therefore unnecessarily skewed and the citizens of these debt-ridden nations are devoid of any hope for a better future. This ensures that they never get a chance to develop and become self-sufficient. albeit vested.2. For this reason charities with numerous middlemen organizations should be discouraged to ensure money reaches those in need. For example. U.N. When organizations develop an interest. It also discourages corruption in government systems. This makes governments accountable for their actions and inaction becomes easier to pinpoint and address. Money funnelled from every organization available adds up to powerful sums that can produce tangible change. 4. Transparency in government spending Where and how a government chooses to spend taxpayers’ money and its own revenue should be visible to the media and the common man. . Organizations that have a concrete goal to achieve with strict project plans are able to efficiently concentrate their efforts into producing change. Cancelling impossible to repay world debts Many developing countries are trapped in the cycle of constantly repaying debts that are impossible to pay off. . Drawing on various social institutions to fund poverty fighting programs e. universities. Importance should be given to organizations that follow the teach a man to fish ideology rather than the give the man a fish one. unless in extremely dire emergency circumstances. they tend to be more strongly motivated. charities. transparency will be especially beneficial to civilians whose government might be allotting money to its nuclear weapons program instead of to its poverty programs.

7. Building self-sufficient economies Creating reduced dependence on oil. food. Projects to launch new industries and businesses will also need monetary encouragement. Steps in this area include investment in local infrastructure. 8. Education provides training to tomorrow’s workforce and thus fortifies the economy against poverty. Education in rich populations about poverty invokes sentiments of compassion and a sense of responsibility to the misfortunes of the rest of the world. as opposed to a temporary revivalist injection in a dying economy. impoverished populations are able to visualise their way out of poverty and are able to work towards it in an organised and reliable manner. Education also has the power to bring about social changes such as fights against racism . With education. transportation and schools that keep the ball of development rolling. Taxing the rich more and the poor less Redistribution of wealth will be an imperative step in eradicating poverty. 6. The rich get richer while the poor get poorer. clean water. Education As much as poverty is a social condition it is also a mental and psychological cage. Prioritizing programs that target fundamental human rights Every individual should have access to housing. This might prove to be the hardest step yet. healthcare and electricity.5. Taxing methods need to be tailored to an individual’s financial bracket to ensure that upward social mobility becomes an absolute possibility. Technically governments should only move on to other projects after they have made sure that programs that provide these basic amenities to their people are up and running. external financial aid and imports will help to ensure that alleviation of poverty remains on an upward but permanent curve.

provide much needed services to their communities and help stimulate the economy for the long run. It becomes too easy to forget the state of the less fortunate when the world is advancing at lightning speed. With effective media coverage of poverty-related catastrophes. There is a lot of work to be done and not a single second to waste. 9. create jobs. Involvement of the media The media has the power to draw the eye of the global conscience to issues of poverty. in turn. The path to fighting poverty is long and chock full of hurdles. suffering from lack of employment opportunities and financial backing from governments or banks. Microfinancing Microfinancing makes financial services like insurance. savings and loans available to individuals in developing nations who wish to run their own small businesses.and sexism – both conditions that happen to be linked intrinsically with poverty. . Flourishing small businesses. These individuals. the demand for social change rises collectively all over the world. are able to create a profitable means of survival through microfinancing. ARB Team Arbitrage Magazine Business News with BITE. 10.

Furthermore. one might assume that chronic economic insecurity and an off-kilter economy are the new normal and that nothing can be done to fix it. poverty. and health insurance report yesterday. They are the direct result of . there has been some progress in the poverty rate as it fell from 15 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013. low.The Top 10 Solutions to Cut Poverty and Grow the Middle Class The Census Bureau released its annual income.and middle-income workers have seen little to no income growth over the past decade. but there was no statistically significant improvement in the number of Americans living in poverty. But there is nothing normal or inevitable about elevated poverty levels and stagnant incomes. With flat incomes and inequality stuck at historically high levels. as the gains from economic growth have gone largely to the wealthiest Americans. revealing that four years into the economic recovery.

policy choices that put wealth and income into the hands of a few at the expense of growing a strong middle class. When the government invests in jobs and policies to increase workers’ wages and families’ economic security. At the current pace. To kick-start job growth. . Create jobs The best pathway out of poverty is a well-paying job. Here are 10 steps Congress can take to cut poverty. The good news is that different policy choices can bring different outcomes. we must create 5.6 million new jobs. the federal government should invest in job-creation strategies such as rebuilding our infrastructure. and expand the middle class. To get back to prerecession employment levels. we will not get there until July 2018. children and families see improved outcomes in both the short and long term. boost economic security. developing renewable energy sources. 1. however.

Unfortunately.renovating abandoned housing. and making other common-sense investments that create jobs. the extension of federal unemployment insurance would have created 200. Had the minimum wage back then been . leaving 1. 2. and boost our national economy. revitalize neighborhoods. according to the Congressional Budget Office.3 million Americans and their families without this vital economic lifeline. We should also build on proven models of subsidized employment to help the long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged workers re-enter the labor force. In addition. Raise the minimum wage In the late 1960s.50 in economic activity.000 new jobs in 2014. Indeed. Congress failed to extend federal unemployment insurance at the end of 2013. a full-time worker earning the minimum wage could lift a family of three out of poverty. every $1 in benefits that flows to jobless workers yields more than $1.

indexed to inflation.3 million children—avoid poverty in 2012. Washington.86 per hour today. or EITC. the Earned Income Tax Credit. 3. it would be $10. Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers One of our nation’s most effective anti-poverty tools. Yet childless . California. and New Jersey— showsthat boosting the minimum wage reduces poverty and increases wages. It’s also an investment that pays longterm dividends. Raising the minimum wage to $10.5 million Americans— including 3. Connecticut. Recent action taken by cities and states—such as Seattle.25 per hour.10 per hour and indexing it to inflation—as President Barack Obama and several members of Congress have called for— would lift more than 4 million Americans out of poverty. Nearly one in five children would see their parent get a raise. compared to the current federal minimum wage of $7. Children who receive the EITC aremore likely to graduate high school and to have higher earnings in adulthood. helped more than 6.

Importantly. one is not a substitute for the other. 4. this policy change should be combined with a hike in the minimum wage. action must be taken to ensure equal pay for equal work. Support pay equity With female full-time workers earning just 78 cents for every $1 earned by men. as the maximum EITC for these workers is less thanone-tenth that awarded to workers with two children. Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act to hold employers accountable for discriminatory salary practices would be a key first step. President Obama and policymakers across the political spectrum have called for boosting the EITC in order to right this wrong. Closing the gender wage gap would cut poverty in half for working women and their families and add nearly half a trillion dollars to the nation’s gross domestic product. .workers largely miss out on the benefit.

or even their job. orFAMILY Act. or the birth of a child. Provide paid leave and paid sick days The United States is the only developed country in the world without paid family and medical leave and paid sick days. And the Healthy Families Act would enable workers to earn up to seven job-protected sick days per year. as having a child is one of the leading causes of economic hardship.5. would provide paid leave protection to workers who need to take time off due to their own illness. putting them in the impossible position of having to forgo needed income. . the illness of a family member. nearly 4 in 10 privatesector workers—and 7 in 10 low-wage workers— do not have a single paid sick day. The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act. in order to care for a sick child. Additionally. making it very difficult for millions of American families to balance work and family without having to sacrifice needed income. Paid leave is an important anti-poverty policy.

Ever-changing work schedules make accessing child care even more difficultthan it already is and leave workers uncertain about their monthly income. The Schedules That Work Act would require two weeks’ advance notice of worker schedules. Establish work schedules that work Low-wage and hourly jobs increasingly come with unpredictable and constantly shifting work schedules. things many of us take for granted —such as scheduling a doctor’s appointment or a parent-teacher conference at school—become herculean tasks. which means workers struggle even more to balance erratic work hours with caring for their families. which would allow employees to request needed schedule changes. These are all important first steps to make balancing work and family possible. .6. It would also protect them from retaliation for making such requests—and provide guaranteed pay for cancelled or shortened shifts. Furthermore.

high-quality child care for infants and toddlers. Invest in affordable. poor families who pay out of pocket for child care spend one-third of their incomes just to be able to work. as well as passing the Strong Start for America’s Children Act—which would invest in preschool. federal child care assistance reaches only one in six eligible children. In fact. high-quality child care serves as a major barrier to reaching the middle class. high-quality child care and early education The lack of affordable. and home-visiting services for pregnant women and mothers with infants—will help more struggling families obtain the child care they need in order to work and improve the future economic mobility of America’s children.7. On average. Furthermore. Boosting investments in Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant. . one year of child care for an infant costs more than one year of tuition at most states’ four-year public colleges.

but also to reduced financial strain. Expand Medicaid Since it was signed into law in 2010. unpaid medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. . Studies link Medicaid coverage not only to improved health. affordable health coverage for millions of Americans.8. Having health coverage is also an important buffer against the economic consequences of illness and injury. improved access to health care services. andlower mortality rates. 23 states continue torefuse to expand their Medicaid programs to cover adults up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level—making the lives of many families on the brink much harder. the Affordable Care Act has expanded access to high-quality. However. Expanding Medicaid would mean more than just access to health care—it would free up limited household income for other basic needs such as paying rent and putting food on the table.

housing. Today. people with criminal records face substantial barriers to employment. public assistance.9. even a minor criminal record comes with significant collateral consequences that can serve as lifelong barriers to climbing out of poverty. his or her family must find a way to make ends meet without a necessary source of income Additionally. a figure that has increased fivefold since 1980.5 million Americans are behind bars in state and federal prisons. When a parent is incarcerated. For example. More than 90 percent of employers now . Mass incarceration is a key driver of poverty. and building good credit. education. more than 1. The impact on communities of color is particularly staggering:One in four African American children who grew up during this era of mass incarceration have had a parent incarcerated. Reform the criminal justice system and enact policies that support successful re-entry The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world.

Furthermore. policymakers should explore alternatives to incarceration. making subsistence even more difficult for individuals seeking to regain their footing. and public . In addition to common-sense sentencing reform to ensure that we no longer fill our nation’s prisons with nonviolent. a lifetime ban—for individuals with felony drug convictions—on receiving certain types of public assistance persists in more than half of U. such as diversion programs for individuals with mental health and substance abuse challenges. We must also remove barriers to employment. and their families.S. and even an arrest without a conviction can prevent an individual from getting a job. low-level offenders. which can stand in the way of family reunification. housing. The “one strike and you’re out” policy used by public housing authorities makes it difficult if not impossible for individuals with even decades-old criminal records to obtain housing. education.use background checks in hiring. states.

assistance.6 million jobs between mid-2013 and 2014. but many important tools to help low-income individuals and families pave a path to the middle class—such as adult and youth education and training programs. 10. and community development programs—were on a downward funding trend even before sequestration took effect. As Congress considers a continuing resolution to fund the federal government past October 1 and avoid another government shutdown. it should . A decades-old criminal record should not consign an individual to a life of poverty. Do no harm The across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration—which took effect in 2013— slashed funding for programs and services that provide vital support to low-income families. child welfare.Some relief was provided this January.S. Sequestration cost the U. when Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. economy as many as 1.

poverty rate in half. investments in family economic security. or SNAP. Thereafter. Investments in nutrition assistance have improved educational . Between 1959 and 1973.reject further cuts to programs and services such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women. And it should avoid additional cuts to vital programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. or WIC. and new civil rights protections helped cut the U. Conclusion It is possible for America to dramatically cut poverty.S. which are set to expire in 2017. Congress should make permanent the important improvements made to the EITC and the Child Tax Credit as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. a strong economy. Infants. and Children. which provides vital nutrition assistance to pregnant women and mothers with new babies. formerly known as food stamps. which suffered two rounds of deep cuts in 2013 and 2014.

and grow the middle class. In more recent history. earnings. and income among the young girls who were some of the food stamp program’s first recipients. . Expansions of public health insurance have lowered infant mortality rates and reduced the incidence of low birth rates. We just need to build the political will to enact the policies that will increase economic security. Melissa Boteach is the Vice President of Half in Ten and the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center. expand opportunities. states that raised the minimum wage have illustrated the important role that policy plays in combating wage stagnation. There is nothing inevitable about poverty. Rebecca Vallas is the Associate Director of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress.attainment.