The Poverty Report

Urban poverty affects too many people to ignore.  Weave blogger Steve Peraza is exploring the problem's many dimensions and thinking through possible ways to solve it.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at Buffalo

622 University at Buffalo (SUNY) is one of many research institutions invested in the digitization of archival records. UB recently published an audio recording of a 1967 speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Buffalo called “The Future of Integration”.

A Plan without Promise

621 I wish I could celebrate President Obama’s antipoverty program and commend the national media for finally spotlighting the issue of poverty. But I can’t because the Promise Zones Initiative, in theory, attacks the social safety net and, in practice, benefits too few Americans to really make a difference.   

End Republicanism Now!

Now that the Republicans have shut down Congress, and a ton of questions about the efficacy of the federal government are swirling about, let me add one that I think has not been asked but needs to be: Does republicanism still work for us (Americans) as a form of government?

Faith in the Future of America?

November 2, 2013 will mark the thirtieth anniversary of Martin Luther King Day. It was in 1983 that former President Ronald Reagan signed the bill that established the national holiday. How this day misleads us so!

The Poor Don't Matter to Presidential Candidates

A recent news report on al-Jazeera has raised an important question: Why aren’t presidential candidates in the United States paying attention to America’s poor? Two reasons come to mind…

The Politics of the Poverty Line Revisited, Pt. I

186 A little more than a year ago, I wrote about the Census Bureau's effort to redraw the poverty line and the political clashes it might cause. Now the Bureau has worked out the kinks in their new formula and plans to reassess poverty statistics.

Great timing, no? As thousands of Americans protest economic inequality, and presidential hopefuls pander to rival classes for votes, this new wrinkle in the debate promises to stir the pot politically. Perhaps inadvertently, then, the Census Bureau has ensured that poverty will be a campaign issue in 2012.

What it hasn't done is offer any meaningful way out of the problem. As part of academia I support the Bureau's efforts to study the problem. Yet as a poor American I'm not sure I care about statistics. I'd prefer change.

Reporting Poverty

126 As farsighted Americans focus on problems abroad, those beneath their noses worsen. As of late, however, the national media has begun to cover the social issues troubling the United States, especially poverty. What has prompted this change and how long will it last?

Credible but not Confirmed


When airplanes flew into the Twin Towers, I was in Boston, visiting a friend at Tufts University. I watched the tragedy unfold on TV, the whole time thinking “my friends must be freaking out right now.” I couldn’t return to Manhattan for several days, but when I did, my shuttle bus brought me to Brooklyn, and I had to take the D-train onto the island. From the Brooklyn Bridge I saw the smoldering rubble, plumes of smoke where the towers once stood. For a few moments I was the one “freaking out”…

Food Stamps, Anyone?

102 An article in Reuters today dubbed the United States a “food stamp nation.” It reported that 15% of the population, or 46 million Americans, received benefits from the

Shared Sacrifice, Pt. II

101 The Poor Man's BurdenWarren Buffet’s call for fiscal reform has been lambasted by conservatives, especially on Fox News. Calling him a “socialist” (of all things!), these critics claimed that Buffet had waged class warfare against the rich—the so-called “most productive” people in American society. Rather than increase the tax rates for the top 2.3%, critics asked, why not demand that the nation’s poor—that is, those who earn less than $23 thousand for a family of four—actually pay income taxes?