PRINCETON – Barack Obama worked for three years as a community organizer on Chicago’s blighted South Side, so he knows all about the real poverty that exists in America. He knows that in one of the world’s richest nations, 37 million people live in poverty, a far higher proportion than in Europe’s wealthy nations. Yet Obama’s campaigning has focused on “Main Street” and tax cuts for the middle class, bypassing the issue of what to do about poverty.
It’s not as if Obama has no policies for helping the poor. Go to his Web site, click on “The Issues” and then on “Poverty.” There you will find a set of thoughtful proposals ranging from raising the minimum wage to establishing model “Promise Neighborhoods” that will attempt to turn around areas with high levels of poverty and low levels of educational achievement by providing services such as early childhood education and crime prevention. (Go to John McCain’s Web site, and you won’t even find “poverty” among the list of issues to click on – although “Space Program” is there.)