Poverty Reduction Is Key to Improving the Economy

Half in Ten, a campaign seeking to cut poverty in half over the next ten years, is holding a series of briefings to highlight the connection between reducing poverty and growing the economy.

At the first briefing, Heather Boushey, a senior economist at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, addressed why policies aimed at poverty reduction are vital in the short term to getting the country’s economy back on track.

Because 70 percent of our economy is based on consumption, Boushey explained, the more poor people there are, the worse off the economy will be. She stressed that addressing poverty in our country, especially for vulnerable minority populations, is essential to ending the recession.

Boushey was joined by Dr. Deborah A. Frank from Boston Medical Center’s Grow Clinic for Children, who discussed the long-term effect that poverty and hunger have on our nation’s children and the threat this poses to the future of the labor market.

The briefing was moderated by Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a Half in Ten partner. The Half in Ten campaign has identified four key policy objectives for reducing poverty in the next decade:

  • Increase economic security by extending unemployment insurance work for low-wage workers and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit.

  • Provide opportunity for all by expanding the reach of the Child Tax Credit and making quality child care available and affordable to all low-income families.

  • Promote decent work by investing in green jobs and raising and indexing the minimum wage to half the average hourly wage.

  • Build wealth by protecting low- and moderate-income homeowners from foreclosure.

Learn more at www.halfinten.org.