The Antipoverty President of My Dreams

In my dream, the next president is an antipoverty president because she knows in her bones that the way we think about poverty in America is wrong, the way we treat people in poverty is wrong, and therefore what we do about poverty is more off the mark than need be.

My president declares herself the educator in chief on poverty, and uses the bully pulpit to teach Americans. She tells the stories of struggling people and their experiences, and regularly takes us to communities that are used to being dismissed, demonized, and disempowered.

My president shows Americans that people in poverty are not who we have been led to believe they are—some fixed group that has lost its initiative; that, in fact, more than half of us will experience at least one year of poverty or near poverty during our working years. She recognizes that while generational poverty is important, it is only a small part of poverty; that over a three-year period, only 3.5 percent of people were in poverty for the entire 36 months, while the national poverty rate ranged between 15 and 16 percent.

– The Nation

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