State Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana Co.) wants Pennsylvanians to have a more intelligent conversation about effectively attacking the poverty that continues to afflict 1.6 million state residents. He’s off to a good start.
After researching anti-poverty efforts and talking to people around the state, Reed and his House Majority Policy Committee have issued a “mid-term report.” It offers what might be called a compassionate, pragmatic conservative’s approach to fighting poverty.
Titled “Beyond Poverty,” the report seems to reflect a genuine concern that in our land of plenty, people should not go hungry or homeless. There’s none of the overt Social Darwinist victim blaming sometimes found among hardcore Tea Party partisans.
“It is impossible to successfully combat poverty without first addressing the basic needs of life,” says the report, listing those needs as food, water, shelter and clothing. (Another one would be health care. As the report notes elsewhere, “Far too many individuals and families are living in a world where they are one health care disaster away from falling into poverty.”)
Reed and Co. seem to think that government should make sure the door of opportunity is open, while ensuring that anti-povery efforts work and badly designed programs don’t discourage people’s effort to climb out of poverty.
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