Thinking About the Poor   /   Fall 2014   /    Notes And Comments

A New Approach to Poverty

James Mumford

Head Start Center in Virginia; U.S. Department of Agriculture; flickr.

Politicians and community change agents coming together to fight the war on poverty.

At the end of last July, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, more widely known as the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee, unveiled a sweeping set of policy proposals to tackle poverty in America. But in a summer with so many crises around the world and at home—Islamic State militants on the move in Iraq, a jetliner shot out of the sky over strife-torn Ukraine, Israel battling Hamas in Gaza, Ebola spreading through west Africa, and a crisis on the Texas border, to name just few—Americans had little time to think of matters beyond the horrific headlines.

As the poet Philip Larkin said, “sun destroys the interest of what’s going on in the shade.” And what’s going on in the shade is that Ryan has proposed a plan to tackle poverty that isn’t just about cutting the welfare bill. Why is that of interest?

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