In the final months of the presidential election, both major candidates mentioned the term "middle class" countless times in any effort to mobilize the country's largest voting bloc. What they rarely, if ever, mentioned were those who live below the poverty line and what role the government and the Church should play in helping these 46.2 million Americans.
When broken down to numbers that are easier to grasp, roughly 1-in-7, or 15 percent of Americans, are poor, up slightly from the previous year's total of 43.6 million.
But what constitutes as a poor family in America? The U.S. Census Bureau defines poverty as a hypothetical family of two adults and two children living on an income of $23,021 or less in 2011. The median household income in the U.S. in 2011 was $50,054. more >>
President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats have been arguing that Republicans want to protect tax cuts for "millionaires and billionaires," even though Democrats are really talking about raising taxes on those making more than $250,000. An idea appears to be floating around some Republican congressional circles to offer to raise taxes on actual millionaires while preventing taxes from going up for those making more than $250,000.
One of the concerns Republicans have about raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 is that it will raise taxes on many small business owners who pay personal income taxes rather that corporate taxes. If taxes are raised on small businesses during a slow economy it could slow hiring, they argue.
One of the main sticking points so far in negotiations over what to do about the "fiscal cliff" is that Republicans want to raise revenue by only eliminating tax deductions and credits and some Democrats are insisting on increasing tax rates on upper income Americans. more >>
WASHINGTON – Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual bishop in The Episcopal Church, believes that voucher programs that benefit religious schools are a "tragedy."
The controversial bishop of New Hampshire told The Christian Post on Monday his views on vouchers at an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress on the issue of poverty reduction.
"I am a believer in public education and I believe every dollar diverted from public education either by religious schools or by charter schools is a tragedy," said Robinson. more >>
Democrats may have the upper hand in debates over what to do about the pending "fiscal cliff" because they have less to lose than Republicans if the nation goes over the cliff.
The fiscal cliff is a set of spending cuts and tax increases set to go into effect at the beginning of next year if Congress and President Barack Obama make no changes. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the fiscal cliff will cause a recession. But getting rid of the fiscal cliff without implementing long term deficit reduction will cause even bigger problems in the future because the rising national debt, now over $16 trillion, is unsustainable.
If Congress and Obama do not agree to a solution, going over the fiscal cliff will move the country in a more liberal direction. Conservative columnist George Will has been among those making this point. more >>
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that Democrats would not support a bargain with Republicans that only includes revenue increases from eliminating tax deductions and credits. Tax rate increases must also be part of the package, Pelosi insisted. Conservative pundit Bill Kristol said he expects Republicans to go along with a tax rate increase.
Congressional leaders met with President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss plans to avoid the "fiscal cliff" and chart a path forward on a "grand bargain" deficit reduction package. Pelosi described the meeting as congenial.
"The spirit at the table was one of, everybody wants to make the best effort to get this done," Pelosi said in an interview on ABC's "This Week." more >>
The Rolling Jubilee project, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, is following the Bible's example of forgiveness by offering an early Christmas present to those throughout the country who are suffering debt from medical expenses, credit card bills, or college tuition fees.
A brainchild of the Occupy Wall Street movement's subgroup, the Strike Debt committee, the Rolling Jubilee is a volunteer-run debt relief project with a simple goal: to use donated money to absolve the debt amounts held by collection agencies.
As the project's official website states, the word jubilee "comes from many faith traditions including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A jubilee is an event in which all debts are cancelled and all those in bondage are set free. It worked in Biblical times and it can still work today." more >>