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Washington, D.C. – Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty,” Bread for the World welcomes a new bipartisan debate about how to reduce poverty.
President Obama gave a major address on income and opportunity on Dec. 3, and Republicans are now also talking about poverty. Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich recently distanced himself from what he called the “war on the poor” in Washington, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will both make speeches about poverty in the coming days.
“Partly because of the War on Poverty, we cut the poverty rate in half during the 1960s and early 1970s,” noted Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “But we haven’t made much progress since then, mainly because reducing poverty hasn’t been a national priority. No president since Lyndon Johnson has made reducing poverty one of his top five priorities.”
The economic crisis that began in 2008 has increased hunger and poverty. Over the last three years, Washington has been preoccupied with deficit reduction, with Republicans pushing for deep cuts in programs focused on hunger and poverty.
“Lots of people are struggling economically, and they voted in large numbers in the last election,” said Beckmann. “That has encouraged leaders in both parties to explain how they propose to provide help and opportunity for families that struggle to buy groceries.”
Bread for the World Institute outlined its own plan for ending hunger in America in its 2014 Hunger Report, released just before Thanksgiving. Bread for the World’s strategy stresses policies to reduce unemployment and improve the quality of jobs. It also urges a strong safety net, investments in people, and partnerships between community organizations and government programs.
“The world as a whole is making dramatic progress against hunger and poverty,” added Beckmann. “If countries as different as Brazil, Bangladesh, and Great Britain can reduce poverty, so can the U.S.A. Overcoming hunger and poverty should be a priority for both parties.”
Afghanistan would be considered likely to have high rates of hunger because at least two of the major causes of global hunger affect it—armed conflict and fragile governmental institutions.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5. Every year, the world loses hundreds of thousands of young children and babies to hunger-related causes.
Bread for the World is calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to build a better 1,000-Days infrastructure in the United States.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to respond to changes in need, making it well suited to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.