Quote of The Day, May 23, 2012
Poverty is very good in poems … in maxims and in sermons, but it is very bad in practical life. –Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit
Here at the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, we are reminded of this old proverb from the pulpit of Henry Ward Beecher in the early 19th century. Unfortunately, in the 21st century we are experiencing a near historic rate of poverty and economic hardship for modern times. Americans in 2012 are enduring an increased threat to our already shrinking social safety net programs and a system that preys upon the poor, making this old proverb painfully relevant today.
- The federal government recently released data showing that 3.6% fewer families received Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) in December 2011 than in December 2010.
- The number of children receiving TANF in December 2011 was just 20.5% of the number of children who were poor in 2010.
At the same time:
- the number of households receiving Food Stamps (SNAP) 7.2% increased between December 2010 and December 2011.
Legal Momentum suggests that the reason for the decrease in TANF participation, during a hike in poverty, was the states’ adoption of stricter TANF eligibility and access.
The conditions that create poverty in this country are on the rise, including joblessness, increased debt, and the high cost of being poor. The policies created to keep families out of poverty have spotty effectiveness. Economic hardship is a way of life for millions of people in this country. So, while poverty may be “very good in poems…in maxims and in sermons” …it is indeed, very bad in practical life.