LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Questions for candidates
If I could speak to the candidates, this is what I would ask them:
There has been a lot of talk this campaign about the remarkable economy, but no one mentions the fact that 35M people, including 12M children, are still living in poverty in this country. What will you do to help alleviate the suffering of millions of American families?
To get a job one needs training/education beyond secondary schooling. Why, then, don't we require states to count post-secondary education or training as "work" under the TANF program?
Parents cannot maintain a job without reliable, affordable child care, yet only one in ten eligible children receive child care assistance. What will you do to improve that situation?
Because people receiving TANF are no longer automatically signed up for Medicaid, would you be in favor of/support legislation to combine the application process or to make other changes to ensure that eligible people are getting the medical coverage they need?
It is likely that a downturn in the economy will occur in the near future. How will it affect people who have already reached their time limits on assistance?
Will the faith-based community, which is already unable to meet the increased demand for its services, be expected to support those additional needs?
Many studies have cited are consistently (and sometimes intentionally) given misinformation by caseworkers and turned away from programs for which they are eligible. What will you do to better educate both caseworkers and recipients about the regulations of these programs?
The gap between the rich and the poor is the largest it has been in recent memory. Which of your policy proposals will help close that gap?
We currently spend more than half of our federal discretionary budget on defense. For the past several years, Congress has increased the defense department's budget (above and beyond increases in personnel salary), in spite of the fact that year after year the Pentagon is unable to account for billions of dollars and regularly fail its audit. Yet a suspicion has emerged, not around the Pentagon's use of our tax dollars, but instead around the integrity and intentions of those receiving meager government assistance (a very small percentage of our federal budget). In the meantime our nation's inner-city schools are crumbling and inadequate, millions of people are going without food, 41 M people don't have health insurance, and we have one of the highest child poverty rates among developed nations. In light of this, how would you propose distributing the federal budget?
The 1996 welfare law will be up for reauthorization in 2002. What would you do to ensure that our welfare programs more effectively serve the needs of the 35 million people in our country who live in poverty?
Run dates: 2000-10-15 - 2000-10-29