The Common Good

Ignoring the nation’s poor: A political peril in 2012?

Date: September 27, 2012

The campaign rhetoric and the media coverage of an election focused on our economy have largely overlooked a major national economic shift: the number of working families living under the poverty line grew by over 25% since 2007. A recent study found national media has devoted a mere 0.2% of its election coverage to the challenge of poverty.

Maybe candidates can look away from more working mothers bringing home checks that place their families below the poverty line or one job loss or medical bill away from financial disaster. Maybe they can brush aside the impact of public policy helping struggling families find better opportunity in reducing costs to taxpayers and the economy. But even if you can ignore all this, how can you ignore the politics?

In order to elevate this discussion, Oxfam America has worked to support a groundbreaking documentary, “The Line,” which shines a light on the reality of poverty in America, and especially the working poor. We helped feature Ronnie Duplessis, an oysterman from Davant, LA, who tells his heartbreaking story of the struggle to survive after the BP spill. And we’re partnering with Sojourners, World Vision, Bread for the World, and other organizations to help bring this topic into the presidential campaign.