Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has announced an ambitious plan to tackle poverty in the United States, quoting President Franklin Roosevelt, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
The anti-poverty plan would focus on a wide range of measures aimed at eradicating poverty and providing relief to those in need.
Williamson’s plan includes a proposal to “declare an unconditional war on poverty, and aim to relieve and cure its symptoms in order to find solutions to prevent it.”
This would involve a range of measures including strengthening democracy by urging Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, to enfranchise voters and stop voter suppression, as well as enacting automatic voter registration, protecting election security, and reforming immigration.
Other proposals include lifting poverty wages by raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025, providing grants to retrofit homes and businesses to become clean energy efficient, and expanding the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to aid working families with heating and cooling bills.
The plan also calls for the restoration of the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) back to its original form under the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA), which sent federal funding directly into communities via their local Community Action Agencies to eliminate poverty, expand educational opportunities, increase the social safety net for the poor and unemployed, and tend to the health and financial needs of the elderly.
The Williamson administration would also work towards making education affordable, making public colleges (both community colleges and four-year colleges) and trade schools tuition-free, and forgiving all federal and privately held student debt (including interest).
Williamson’s plan has received praise from advocates for the poor and working-class Americans. In a statement, Williamson said, “It is time for us to declare war on poverty and end it once and for all. Our plan is a comprehensive and bold strategy that will help lift millions of Americans out of poverty, and build a more just and equitable society for all.”
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