[COMMENTARY] Accessibility, Nutrition, Jobs – Clearing up the GOP’s Poverty Mess
The impact of the GOP’s administration has been felt in many areas, and that includes poverty. The GOP has been so committed in their opposition to easing poverty that they have, according to Vanity Fair, staked their congressional election strategy on opposing the pandemic relief bill, which will likely offer transformational hope in the form of its $1.9tn endowment. Any good work done in reversing poverty has been rolled by over the past four years. Tackling this problem, and applying the stimulus bill correctly, requires focusing on key areas – the first being accessibility.
Part of the GOP-Trump strategy in winning over Rust Belt states concerned the rebuilding of outdated infrastructure. Indeed, Bloomberg notes that $1tn was promised in infrastructure funding – only $200bn was provided, as an incentive to private and public developers. This has left the people that the GOP promised to enable in a predicament. Infrastructure spending is essential for the current administration and is forthcoming, but assistance may be coming in from other routes. The emphasis on technological innovation and the use of EVs has opened up the car market to a higher degree. Car buyer guides and purchase listings are growing in stock and quality; better quality pre-owned vehicles are widely available, and at a better price. For low-income families, this will provide much-needed assistance in bridging other parts of the poverty gap.
Enabling better nutrition
Malnutrition is a significant problem for American low-income families. This is not the same as under-eating; in fact, NPR has found that obesity and a lack of access to quality food are inextricably linked. What became more common under the Trump administration was food deserts. CNN Business highlighted how this drove food insecurity higher and higher in the most impoverished states; Kentucky saw a rise of 118% into 2020. Tackling food deserts must be a key priority for the current administration. Improving transport links is a key part of this, and will help to encourage the distribution of high-quality foods. Improving jobs is another crucial step.
Salaries improved for many under Trump. The administration was keen to highlight this, but it was not reflective of the truth. As Time magazine clearly highlights, inequality has systematically deepened over the past four years. Improving salaries and access to good jobs is another crucial part in making sure that poverty across the USA is tackled. The goal is absolutely achievable, especially thanks to the slew of manufacturing jobs that are soon to spring up across the country. With better salaries and better communities to work in, low-income households can start making their way up the income brackets and enjoying a better quality of life.
The holistic approach to easing poverty, through improving the entire structure around families that supports them, is the only way to make long-term change. Performative politics did so much to set back improvements in the quality of life for low-income households. With new spending and inclusive infrastructure, the new administration may be able to roll that back.