Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 20, 2014 at 7:02 PM

War on Poverty: The benefits of public assistance programs for the poor

Paid sick leave to lift women out of poverty

Kathleen Parker’s column “Marriage as a solution to poverty” [Opinion, Jan. 15] left out some key solutions to lifting women out of poverty, including paid sick days, and family and medical leave insurance. Both are proven to build economic security for women and their families.

Children in families with lower incomes are much less likely to have a parent with access to paid sick leave, which is critical to both the physical and economic well-being of families. Family and medical leave insurance reduces reliance on public assistance, including food stamps, for new moms.

Marriage shouldn’t be considered a ticket to economic security for women, especially for those who have split from an abusive partner. We have bills before the Legislature right now that can help women take a big step toward a brighter economic future for their families.

If policymakers, and the residents they represent, are truly interested in lifting women out of poverty, it’s time to take a vote to ensure access to paid sick days and family and medical leave insurance for all workers.

Tatsuko Go Hollo, Seattle

Keep effective programs that are providing assistance to the poor

Thanks for the Nicholas D. Kristof column on the War on Poverty and the achievements of the past 50 years to improve the lives of America’s most vulnerable citizens [“Progress in the war on poverty,” Opinion, Jan. 11].

It is disheartening and infuriating to hear the constant barrage of untruths spouted by those on the right advocating deep cuts to highly effective safety net programs, such as food stamps, unemployment benefits, Social Security and Medicare.

Let’s look at the facts because the numbers speak for themselves:

• In 1960, 35 percent of older Americans were poor, by 2012 that had dropped to 9 percent.

• Poverty rates have fallen by one-third since 1968.

• Roughly 27 million people were lifted out of poverty with the help of social programs between 1968 and 2012.

• Even though there’s room for improvement, Head Start graduates still have higher high school graduation rates and college attendance rates.

With one in five American children hungry and prolonged unemployment for millions of our citizens, we must support those programs that are working and fight the War on Poverty as long as it takes until all Americans have their basic needs met.

Melessa Rogers, Burien

Comments | More in Poverty | Topics: Kathleen Parker, Nicholas D. Kristof, War on Poverty


No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

NOTE TO READERS Some users, for example Century Link customers, may not be able to see comments at the moment. We’re aware of the problem and looking for a solution. We apologize for the disruption.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►