October 16 and 17 marked World Food Day and the International Day to Eradicate Poverty, respectively. The commemorative events give us a moment this week to reflect on the tools and policies needed to help more Americans get on the path to safe, stable and successful futures with a goal of ending hunger and extreme poverty by 2030. Both instances have decreased in the past five years – but if we intend to meet the eradication goal, we need to pick up the pace.
What is Currently Being Done to Address These Issues?
Here in the U.S., food policy and financial support policy work hand-in-hand to create opportunities for people to achieve economic stability and build strong families. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) doesn’t just meet a crucial need for food – it also provides an array of work, education and training elements to improve skills and expand opportunity. You can read more about SNAP in a previous post.
In terms of financial supports, the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is widely recognized by experts, practitioners, and both sides of the aisle here in Washington, as one of the most effective programs the country has to promote work and help people overcome poverty. EITC covers families and some individuals with low or moderate incomes, and while it has expanded in recent years, more needs to be done to help a critical yet excluded group. Low-wage workers who are not raising children – including young people new to the workforce, adults with grown children, and non-custodial parents – are not currently eligible for EITC, and as a result they are taxed deeper into poverty.
What are Some Considerations for the Future?
It’s important to remember, as we look toward a new presidential administration, that President Obama and Speaker Paul Ryan along with other policymakers have advanced proposals to address this issue. Several key populations that Goodwill® serves would see improvements from an expanded EITC – about 630,000 veterans and military members, 3.7 million young workers and 1.9 million rural workers would benefit from the EITC under the plan proposed by President Obama and Speaker Ryan.
The Tax Policy Center, an independent, non-partisan organization, has analyzed the tax proposals of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in depth. Readers can also learn about their plans for EITC and its kin, the Child Tax Credit (CTC).
Let’s make #EndHunger and #EndPoverty more than just a hashtag by recommitting to having conversations in our communities. Join Goodwill so your elected officials know how important it is to commit to policies that make self-sufficiency possible and futures bright for all Americans.