We Can Cut Poverty in Half

Testimony to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support

The Center for American Progress released the groundbreaking report this week, “From Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half.” The report outlines a comprehensive approach for reducing poverty with a tangible goal in mind. Today, Center for American Progress President and Chief Executive Officer John Podesta testifies at a House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support hearing on “Proposals for Reducing Poverty” to give them information about CAP’s policy recommendations. 

The U.S. has one of the highest poverty rates in the developed world. The situation is particularly dire for Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans. CAP’s policy recommendations could contribute to a healthier population, less crime, more economic growth, a more ca­pable workforce, a more competitive nation, and a major decline in racial inequities and disparities.

Podesta’s testimony discusses CAP’s plan to reduce the ranks of the poor and build a strong and growing middle class. “From Poverty to Prosperity” lays out 12 steps to cut poverty in half within the next 10 years. Those 12 steps are as follows:

1. Raise and index the minimum wage to half the average hourly wage.

2. Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

3. Promote unionization by enacting the Employee Free Choice Act.

4. Guarantee child care assistance to low-income families and promote early education for all.

5. Create 2 million new “opportunity” housing vouchers, and promote equitable development in and around central cities.

6. Connect disadvantaged and disconnected youth with school and work.

7. Simplify and expand Pell Grants and make higher education accessible to residents of each state.

8. Help former prisoners find stable employment and reintegrate into their communities.

9. Ensure equity for low-wage workers in the Unemployment Insurance system.

10. Modernize means-tested benefits programs to develop a coordinated system that helps workers and families.

11. Reduce the high costs of being poor and increase access to financial services.

12. Expand and simplify the Saver’s Credit to encourage saving for education, homeownership, and retirement.