Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Obama to Smiley and West: We don't need no stinkin' White House conference on poverty

Most readers here are aware that Tavis Smiley and Cornel West have been ripping President Obama a new one claiming that he hasn't talked enough about poverty.

One of the things I'd like to point out to these two "brothers" is that the President talks constantly about policies that will grow the middle class. WTH do they think he means by that? He certainly isn't proposing policies that will strip the wealthy of their money and send them into the middle class. No, he's talking about growing the middle class by helping those in poverty get there.

The other thing President Obama says repeatedly when talking about this is that he refers to "those who are in the middle class and those who are striving to get there." Who do they think he's talking about in that second group?

The fact that the President doesn't use the word "poverty" doesn't mean he doesn't talk about it...all the time! He simply speaks to their aspirations rather than their circumstances.

The lastest proposal by Smiley and West is to rally people to advocate for the President to host a White House Conference on Poverty. In other words, their solution is to gather members of the professional class (ie, them) to talk about poverty.

Last night in his State of the Union Address, President Obama illustrated why he doesn't need no stinkin' conference on poverty to figure out what to do about it. His overall focus on investments in manufacturing, infrastructure and education were all directed at growing the middle class.

But even more specifically, he proposed 3 policies that were directly aimed at lifting people out of poverty.

First of all, he proposed something that is not only the best return on investment for taxpayers, it is the single most effective measure we've come up with to lift people out over poverty...universal pre-kindergarten education.

Secondly, he proposed an increase in the minimum wage and said that we should index it to inflation.

Finally, he made this proposal:
Tonight, let’s also recognize that there are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it is virtually impossible to get ahead. Factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up. Inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job. America is not a place where the chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that’s why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them.

Let’s offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who’ve got what it takes to fill that job opening, but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance anymore. Let’s put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in run-down neighborhoods. And this year, my administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet. We’ll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety, and education, and housing.

We’ll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest. And we’ll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples, and do more to encourage fatherhood -- because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one. And we want to encourage that. We want to help that.
Its clear that some people want to talk about poverty (we call those folks "poverty pimps" for a reason) and some folks want to actually DO something about it. President Obama seems content to let Smiley and West do the former while he takes care of the latter.


  1. Add Ralph Nader to the list of 'poverty pimps' who said that raising the min. wage and indexing it to inflation was 'too little too late' and also asserted that the president doesn't talk about 'lower class workers' only talks about the 'middle class' We are really ill served by alot of these progressives that get on the TV and in the papers these days


    1. Its clear Nader - and others - aren't listening to PBO when they suggest that he doesn't talk about "lower class workers" or poverty. As I said, just because he doesn't use their words doesn't mean he doesn't talk about it.

  2. Smarty Pants - Guys like Nader, West, Smiley make their living selling books about poverty and claiming politicians do nothing. A politician doing something, particularly a charismatic black politicians, undercuts their speaking fees.

    Its all about the duckets - Obama, not Smiley, West or Mumia, is the standard for up and coming Black leaders. And they're pissed.

  3. What West and Smiley want is a chance to have the spotlight on them and a chance to peddle their books and an opportunity to make contacts they can use to book lucrative speaking engagements. Neither is really interested in poverty, because if they were, they, along with Nader, would have used their considerable clout to do something besides "talk" about poverty before now. Talk is cheap. Neither of these folks have emerged from their Ivory Tower to organize any kind of effort to train the unemployed to become more employable, and I imagine neither of them have set foot in any poor neighborhood in this country.

  4. Has West and Smiley ever shown any concern for poor white people? That is the question that will make them go away for ever.

    Until they take their poverty tour to the deep south, among poor white people, then are just blowing smoke.

  5. Smiley and West are full of it. Pres. Obama is the man. They should be getting behind him but won't because it's not in their best interests to do so. After all, if the poor are actually lifted out of poverty they wouldn't have anything to gripe about and wouldn't be able to profit from talking about poverty. Smiley and West are nothing but poverty pimps and I hope the president and other Democrats put them out of business.


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