Pastor Poverty Q1
The first thing we need is a big shift in mindset: we tend to think of poverty as an unfortunate result of our economy instead of understanding the disequalizing forces that have caused California to become the fourth most unequal state in the union. Poverty is not so much a bug as it is a feature of way the contemporary state economy generates unstable employment, low wages, and insecure housing. In order to truly tackle poverty, we need to adopt economic strategies that put equity at the center rather than as an afterthought to promoting growth – and this is a big shift in both our thinking and our policy-making. The second thing we need is a big shift in that policy framework: we tend to think that we need to focus on finding a “silver bullet” that will address the issue – say, better education. But any parent knows that you don’t think just one factor will improve your child’s chances and any business knows that its success depends on pleasing customers, employees, and suppliers alike. The implication for anti-poverty efforts – we need to slog our way through a full range of policies, including raising the minimum wage, spreading pre-K, supporting community college, attracting advanced manufacturing, promoting immigrant integration, employing the formerly incarcerating, assisting families through hard times, and so much more.