U.S. Poverty Weekly Update November 27, 2012
New and Urgent in This Week's Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
Latest from Washington, DC
Got Two Minutes? Join the National Call-in Day Tomorrow Urging Congress to Protect Americans in Poverty
Congress returns to Washington this week after the Thanksgiving holiday. Item number one on members' minds is deficit reduction and the so-called fiscal cliff. While much of the debate has so far focused on the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the future of critical anti-poverty programs is also at stake. If Congress does try to craft a long-term "grand bargain" on deficit reduction, it could very well impact all the services and programs RESULTS has spent decades advocating for. It's imperative that members of Congress hear from their constituents about the importance of programs and services that help transition people out of poverty and into the middle class.
Tomorrow, November 28, advocates from around the country including RESULTS global and U.S. anti-poverty volunteers will be doing just that by calling Congress, urging them to protect critical anti-poverty resources in deficit reduction talks. Make sure you are one of them!
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes tomorrow to call your representatives and senators and telling them protect low-income children and families in deficit reduction negotiations. Dial toll free (888) 743-1097 to get connected to your Senate and House offices. Once connected, say:
In the budget and tax decisions ahead, please urge Sen./Rep. _______________ to explicitly protect "mandatory" anti-poverty programs including the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and SNAP (food stamps) in a deficit "framework." In addition, please oppose further cuts to non-defense discretionary programs, especially critical poverty-focused foreign aid programs, including the lifesaving global health, education, and microfinance accounts, along with Head Start and WIC. Instead, please end irresponsible extra tax breaks for the wealthiest two percent and include additional tax revenue, balanced with responsible spending cuts, so that our country can reduce its deficits while investing in ending poverty in the United States and around the world. I would appreciate a response from the Senator/Representative to my request.
For more background, see CHN's new summary The Fiscal Showdown and Children: What's at Stake and the SAVE for All letter, signed by more than 1,900 groups nationwide including RESULTS. If you cannot call, send an email to your members of Congress to protect the EITC and CTC in deficit reduction negotiations using the RESULTS online email action.
Thanks to AFSCME for providing the toll-free number.
This month, we have focused our efforts on shoring up support for one of the most effective poverty-reduction tools in the U.S.— tax credits for low-income families. New data shows that Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) lifted 8.7 million people out of poverty. Despite this success, some in Congress want to see these credits cut or eliminated as a means to reduce the deficit. These short-sighted and calloused ideas, and those who support them, fail to see these credits as investments. When families have more money in their pockets, they have more resources to raise their children, provide a decent home, and stay productive. They help families weather tough economic times and build a future where they no longer need to turn to public services for help. In other words, these credits — along with other important anti-poverty services — build a path out of poverty and into the middle class. Instead of drawing up plans to bulldoze that path, Congress should be repaving it and widening the lanes.
See the recent RESULTS Blog post outlining the new Census data showing the efficacy of the EITC and CTC in lifting people out of poverty. When calling tax aides about protecting the tax credits, have this information handy and offer to send the aide the link to the Census data.
TAKE ACTION: Take 10 minutes to call the tax aides in your House and both Senate offices about the EITC and CTC. Use the information in the November Action to urge the aide to ask his/her boss to speak to Senate (Sens. Reid/McConnell) or House (Reps. Boehner/Pelosi) leadership, requesting that they make the expiring improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent and support a principle that specifically protects the EITC and CTC from cuts in any deficit reduction framework. You can find the names of tax aides for your members of Congress on the RESULTS Elected Officials page.
If you have already called your tax aides and made your request, follow up with them to see if they and their bosses have taken any action on your request. These follow-up calls help ensure that the requests you make of your elected officials are taken seriously and acted upon.
Got Twenty Minutes? Finish Your Follow Up with New Contacts from the Barbara Ehrenreich Call
We hope that all of you had a hearty and joyful Thanksgiving last week. The holidays can be an exciting and busy time of year. Because of personal, familial, and nutritional obligations last week, perhaps you haven't had the chance to follow up with your new contacts made as part of the RESULTS National Conference Call with Barbara Ehrenreich on November 10. No worries. There is still time to keep people connected. And we have some easy ways to help you do so. Over the next two weeks, RESULTS has some events taking place that are perfect for new or potentially new activists (listed below). Take the time this week to follow up with people who attended the call with your group, people you invited to call in, and people who are interested in RESULTS and invite them an upcoming event.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to follow up with people you know who attended the RESULTS National Conference Call (or who were interested but could not come).
You can find other helpful resources to help with follow-up from the Barbara Ehrenreich call, including a recording of the call, on our National Outreach Event page.
New Half in Ten Report Provides Helpful Advocacy Resources; Join Webinar Tomorrow to Learn How to Best Use Them
Last week we noted that our friends at Half in Ten have released their new 2012 Restoring Shared Prosperity report. This report highlights the current state of poverty in America and offers practical solutions to reduce it. As stated on the Half in Ten website: "The policy decisions ahead of us over the next year represent fundamentally different visions of what makes a strong and prosperous America. As our leaders determine how to move forward, austerity policies that continue to weigh on low-income families will severely harm our economy in the long run, shortchanging our future workforce and reducing our economic competitiveness. Cutting the federal deficit doesn't have to happen at the expense of our country's most vulnerable citizens. In fact, bringing more families into the middle class is essential to cutting the deficit in the long term and returning America to a sustainable and prosperous future."
As Congress and the President work on a plan to address the deficit, powerful voices are already using deficit-reduction to push for more cuts to the social safety net, even as they themselves benefit from government contracts and high-end tax cuts. It is important to remember that, despite the rhetoric, this debate is not about too much government spending; big business and the wealthy in America benefit greatly from government spending. This is about what we want our tax dollars to do. Some believe that government policy should reward wealth and further concentrate it in the hands of those at the top. Many others believe government policy should foster wealth creation to expand and strengthen the middle class. This is not "punishing success," as some would contend. It is making sure everyone, even those at the bottom of the economic ladder, has the opportunity to succeed.
TAKE ACTION: Take some time to read the Half in Ten Report and also use their handy state indicators tool. This tool provides helpful information regarding the four areas the report discusses: cutting poverty, creating good jobs, strengthening families, and promoting economic security. Also, please join Half in Ten and the Coalition on Human Needs for a webinar reviewing the report and showing you how you can use these valuable resources. The webinar is tomorrow, November 28 at 3:00pm ET. Register today!
Finally, help build support for shared prosperity by sending a letter to the editor to your local paper urging Congress to protect programs and services that help move people from poverty into the middle class. Use our online LTE alert to send your letter today.
Are you new to RESULTS? Want to learn more about how RESULTS can help you be a powerful advocate for the end of poverty? Then plan to join our New Activist Orientation series beginning tomorrow night. This series provides an in-depth overview of RESULTS and our work. It is great for new members of a local RESULTS group or people just wanting to learn more about what we do and why we do it. This series includes two, one-hour calls. The first call is tomorrow, November 28 at 9:00 pm ET. The second call is Wednesday, December 12 at 9:00 pm ET (we will also repeat the first call on December 5 at 9:00 pm ET). If you would like to participate, please dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. You can RSVP or questions to Lisa Marchal at [email protected].
Webinar Tomorrow on Early Child Brain Development. Want to learn more how "executive function" impacts school readiness? Join Al Race from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University as he discusses early brain development, in simple terms, to help parents understand where the term executive function comes from and how it fits into a larger developmental picture. He will also discuss how Washington state embedded executive function in their early learning guidelines and some of the other ways in which they are thinking about executive function across policy areas. The webinar will conclude with how this relates to children in Kindergarten and Pre-K. The webinar is tomorrow, November 28 at 7:00 pm ET. Register today! Also, urge Congress to protect early learning services in the federal budget with our online email alert.
Join Protecting Food Stamps Webinar. Next week, our friends at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) will be hosting a webinar about the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps). Recent polling data shows that large majorities of Americans believe that hunger is a serious problem that the country must address and that SNAP must be protected. Join FRAC and Hart Research on December 3 at 1:00 pm ET to discuss the latest polling research, messaging for anti-hunger advocates, and how to push back against efforts to cut SNAP. Register for the webinar at the FRAC website. You can start today by sending an email urging Congress to protect nutrition programs using our online email alert.
New Report Shows Americans' Net Worth at 40-year Low. A new report from New York University professor Edward Wolff shows that the average American's net worth was $57,000 in 2010, its lowest point since 1969. Looking at data from 1983-2010, Wolff found that assets for Americans in the middle class dropped by 18 percent, while assets for the top 1 percent increased by 71 percent during the same period. A great deal of this was due to the recent drop in housing values, which makes up the bulk of middle class assets. As a result, nearly half of all Americans own just one percent of the country's wealth.
Use RESULTS Outreach Action Sheets. RESULTS works to provide you the resources you need in your anti-poverty advocacy. One such resource is our Outreach Action sheets. These one-page letter-writing actions are Word documents you can download and print to use for tabling at events, to send to allies, or to take with your group. We update these sheets regularly so you have the most recent requests. We have outreach action sheets for Tax Credits (EITC and CTC), the Wealth Gap and Asset Building, and Head Start and Child Care.
Remember that today is Giving Tuesday. Keep an eye out for social media reminders from RESULTS to share about how to make a gift to RESULTS part of this new holiday season tradition. Also, our Thanksgiving sentiments continue as we are thankful for our partners who are working hard on their upcoming fundraising events. Thank you! Please help support them by spreading the word about these to your friends and relations:
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Congressional Recesses: (these are target dates and subject to change) House: December 14, 2012 – January 2, 2013; Senate December ?, 2012 – January 2, 2013. Request face-to-face meetings.
Wednesday, November 28: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the first call of a two-call series; the second call is December 12).
Friday, November 30: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.
Wednesday, December 5: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the first call of a two-call series; the second call is December 12).
Tuesday, December 11: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587# (RESULTS#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
Wednesday, December 12: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the second call of the two-call series).
Tuesday, December 25 – Tuesday, January 1: All RESULTS offices closed for the end of year holidays.
Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.
RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:
The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via email to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our U.S. poverty campaigns.