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Dollars And Sense: Poverty, Politics And The Presidential Election

Members World Central Kitchen distribute food to voters and poll workers at a polling station in Washington, DC during early voting.
Members World Central Kitchen distribute food to voters and poll workers at a polling station in Washington, DC during early voting.

We’re five days away from the presidential election and over 70 million people have already made their voices heard through early voting. But there is one group that is routinely sidelined in American politics: those experiencing poverty. 

Some 8 million Americans have fell into poverty since federal aid meant to subsidize incomes affected by the coronavirus pandemic ran out in May. That number isn’t expected to fall.

Democrats and Republicans have clashed over a second pandemic stimulus package to no avail, meaning relief for Americans who need it may not come any time soon.

A member of our 1A Text Club shared their story with us, which we’ve lightly edited for clarity.

My job shut down in March when COVID shutdowns began…I applied and began receiving [unemployment insurance] by late April. I was able to make ends meet until the extra 600/wk expired. Now, I’m only receiving $150/wk. Bills are starting to lapse, car is about to be [repossessed], food is running scarce, mortgage is 2 months late, lights about to be turned off. My job is still up in the air.

I have never been in this type of situation before. It’s so scary. I’m ridden with anxiety. It’s so frustrating to see our [government] not come together and pass a meaningful large stimulus package to help average struggling Americans like myself. Yet they can spend time voting on a SCOTUS nominee. It’s absurd. I’m not sure if they realize that people like me are watching their every move and we’re the ones who are voting come Nov 3rd.

Does either major presidential candidate have a plan to help those who have fallen into poverty? And what organizations are filling the gaps Congress has left behind?

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