In response to your inauguration coverage: Our new president and Congress have vowed to stand up and defend the interests of ordinary Americans who feel left behind by deepening economic inequality. But actions speak louder than words.
More than 43 million Americans still live below the poverty line in our country. In local terms, that is 245,551 Idahoans. Even more heartbreaking, 17.4 percent of children in Idaho under 18 lived below the poverty line in 2015. Those numbers would actually be twice as high if not for federal anti-poverty policies. So it’s truly puzzling that some members of Congress are preparing to attack key pillars of our safety net programs; programs their constituents depend on to survive, like SNAP (formerly food stamps) and Medicaid.
Now more than ever, we need to focus on helping hardworking people across the country make ends meet, not put up roadblocks. We must stand up against schemes to “block grant” health and anti-poverty programs; we must stand up against efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I hope we can count on our elected officials to reject any proposals that undo what works. We need to protect the least and the last.
Dawn Pierce, Boise