It’s not the economy – stupid

My apologies for misusing President Bill Clinton”s 1992 campaign slogan “it’s the economy stupid”. He used it to score votes during a recession.  Here in BC, one of the most common arguments I hear for why we can’t invest in poverty reduction is that the economy is bad and we can’t afford it right now. My experience on the welfare food challenge has brought home to me how really false is that excuse. Because I am thinking about food so much right now, I notice the incredible waste of food. I have been at a few meetings in the last week at which food was provided. Just what was untouched could feed me for a month. So it is not that our society can’t afford investing in poverty reduction. It’s that our prioroties are wrong.  We have to think about this problem differently. We can afford it and it is a social investment that will improve society as a whole, including the economy. A number of studies have looked at the cost of poverty and what it would cost to address it. As a member of the Public Health Association of BC I was involved in one carried out by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. It’s worth a read. Available through:    http://bcpovertyreduction.ca.  Hopefully the welfare food challenge can help change the dialogue about welfare.

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