With the Democratic party now on the march in American politics, the issue of poverty has made a comeback. One of the first acts of the new majority on Capitol Hill was to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour in order to help the “working poor,” and a “living wage” movement is making headway at the grass roots, pressuring states and localities to pay even more to low-skilled workers. Congressman Charles Rangel, the new chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has declared poverty “a threat to national security,” and the committee recently held a hearing on the subject. Among the advocates in attendance was John Podesta, a former aide to President Clinton and now the head of the Center for American Progress, who urged the lawmakers to spend $90 billion more a year on various new benefits for low-income families.
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