Nashua Telegraph / OCT 22, 2014
NASHUA – “Richard,” a 28-year-old Montgomery, Ala., man, is the first to admit he “did some stupid stuff” that led to him to drop out of school then drop in to a federal penitentiary to serve time for some armed robberies. Now 28 and out of prison, Richard is nevertheless saddled with the “felon” label, a red flag for potential employers, an automatic banishment from public housing and food stamps. Given all that, it might seem incidental that Richard’s felon status also means he cannot vote.
But to well-known writer and activist Daniel Weeks, Richard’s case is an example of a far greater problem, and illustrates quite clearly the complex relationship between institutional poverty and political power that leaves people like Richard with little if any hope for a political voice.
NH’s Business on WMUR TV / JUN 8, 2014
A new analysis of New Hampshire’s working poor in the June issue of Business NH Magazine shows that 1 in 5 families is low-income and 4 in 10 jobs pay wages that are below or near the poverty federal line, even as the cost of housing and other basic needs continue to soar. Author Daniel Weeks and Business NH editor Matt Mowry discuss the findings with Fred Kocher, host of “NH’s Business” on WMUR TV (ABC) in Manchester, NH. [Watch the interview]
Business NH Magazine / JUN 2014
(Excerpted from the Magazine) Does America’s longstanding vision that work and reward go hand-in-hand still hold true today? … For millions of citizens born and raised in difficult circumstances, “working poor” is not an oxymoron. Five years after the Great Recession officially ended, the number of low-income workers in the United States has swelled to the highest rate in over 25 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fully half of American jobs now pay less than $33,000 per year and one in four pay poverty-level wages of $22,000 or less. The National Employment Law Project reports that 60 percent of all jobs lost during the Great Recession were in mid-wage occupations while 59 percent of jobs gained through 2012 were in lower-wage occupations; meanwhile, the number of high-income jobs lost and gained was unchanged at around 20 percent. As a consequence, Americans in the bottom income quintile now receive the smallest share of income–3.3 percent–since record-keeping began in the 1960s, according to the Census Bureau. In sharp contrast, the share of income gains flowing to the top 1 percent from 2009-2012 reached 95 percent, according to U.C. Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez.
The Exchange on NHPR / JAN 15, 2014
Behind the numbers are the experiences of America’s poor, which, more often than not, go unheard. This divide is the problem that N.H. writer and activist Dan Weeks addressed in the project he undertook last year, to travel around some of the poorest areas of the country by bus and see poverty close up, as well as the ways that it intertwines with a lack of political voice. Today we’ll talk with him about the series of articles he wrote for The Atlantic on his trip and what he saw. [Listen]
Poverty vs. Democracy in America
The Atlantic / JAN 6, 2014 / Comments:
50 years after Lyndon Johnson launched the War on Poverty, tens of millions of second-class Americans are still legally or effectively disenfranchised. [Read article]
Should Felons Lose the Vote?
The Atlantic / JAN 7, 2014 / Comments: The poor and minorities are disproportionately locked up—and as a result, disproportionately banned from the polls. [Read article]
Immigrant Voting: Crazy Idea?
The Atlantic / JAN 8, 2014 / Comments:
Until the 1920s, many states and territories allowed non-citizens to cast ballots. Given their role in American society, it’s worth reconsidering the practice. [Read article]
How D.C. and Puerto Rico Lose Out on Democracy
The Atlantic / JAN 9, 2014 / Comments:
Is there a connection between deprivation and a lack of federal representation? The people in territories without a vote sure think so. [Read article]
Why Are the Poor and Minorities Less Likely to Vote?
The Atlantic / JAN 10, 2014 / Comments:
Even when America’s underclass isn’t formally stripped of its ballot, a slew of barriers come between them and full representation and participation. [Read article]
How to Solve America’s Democracy and Poverty Crisis
The Atlantic / JAN 10, 2014 / Comments:
Hardship is undermining the the nation’s core values. Here are a few steps to help re-level the playing field. [Read article]
Sojourners / MAR 26, 2013 / Comments:
When budgeting breaks down on Capitol Hill, politicians make excuses while ordinary people pay the price. So it is with the recent sequestration saga, where the failure of official Washington to prevent across-the-board spending cuts comes at a crippling cost for the “least of these” God’s children – $85 billion a year, to be precise. As discretionary spending is slashed 14 percent below 2010, nothing will be spared save the entitlement programs and tax expenditures that are the actual cause of the nation’s growing deficit. [Read article]
Sojourners / NOV 1, 2012 / Comments: 7
Much has been said by politicians and the press in this campaign. In three presidential debates alone, we’ve heard the two contenders for our nation’s highest office speak of tax cuts, deficits, jobs, and the middle class literally hundreds of times. But much has also been left unsaid. In those same presidential debates, poverty was hardly featured and the word “inequality”didn’t appear at all. [Read article]