It was like an Aaron Sorkin wet-dream made real in DC yesterday: a liberal president met with a progressive pope to talk about poverty, immigration, and climate change.
Ari Fleischer wrote an editorial in The Wall Street Journal earlier this week suggesting that income inequality could be fought through marriage. The week before, Emily Badger had a piece in Atlantic Cities arguing precisely why this line of thinking is ill-conceived. Margaret Simms, a fellow at the Urban Institute and director of its Low-Income Working Families Project points out an obvious flaw: “You cannot solve poverty by just marrying people if – jointly – they cannot generate sufficient income to raise a family above poverty.”
This weekend, PBS Newshour looked at the growing rate of poverty in U.S. suburbs. According to the report by Megan Thompson, there are now more poor residents living in suburbs than in urban cities and rural areas, a shift that occurred in part as more people moved into the suburbs, and in part by the financial crisis. And while cities figure out how to address the needs of those living in suburban poverty, food pantries, and other charities have been stepping in to provide some help.
The latest episode of Freakonomics is about “fighting poverty with actual evidence” and features a discussion with economists Richard Thaler from the University of Chicago, and Dean Karlan from Yale, who examine studies (like the one by Give Directly), showing what kinds of methods are good at fighting poverty.
In the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, poverty rates are high and people are hungry, yet 38.5 percent of the residents there are considered obese. Part of this reason, according to this feature by Eli Saslow in The Washington Post (Saslow’s fifth story in this series), is because food stamps can be used to buy junk food at many convenience stores, which sell lots of processed, or fried food, and a $1 snack I hadn’t heard about until now: a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos with hot cheese poured over it.