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John Edwards on Welfare & Poverty

Democratic Nominee for Vice President; NC Jr Senator


Raise the minimum wage and training fund to help the poor

We will raise the minimum wage to $7.00 an hour by 2007. At this minimum wage a family of four with a full-time worker would no longer be forced to raise their children in poverty, increase tax credits for child care, an essential ingredient in ensuring the continued success of work-based welfare reform; defend and strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), increasing the reward to work for the most hard-pressed families and lifting millions out of poverty; invest in programs like Youthbuild that educate and prepare disadvantaged young people for jobs; encourage more women and minorities to pursue degrees in math and science, which lead to high paying jobs; invest in lifelong learning so that workers of all skill levels can access education and training to move up to better, higher paying jobs; and encourage entrepreneurship in all our communities through initiatives like the New Markets venture capital initiative.
Source: [Xref Kerry] Our Plan for America , p. 22 Aug 10, 2004

Moral responsibility to help 35 million Americans in poverty

We can do something about 35 million Americans who live in poverty every day. And here's why we shouldn't just talk about, but do something about it: because it is wrong. And we have a moral responsibility to lift those families up. We have children going to bed hungry? We have children who don't have the clothes to keep them warm? We have millions of Americans who work full-time every day to support their families, working for minimum wage, and still live in poverty. It's wrong.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention Jul 28, 2004

Raise minimum wage so full-time workers are out of poverty

There are men & women who are living up to their bargain, working hard and supporting their families. Their families are doing their part; it's time we did our part. We're going to raise the minimum wage, we're going to finish the job on welfare reform, and we're going to bring good-paying jobs to the places where we need them the most. And by doing all those things, we're going to say no forever to any American working full-time and living in poverty. Not in our America, not in our America.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention Jul 28, 2004

We need to talk about 35 million who live in poverty

There's been no discussion about 35 million Americans who live in poverty. Millions of Americans who work full-time for minimum wage and live in poverty. In a country of our wealth and prosperity, we have children going to bed hungry. We have children who don't have the clothes to keep them warm. Maybe on some poll, that may not be a big issue, but it's important. The Democratic presidential candidates have a moral responsibility to talk about it and do something about it, because it's wrong.
Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College Jan 22, 2004

Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit

I would increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to help poor Americans. I would also provide more support for child care and transportation, and lead efforts to ensure that fathers take responsibility for their children.
Source: Vote-Smart Presidential National Political Awareness Test Jan 8, 2004

My "Cities Rising" plan is to help urban America

Q: What is your urban agenda?

EDWARDS: I have a plan called Cities Rising. The idea is to bring jobs to urban America. Let's create incentives for new businesses, incentives for existing businesses. Second, to do something about public school systems. First, pay teachers better. Second, give bonus pay to teachers who will teach in schools in less-advantaged areas. And create wealth for things like homeownership.

Source: Democratic Presidential 2004 Primary Debate in Detroit Oct 27, 2003

Bush honors wealth while we honor work

The fundamental difference between George Bush and us is that he honors wealth, and we honor work. We believe in giving real chance to every single American. He takes the side of insiders, we take the side of regular Americans. Look at this tax cut. He's about rewarding wealth, not work. He wants to make sure that we leave out millions and millions of working families and put a priority on cutting taxes for those who get money from trust funds, instead of those who drive the cars & answer the phones for those who get money from trust funds. These are not the values of the American people! What's the thread connecting all this? They value wealth, they want to protect it. They value wealth, while we value the work that creates it. We cannot play defense with this President, we must play offense. We must take this right at him, in the toughest possible way. This is a fight about values, this is a fight for the American people and it is a fight we will win!
Source: Speech at the Take Back America Conference, Washington, DC Jun 5, 2003

Fully fund AmeriCorps.

Edwards signed a letter from 43 Senators to the President

To: President George W. Bush

Dear President Bush:

We write to express our strong support for AmeriCorps and recognize the leadership you have shown on this issue over the years. We know you agree that AmeriCorps is an outstanding program which has proven successful in addressing our homeland security needs, leveraging volunteers, and improving the quality of services available to a broad range of Americans.

Unfortunately, as you know, the Corporation for National Service officially announced yesterday unprecedented and drastic funding cuts, from 50 to 95 percent in every state. These cuts mean that under the State Competitive funding stream the Corporation will only fund 2,036 volunteers, compared with 11,236 last year. Many states will see their volunteer allocations under the competitive stream drop by as much as 90 percent and 16 states are shut out completely.

In your 2002 State of the Union address, you called for every American to dedicate 4,000 hours to community service throughout their lives. In your 2004 budget request, you proposed increasing the number of AmeriCorps volunteers from 50,000 to 75,000. Unfortunately, due to serious errors made by the Corporation, fewer than half this number of Americans will be allowed to serve their country through service.

We should support, not oppose, efforts to encourage more Americans to enter public service. We should do everything in our power to reward the American men and women who have chosen to serve the country and their communities in the hope of meeting the nation's critical education, safety, health, and homeland security needs.

We urge you to request additional funding in the supplemental appropriations bill to ensure that AmeriCorps remains a strong and vital program today and in the future.

Source: Letter from 43 Senators to the President 03-SEN5 on Jun 17, 2003

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Other candidates on Welfare & Poverty: John Edwards on other issues:
NC Gubernatorial:
Mike Easley
NC Senatorial:
Elizabeth Dole
Erskine Bowles
Jesse Helms
Lauch Faircloth
Richard Burr

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George W. Bush
(Republican for President)
V.P.Dick Cheney
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Sen.John Kerry
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Sen.John Edwards
(Democratic nominee for V.P.)
Ralph Nader
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Peter Camejo
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David Cobb
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Michael Badnarik
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Michael Peroutka
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