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No more Tweets

Posted by griffithd on August 2, 2017 at 12:15 AM

As I write this posting, the world has changed a bit since the first Muddy Boots Blog in November of 2013. As is our family practice, I am sitting on the porch of a house in Codfish Park in Sconset Nantucket overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I am about as far away from Philadelphia, and our work at Episcopal Community Services as one can be. Perhaps it is the contrast that sharpens my thoughts, and more precisely my concerns.

Politically I am an independent. Watching the news this week on the Affordable Care Act and the so called debate I am saddened by the rancor and the inability of our government to lead on such a critical issue as health care. I take comfort that both sides of the aisle have been quietly meeting and that some leadership can emerge from a consensus rather than a strident caucus.

The President scares me. What reading of the Constitution informs him that it is permissible to rough up a suspect, that women occupy a different standing than men, that the behavior of one’s staff can sink to the level of vulgarity that even Lenny Bruce would be embarrassed. How about a tweet on the rule of law, homelessness, poverty, employment, US competitiveness, national nuclear security, real national issues that impact Americans and the rest of the world. Perhaps his new Chief of Staff can bring a sense of order, proper priorities, and direction to this administration.

What has changed the most for me in these four years since I started writing, is my views of poverty and the efforts of many to address the associated issues. When one looks at the data and the funds spent on poverty, one has to conclude that ending poverty is no further along than it was in the 1960’s. One finds that we spend millions to maintains individuals and families, but little if any on programs and approaches to changing peoples lives and providing a path to prosperity. If we are to deliver real impact and lower the number of individuals in poverty, then our efforts need to shift from maintenance to programs that drive sustainable change.

The way out of poverty is employment. The issue is that meaningful work is a function of meaningful jobs. We can provide education, wellness, housing, work force readiness, and other fundamental tools, all at significant expense, but in the absence of real jobs that are available, the results do not move the needle on poverty very much.

It is here we need political leadership and the private sector to come together and drive the creation of jobs that give the opportunity to lift individuals, and in turn families, out of poverty and break this cycle that grips so many in our society. Social services can help people get ready, but jobs need to come from our economy. I suspect a new flavor of social work is in the offering concerning job creation.

I suggest on the matter of poverty; we are a generation or less away from chaos in our country. History tells us that a strong middle class is a basis for a strong nation. Sustainable change can only come from employment at a level that brings individuals and families into the middle class and out of poverty.

All of which leads me to the conclusion that we need to hold our political and business leaders accountable to the issue of job creation and fundamentally addressing poverty in our country. I care about global warming; I care about infrastructure, I care about housing, I care about energy, and all of these require attention, and all could create meaningful jobs along the way. As a country, we need to hold ourselves and our leaders to a higher standard, both at the ballot box and with our wallets.

Run the math on a country where poverty is significantly lower; tax revenues are in aggerate larger, but individual rates lower, and we are addressing core national and international issues with the additional funding. Poverty levels at 5% vs. the current 15% drive the algebra. Even my dog could get elected on that platform.

Our differences need to get set aside, and we focus on real issues, in real time. This is what leaders do. It is what we are called to do.

America needs to be great for all Americans.


Categories: Muddy Boots, Leadership, Griffith Thoughts

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