Fighting for a U.S. federal budget that prioritizes peace, economic security and shared prosperity
In a press call before the forum, Barber and Poor People’s Campaign co-chair the Rev. Liz Theoharis argued that the issues of poverty and systemic racism are bigger than any one election, and that it has been the inaction of both parties that allowed millions to languish with little assistance.
On Monday, the Poor People’s Campaign also released “The Poor People’s Moral Budget,” published with the help of the Institute for Policy Studies. The budget calls for cuts in defense spending and an end to tax breaks for the rich, arguing that this money would be better put to use restoring the social safety net, improving wages, and providing services to the poor. The budget report also rails against voter suppression and gerrymandering, citing the two as examples of “policy violence” or, as Barber put it on Monday, “policy racism.”
The Poor People’s Campaign says that there are more than 140 million people making less than twice the poverty line in the United States and that the country must move past partisan politics and focus on assisting poor and low-income people.
“Poverty and inequality are created by policy, and must be remedied by policy, not pity,” Barber and Theoharis note in the report.
Before they hosted the presidential candidates on Monday, Barber and Theoharis argued that their forum was focused on the needs of poor Americans, not on the performances of the candidates.
“We cannot continue to keep rejecting the poor, rejecting the hurting...This is bigger than the next election,” Barber said during a June 16 appearance on CNN. “This is about whether America can be America, itself. It is about our long-term health as a country.”