How to Keep the American Promise Alive?

The Defining Issue of Our Time

Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition for Human NeedsIn her January 27, 2012 post, “The Defining Issue of Our Time”, Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition for Human Needs responds to President Obama’s recent State of the Union Address.

Writes Weinstein:

“The ‘basic American promise,’ as the president described it in his State of the Union address, is that people who work hard should be able to raise a family, own a home, send their children to college, and save for retirement. The defining issue? ‘How to keep that promise alive.’

Exactly. In this and his December Kansas speech, President Obama recounted the sobering evidence of our shrinking middle class. He is not alone. The struggles of the middle class are a bipartisan topic. It’s when we get to ‘how to fix it’ that agreement takes a hike.”

Weinstein’s message resonates with data that tells the story of the shrinking middle class and increasing homeless population in New Jersey. We actually saw a 7% increase in homelessness in our state from 2008-2010 according to a recent report by the National Alliance to End Homelessness (the Alliance.)

Additionally, the same report found that over 2009-2010:

  • New Jersey has the 3rd highest rate of severe housing burden in the U.S. ;
  • The number of unemployed people increased nationally and in New Jersey 4%;
  • In New Jersey the number of people living doubled up with family and friends increased by 22% and the population of people living without health insurance increased by 7%.

For these New Jersey families, keeping a roof over their head and food on the table are much more pressing issues than owing a home, sending their kids to college and saving for retirement. How do we keep an even more basic American promise to these families?

Click here to read Deborah Weinstein’s post.

Click here to read Monarch’s previous post on the Alliance’s recent report.