MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry debut a new regular segment Sunday focusing on poverty, which she noted many people did not want to touch, even as the national poverty rate remained at 15 percent of the population last year, or just over 46 million people, with 21.9 percent of them being minors.
“Let me be crystal clear,” she said. “Those aren’t numbers. Those are people.”
President Barack Obama’s administration, Harris-Perry noted, has already at least broached the subject; days before his re-election, a campaign spokesperson cited programs like Choice Neighborhoods, Promise Neighborhoods and others in a response to The Nation as proof Obama took the issue seriously.
The magazine’s executive editor, Richard Kim, noted to Harris-Perry that the last presidential candidate to bring up poverty as a key point was former Democratic senator John Edwards (D-SC), who coined the phrase “Two Americas” to discuss it while running for the White House.
“I think there was a lot going on in the first administration: job creation, a lot of it was pitched toward the middle class,” Kim said of Obama’s first term. “I understand the political reasons for that, but morally, it’s just unexcusable [sic] we have the level of poverty we do in this country of vast, tremendous, splendid wealth.”
Harris-Perry’s panel discussion on poverty, aired Sunday on MSNBC, can be seen below.