This week, our mayor is hosting other city leaders in Los Angeles, in order to brainstorm on reducing and easing poverty.
I think that one of the most un-American things happening in America today is what I call the New Poverty. This is the poverty that happens even when people are working in accordance with American Dream standards: holding down two or three jobs, well over forty hours a week, and still unable to make ends meet. These poverty levels are especially prevalent in L.A., where transportation and housing costs, not to mention a generally high cost of living, make the poverty issue even worse. The only solution is to find a way to make sure that workers are fairly compensated for their labor, and that the resources are available for them to maintain a decent standard of living. With those two factors, there is a chance of bringing the poor up to the middle-class economic status they’re fighting and working so hard for.
While I believe that Villaraigosa is getting a bit quixotic in his quest against poverty (it may not be fixable to his standards without a complete social shift), I admire him very much for bringing his core values to the forefront. This is, to me, the most heartbreaking thing about Los Angeles: seeing poverty, everywhere. Especially coming from socialist Canada.