When we think of poverty, what do we think of? Food stamps? Emaciated children? Tin shacks? Empty refrigerators?
A meaningful debate about the path to recovery requires a careful examination of the uneven impact on African-American and Hispanic families and the role of racial discrimination in creating the ongoing distress.
The federal government needs to make improving Native education a serious priority. If it can provide a top-notch education to the children of our nation's military families, why can't the same be said for children in tribal communities?
While some states have responded by enacting damaging cuts to work supports for low-income families, other states with equal or greater fiscal shortfalls have found ways to balance their budgets without compromising their safety nets.
We've got a poverty problem in this country, paired with leaders who won't even say the word "poverty," let alone solve the problem. We have a political class that is so far removed from the hardships of a normal life that they can't even connect with the middle class, let alone the poor. In Washington, the pervasive dominance of money in politics has made it nearly impossible for the stories and hardships of the poor to make headway into the national conversations. The poor don't have lobbyists or super PACs, and they certainly don't have a real commitment in the party platforms at the conventions this season. So people of faith and conscience will keep beating the drum about poverty and asking each candidate, every candidate, what their policies will do to the least of these.
Over the past five years, the travel and tourism industry has become a driving force for New York City's economy, growing into the City's fifth largest industry and supporting more than 320,000 tourism related jobs. The success of New York City's travel and tourism industry has not happened by accident. It's been part of a strategic, five-borough economic development plan put forth by Mayor Bloomberg to help grow and diversify the economy.
As thousands of Democratic National Convention delegates descend on the great City of Charlotte, North Carolina, mayors across the country are reminded of just how important our convention, tourism and hospitality industries are for our local economies. In Baltimore, we have made smart investments in tourism to promote our city as a desired destination for large conventions, sports fans and the casual weekend traveler. These investments have had major impact on the city as a whole and the well-being of all of our residents.
This has been a record-breaking summer for the United States for more than just Olympic medals and stifling heat waves. The domestic travel industry broke its own set of records putting it on the leading edge of the nation's recovery. That's good news for America's economy and for the millions of workers whose jobs are supported by people traveling.
Like many American cities, a significant subset of our population remains in poverty, lacking the skills needed to fill many of the jobs the city has to offer. As mayor, it's my job to figure out how to both address our city's challenges and boost our assets and, whenever possible, find solutions that meet those two needs at the same time. The city's hospitality industry offers Philadelphia that solution.
While all of the cameras and reporters are focused on the convention floor in Charlotte this week, there is a different story going on behind the scenes that hardly anyone has noticed. In the first six months of this year, international visitors spent an estimated $82.2 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services, an 11 percent increase over the same period last year. Each one of those foreign dollars helps build up our economy and create new jobs that can never be outsourced overseas.