Questions we wished ABC would have asked:
1. From Jen: John Edwards spoke repeatedly about alleviating suffering and poverty for the poorest among us. With 46M people living in poverty and tens of thousands of homeless people in most major cities in our nation, what will be your response in addressing the lack of affordable housing in our nation?
Rising poverty is one of the most serious issues facing America today, and I believe that inserting simplistic tag lines or one-dimensional goals are unlikely to be helpful in meeting this challenge. As president, I will build off of my life experiences of fighting poverty and hopelessness as a community organizer, civil rights lawyer and elected official to make poverty eradication a top goal of my administration.
As President, I will increase the supply of affordable housing. In too many communities, low-income families are priced out of the housing market. Between 1993 and 2003, the number of units of affordable to low-income households fell by 1.2 million. I believe we should create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to develop affordable housing in mixed-income neighborhoods. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund would use a small percentage of the profits of two government-sponsored housing agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to create thousands of new units of affordable housing every year. I will also restore cuts to public housing operating subsidies, and ensure that all Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs are restored to their original purpose.
In addition to addressing the housing crisis, my anti-poverty plan will significantly improve opportunities for millions of poor children and their parents by strengthening the economy for working Americans and providing additional resources to programs that have proven to be effective in reducing poverty. For example, my plan will expand the EITC, which is considered one of the most effective pro-work anti-poverty programs to date, to 5.8 million more Americans. Additionally, my EITC plan will increase EITC benefits for another 6.2 million Americans. I will also extend affordable, quality and portable health insurance coverage to every American and make significant investments in early childhood education to help low-income families. I will invest $1 billion over five years into transitional jobs and career pathways programs to engage more Americans into the workforce and help them succeed. I will also work to tackle chronic poverty in urban neighborhoods across American by creating Promise Neighborhoods in 20 cities to provide new hope and opportunities to residents of concentrated poverty.
Perhaps most importantly, my plan will only focus on strengthening and expanding the most-effective methods for reducing poverty - including taking steps to strengthen families by reducing domestic violence, rewarding fathers who do the right thing and giving parents the right to take time off from work to care for a sick child. That's why my plan includes expanding innovative programs like the Nurse-Family Partnership, a program that has nurses visit and train low-income first-time mothers, because it has been proven to have produced an average of five dollars in savings for every dollar invested and produced more than $28,000 in net savings for every high-risk family enrolled in the program. If my administration finds that one of its anti-poverty programs is not working, that program will be eliminated and funds will be routed to more effective uses.
This is the best, most comprehensive answer to the affordable housing crisis I've heard answered in the presidential campaign so far. This is exactly the type of dialogue we are hungry for so perhaps the mainstream media can take a page from our book next time they host a debate because no one and I mean no one should be asking about flag pins anymore.
If you want to see all of the questions and answers, head over to MOMocrats now.
Edited to say: We also asked the same questions of the Clinton campaign and have yet to hear back.