November 1987 Home   Newsletters

December 1987

January 1988

President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Vote Count
Helping the Poor -- Whose Repsonsibility? (Jean Aoki)
Consensus Meeting on Meeting Basic Human Needs
Hunger Numbers
Poor: Myths vs Reality
City Funds Meeting
Initiative Forum
Water Conference
Welcome Back
Meeting Basic Human Needs: Committee Report (Jean Aoki)
Letters (M.R. R.)
Be a Part of the Aloha Voter

Helping the Poor -- Whose Repsonsibility?

Dr. Patricia Ewalt's views on how best to help the poor demands a strong federal presence, while Dr, Joe Miccio feels that the main responsibility should be assumed by the lowest level of government possible.

Dr. Patricia Ewalt, Dean of the School of Social Work at UH Manoa, and Dr. Joe Miccio of the School of Business Administration at UH Manoa, were the two speakers at the League's December 12th general membership luncheon meeting at the Outrigger Canoe Club.

Self-sufficiency, the goal of welfare reform, is really a myth, according to Dr. Ewalt. We all enjoy subsidized housing through tax benefits, tax deferred arrangements such as tax deferred annuities, social security, etc., from which poor people are excluded because, they do not have the floor to enjoy these advantages. Even in health care, we are not self-sufficient. We have shared-risk health care coverage and the least able people do not get to participate in this.

The working poor is increasing, and this condition should not exist, she claims. The minimum wage should be increased. Work programs should include all the supports, such as child care, education, training, and health care.

The choice by some to remain on welfare so as not to risk losing health benefits is understandable. Dr. Ewalt feels we should provide universal health care.

She feels that whether the nation can or cannot afford these programs is not the issue. We need the programs, so we should strive to attain them.

"How do we get to the point where we don't need to meet the needs of the non self sufficient?" began Dr. Miccio. In 1967, he says, the increased cost of labor exceeded productivity and our products priced themselves out of the world market. Why have other nations overtaken us in productivity? An adversarial position between business and government exists in this country in contrast to Japan. According to Dr. Miccio, to correct this situation we need statesmen, not politicians, in government. He advocated considering limiting the terms of office for legislators so that at least one-third of those in office would be turning over. He feels that too much of legislative action is governed by a need to run for re-election. Government, labor, and business all need to develop a sense of responsibility. We also need national strategic planning. We need increased productivity.

Dr. Miccio feels that much too large a proportion of the money allocated to social programs go to the administration of these programs. Cost analyses of these programs are needed.

Financial responsibility for these programs should go to the lowest level of government for they know the needs better, he says. States should take the primary responsibility for seeing that everyone has enough food. The private sector should take care of health care with the federal government taking a secondary role. The states should take care of housing, and should assume responsibility for income assistance with help from the private sector.

These were some of the views expressed by the guest speakers. A lively question and answer period followed.

Jean Aoki
Chairperson, Meeting Basic Human Needs Committee

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