Bob Herbert & the War on Poverty

Bob Herbert of the NYTimes today uses his column inches in the nation’s newspaper of record to pound the President, Democrats, and Republicans for neglecting their responsibility to help Americans who are most needy.

The late Peter Stamas of Lowell (Lowell High Headmaster, President of Human Services Corp. of Lowell, a founder of the Community Foundation) used to talk about the “misery index” that was so high in Lowell in the  1960s and ’70s. For all the attendant pain the “misery index” brought, the conditions at least made the city eligible for government-funded programs from the “Great Society” era that primed the pump for an urban comeback: Model Cities Program, Urban Development Action Grants, Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, etc.

The current official unemployment figure here is not as high as it was in the bad old days, but I’m sure the unofficial number (counting so-called discouraged workers, the underemployed, and those working under the table) exceeds Lowell’s high-water mark of the ’70s: 12 percent. (In Nov. 2010, Greater Lowell unemployment stood at 8.4 percent).  Read Bob Herbert here, and get the NYT if you want more.