Wesley Clark on Welfare & Poverty

NATO General; Democratic Candidate for President


Volunteered in 1960s NYC inner-city Youth Corps Program

[My wife-to-be] Gert’s father was an official with the Catholic Relief Services. Through him, I learned about ‘Summer in the City,’ a Neighborhood Youth Corps Program. I won’t deny that I was young and in love and looking for some excuse to stay in New York City and spend more time with Gert. Luckily, her father had helped me find just the vehicle I needed: I became a leader in the South Bronx, with about 100 teenagers to supervise.

It was a transitional area, formerly Italian and Jewish, becoming African American and Hispanic. I spent several weeks organizing beach trips, playing stickball, and refereeing local quarrels. It was a matter of treating everyone with respect and demanding the same respect in return.

When the local toughs catcalled from their cars, we asked them to join us. They found they had a lot in common with everyone else. And of course, they lost their intimidation factor, too, when it became clear that some of us could hit a stickball farther than any of them.

Source: A Time To Lead, by Wesley Clark, p. 67-68 , Sep 4, 2007

Lift 2 million children out of poverty by 2008

President Bush’s Record of Failure Half a million more children in poverty between 2000 and 2002, bringing the total number of children in poverty to 12 million.

Wes Clark’s Turnaround Plan: Goal #4: Two million children lifted out of poverty by 2008

  1. Creating jobs and getting the economy growing again. The best anti-poverty program is a job.
  2. Making work pay. Wes Clark will raise the minimum wage in steps to $7 per hour by 2007 and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
  3. Promote a comprehensive approach to empowering Americans. Wes Clark’s proposals-including extending health insurance to the most vulnerable families, making preschool and child health insurance universal and helping families afford transportation, childcare, and housing-form a comprehensive plan to make work pay.
    Source: 2004 Presidential campaign website, Clark04.com , Jan 1, 2004

    Promote homeownership; end redlining; end predatory lending

    Homeownership is a part of the American dream. Every working family should be able to have a place they call their own. Yet too many minorities - especially African-American families - are unfairly steered away from conventional credit into into high-interest, subprime loans. It’s redlining, and it’s wrong. Three straightforward steps would help ensure that every family is able to seek home ownership on equal terms. First, we need to get the economy going again - economic growth is the key to continuing to expand home ownership. Second, we need to crack down on predatory lending. Third, we must support minority lending institutions and other financial institutions that serve minority communities.
    Source: 2004 Presidential campaign website, Clark04.com , Jan 1, 2004

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    Page last updated: Oct 01, 2016