Pete Buttigieg on Welfare & Poverty
Democratic Presidential Challenger; IN Mayor
Buttigieg said that if elected president, he would measure the performance of the economy "not by the Dow Jones, but by the income growth of the 90 percent, because a good economy is one where children are being lifted out of poverty."
"We need to recognize that the time has arrived for a different kind of politics to turn the page--leave the politics of the past in the past and deliver a better future before it is too late," he said.
BUTTIGIEG: Let's talk in language that is understood across the heartland about faith. If you believe that God is watching as poison is being belched into the air of creation, and people are being harmed by it, countries are at risk of vanishing in low-lying areas, what do you suppose God think of that? I bet he thinks it's messed up. You don't have to be religious to see the moral dimensions of this, because, frankly, every religious and non-religious moral tradition tells us that we have some responsibility of stewardship, some responsibility for taking care of what's around us, not to mention taking care of our neighbor. And eventually it gets to the point where this is more about specific people suffering specific harm because of what we're doing right now. At least one way of talking about this is that it's a kind of sin.
The comment was direct and combative for the mayor, but his calm delivery seemed to blunt the attack. "His interpretation of scripture is pretty different than mine to begin with," Buttigieg said. "My understanding of scripture is that it's about protecting the stranger and the prisoner and the poor person and that idea. That's what I get in the gospel when I'm at church and his has a lot more to do with sexuality."
Soon after taking office I convened a task force, which spent a year analyzing the problem. The result was an extensive report. But I was also fearful that we had just done one more exercise in describing the problem, without actually solving it. So, a goal of childlike simplicity: "Let's promise to deal with a thousand houses in a thousand days."
I began to understand the difference between my job and everyone else's. The experts could identify the legal tools for addressing neglected property. The council could allocate funds for dealing with the problem. But only a mayor could furnish the political capital to get the project done, by publicly committing to a goal and owning the risk of missing it.
Checking our website on Day 500, you would have seen that we had nowhere near having 500 houses addressed. By the 1000th day, our community had addressed not just 1,000, but over 1,100 homes. Hitting such an ambitious goal made it easier for residents to believe we could do very difficult things as a city at a time when civic confidence had been in short supply for decades.
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