War on poverty, or war on the poor?


When Rep. Paul Ryan held his House Budget Committee hearing this week on the “war on poverty,” his witness list and questions were focused on how to end programs that have helped millions of people avoid starvation and homelessness rather than how to expand on the successes like the SNAP benefits program.

During the hearing, one of the witnesses, Douglas Besharov, admitted to Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries that he did not know the current minimum wage. Any of the men and women who have walked out of their jobs at fast-food restaurants across the country in recent months–or Tianna Gaines-Turner, a mother and member of Witness to Hunger who submitted testimony–could tell you that figure.

On Saturday’s Melissa Harris-Perry, the panel discussed what Ryan’s hearing neglected to consider and what people struggling to make ends meet have done in the fight for a living wage.