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Villaraigosa: Poverty Is “Central Issue of our Time”

December 3, 2012

Conference of Mayors immediate past President Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called on Americans to recognize poverty as “the central issue of our time,” during a speech on November 19 delivered at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and the Half in Ten campaign, an organization dedicated to cutting poverty in half over the next decade. His remarks coincided with the release of Half in Ten’s second annual report, for which he wrote the foreword.

“To grow the economy, to cut the deficit, to build a firm fiscal foundation, we’ve got to cut poverty,” Villaraigosa said.

According to the report, although the economy did grow in 2011, very few people at the lower income levels felt that economic growth. While incomes in the top five percent grew, middle class incomes declined and the poverty rate did not budge.

The report also looked at the early effects of the Affordable Care Act, and found that the percentage of those without insurance dropped from 16.3 percent in 2010 to 15.7 percent in 2011.

During his remarks, Villaraigosa also pointed out that many governors have refused to properly implement the health care law.

“It’s malpractice,” he said, and it’s “doing real long-term damage to their states and their people – they’re neglecting the futures of the people they’ve been elected to serve.”

“I love this country, but such desperate need is fundamentally un-American,” he added.