What the Parties Think  

Democrats: "Democrats believe that we must raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation. We will continue to fight for equal pay for equal work, a strong labor movement, and access to a world-class education for every child. … We will continue the improvements in refundable tax credits for low-income families to encourage work and education while lifting families out of poverty. To enhance access and equity in employment, education and business opportunities, we encourage initiatives to remove barriers to equal opportunity that still exist in America. We will expand the Promise Neighborhoods Program to prepare more students for college. … We reject the Republican budget plan that would force us to destroy the safety net in order to help the wealthiest avoid doing their fair share." ( Democratic Party platform)

Republicans: "Instead of undermining the expectation that low-income parents and individuals should strive to support themselves, benefit programs like food stamps must ensure that those benefits are better targeted to those who need help the most. For the sake of low-income families as well as the taxpayers, the federal government’s entire system of public assistance should be reformed to ensure that it promotes work. Each year, this system dispenses nearly $1 trillion in taxpayer funds across a maze of approximately 80 programs that are neither coordinated nor effective in solving poverty and lifting up families. For many individuals collecting benefits from multiple categorical programs, efforts to work or earn more actually result in less money in their pocket through the resulting loss of benefits … thereby discouraging the very acts necessary to achieve the American Dream." ( Republican Party platform)

In 2006-2010, 13.8 percent of Americans lived below the poverty level. (U.S. Census QuickFacts)

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