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November 19th, 2012
11:50 AM ET

Poverty and the fiscal cliff: Los Angeles Mayor Villlaraigosa on new report showing strong economy is key to ending poverty

New numbers from the Census Bureau show that in 2011 just over 16% of Americans - nearly 50 million people - were living below the poverty line.

But a new report from the "Half in Ten" Campaign, which aims to cut the U.S. poverty in half over the next decade, claims the answer to poverty goes hand in hand with solutions to fix our economy.

Los Angeles Democratic Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa, who will be presenting this report at an event in Washington D.C. today, explains why a solid economy is key to lifting Americans out of poverty.

Filed under: Poverty
April 20th, 2012
11:35 AM ET

Author Cornel West: Poverty is a matter of national security, needs accountability

A new book says poverty is not just a crisis we're experiencing in our country, but that we are dangerously close to cementing a permanent American catastrophe.

In 2010, 46 million Americans were living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census. That's an increase of nearly 9 million from three years prior.

Educator, philosopher and author Cornel West says now is the time to confront it, before it's too late. His new book, written with broadcaster Tavis Smiley, is "The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto." He explains to Soledad on "Starting Point" why there needs to be urgency to solve this crisis now.

In the clip below, West explains why poverty is an issue of national security that needs attention.

Filed under: Poverty
March 15th, 2012
11:49 AM ET

Smiley: We are a nation allowing women and children to fall into poverty faster than any other group

Broadcaster and author Tavis Smiley is on a crusade to fight poverty.

The statistics are startling: In 2010, 46.2 million Americans were living in poverty. That's an increase of 27% since 2006, and more than half are women.

This weekend, Smiley is hosting a discussion titled "Made Visible: Women, Children & Poverty in America" at New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. The show will be televised on "Tavis Smiley" on PBS starting March 28th and on C-SPAN in April.

It's aimed at discussing financial, social and economic disparities that women face. The discussion is also expected to make recommendations for what can be done to get women and children out of poverty.

"The worst thing you can do for poor people is to render them invisible," Smiley says on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien." "There's a bi-partisan consensus that poverty doesn't matter...that the poor don't count."

"Something has to be done on that," Smiley adds.

See clips from Soledad's interview with Smiley below.


Smiley: U.S. needs poverty manifesto

Author and broadcaster Tavis Smiley talks about the need to make poverty an important issue in the U.S.


Smiley on consequences of poverty in U.S.

Author and broadcaster Tavis Smiley explains how the U.S. would suffer if it ignores the poor.

Filed under: Poverty