U.S. Poverty Weekly Update November 13, 2012

November 13, 2012

The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

—    President Barack Obama, November 6, 2012

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

Got Two minutes? Call Congress and Tell Them to Put Working Families First (November Action)

Congress returns to Washington, DC today to begin the Lame Duck session. Let’s give our members of Congress a warm welcome back to DC. Today, RESULTS is organizing a national call-in day to Congress urging lawmakers to protect the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). Expiring improvements to the EITC and CTC, along with potential cuts in deficit reduction efforts, put millions of children and families at risk of falling into poverty. These calls can really make an impact. What better way to put the EITC and CTC front and center with our elected officials than having them arrive in the office with a stack of messages about them. Join advocates from around the country by calling TODAY!

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and call your representative and both senators urging them to protect the EITC and CTC. See the RESULTS November Action for data on the number of families in your state who will be impacted if recent EITC and CTC improvements expire at the end of this year. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your House or Senate office. When the office answers, you can say:

My name is _________ and I am calling from ________________. I am calling in support of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which are critical in helping working parents support their families and stay out of poverty. I am very concerned that Congress will let much-needed improvements to the EITC and CTC expire at the end of this year, which will hurt ___________   low-income working families in our state. I am also concerned that Congress will cut the EITC and CTC as part of deficit reduction. I urge Sen./Rep. ___________ to work to make the expiring improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent and support a principle that specifically protects the EITC and CTC from cuts in any deficit reduction framework. Will you please give him/her that message?

You can download our Tax Credit Call-in flyer for more talking points for your calls. Please note: you’ll need to hang up and call the Capitol Switchboard for each call. If you do not know who your representative is, you can find out on the RESULTS Elected Officials page. And if you cannot call today, plan to call tomorrow.

Got Ten Minutes? Follow Up with People Who Came to the National Conference Call with Barbara Ehrenreich

Thanks to everyone who participated in Saturday’s RESULTS National Conference Call with author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich (see more about the call below). Because of Ms. Ehrenreich’s notoriety and experience, RESULTS used this call as an opportunity to do outreach in our communities to engage more people in our work to end poverty. Many of you held outreach events around the call, inviting new people to learn more about RESULTS and get involved. We thank you for doing so.

We want maintain the energy created by this call by encouraging new people to stay engaged. The best way to do that is to follow up with each person individually, thanking them for joining the call and providing them concrete ways to stay engaged. Just like the personal invitations you made the last few weeks helped you get people in the room, personal follow up with help keep them involved.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to follow up with people who attended the RESULTS National Conference Call with your local group this past weekend and people who expressed interest but could not make it. After thanking them, here are two actions you can urge them to take:

  1. Forward the Action Alert we sent out earlier today urging people to call their representatives and senators about the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Urge them to call today or later this week and make their voices heard. Note that the alert also includes information on how people can register for tomorrow’s RESULTS Introductory Call, which we also encourage you to highlight.
  2. Invite Them to Attend Your Next Local RESULTS Meeting. Make sure they know they next time and location of your local RESULTS group meets. Make sure to re-invite them closer to the meeting date as well.

Please do you follow-up as soon as possible. If you’d like to include other actions they can take, here are a few suggestions:

  • Invite Them to Join the New Activist Orientation Series. If you have new activists in your group and want to help them get up to speed on RESULTS, invite them to attend the next RESULTS New Activist Orientation. The two-call series provides a more in-depth overview of RESULTS. The next series begins November 28 at 9:00 pm ET, (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected].
  • Urge Them to Send an E-mail to Congress about the EITC and CTC. Send them our RESULTS’ online e-mail alert. Urge them to include information or personal insights from Saturday’s call in their e-mails.
  • Ask Them to Sign up for the RESULTS Action Network. Ask them to sign up for regular updates and action alerts from RESULTS at: http://capwiz.com/results/mlm/signup/.

Got Twenty Minutes? Call Tax Aides to Talk about the EITC and CTC (November Action)

In addition to joining our RESULTS Call-in Day today, we also urge you to take your advocacy a step further and call the tax aide to talk about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). Congressional aides in Washington, DC handle all the policy issues for members of Congress. They listen to constituents and then filter the information they get and present it to their bosses. These people are the gatekeepers and can be very powerful allies in our work. Getting to know these aides and presenting compelling stories and data to support your position can go a long way in making champions out of your members of Congress.

RESULTS volunteers have a long history of working with congressional aides on poverty issues. These relationships have proven fruitful and effective, even with offices that are not traditional allies of ours. You never know when that next fact or compelling story will connect with an aide until you try.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to call the tax aides in your House and both Senate offices, urging them to tell their bosses to make sure expiring improvements to the EITC and CTC are extended and that these credits are protected in deficit reduction. You can find the names of tax aides for your members of Congress on the RESULTS Elected Officials page.

Once connected, here are some talking points to help in your conversations (find more information in the November Action):

  • Parents who work full-time should be able to support their families and stay out of poverty. In 2010, the EITC and CTC lifted 9.2 million people out of poverty, more than half of them children.
  • The EITC and CTC go to people like firefighters, police officers and sheriffs, nurses, child care workers, and military personnel.
  • Recent improvements to the EITC and CTC will expire at the end of this year. This will impact thousands of families and children in your state, essentially raising taxes on families that can least afford it (find the impact for your state data in the November Action).
  • Congress must also protect the EITC and CTC in deficit reduction negotiations.
  • Urge the aide to ask his/her boss to speak to Senate (Sens. Reid/McConnell) or House (Reps. Boehner/Pelosi) and urge them to mMake the expiring improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent and support a principle that specifically protects the EITC and CTC from cuts in any deficit reduction framework

If you have any questions or would like coaching before making your calls, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) on the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff.

Thank You to Barbara Ehrenreich, RESULTS Volunteers, and New Partners for a Great November Conference Call

We deeply thank author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich for taking time out of her busy schedule to speak on the November RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call. It was a great call, not only from the insights she shared based on her writing and experiences, but also in the turnout. We had more than 200 people on this month’s call, more than tripling our normal monthly attendance. We thank all of you for dialing in and for helping get new people on this important call.

Ms. Ehrenreich made some excellent points that will help inform and improve our advocacy going forward. She talked about how she never expected her book Nickel and Dimed, which was published in 2002, to still be relevant today. In fact, she said that compared to what low-income individuals and families experience today, those were the “good times.” She also said that it’s shameful how we denigrate people in poverty in this country. If the same insults that have become commonplace in American politics about people in poverty — they’re lazy, it’s their fault, they just want handouts — would spawn outrage if spoken about women or persons of color.

Ms. Ehrenreich also made an important observation about using the term “cycle of poverty” to describe how poverty persists from generation to generation. She made the point that poverty is not a cycle, but more a like a chute or slide. Once you fall in, you fall in deeper and faster, making much more difficult to get out. She also talked about how we have structures in place that keep people in poverty, such as employers using credit scores to screen applicants that inherently discriminates against folks who are having financial troubles, and the need to eliminate many of these barriers to self-sufficiency. Ms. Ehrenreich also spoke about her current work with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, which aims to raise awareness of poverty in the media.

We urge you to listen to the entire call to hear all the great information she shared with us, as well as the action items RESULTS staff provided. The following resources and others are available on our National Outreach Event page:

All in all, Ms. Ehrenreich provided a very sobering message about the state of poverty in America. Yet far from depressing, she provided an enthusiastic and supporting push to continue to push lawmakers and the media to make ending poverty a priority. We again are very grateful for her generosity of time and knowledge. We also thank all of you for joining the call and inviting others to participate in this exciting event. Let’s keep that momentum going in the coming weeks and months and truly make poverty history in our lifetime.

RESULTS Outreach Update; Join Tomorrow’s RESULTS Intro Call

In addition to last Saturday’s National Outreach Call, RESULTS has also been engaging in other outreach activities this month. Last week, RESULTS Senior Associate for U.S. Poverty Campaigns Jos Linn traveled to Kansas to spread the word about RESULTS. On Thursday, he did an outreach meeting with the great folks of the RESULTS Salina and Lindsborg groups. Then on Friday he did an advocacy presentation at the Kansas Head Start Association conference. Both meetings went very well and recruited new people to the RESULTS Action Network.

Over the weekend, RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson and RESULTS Global Senior Legislative Associate Allison Grossman traveled to the Sister Giant conference in Los Angeles organized by author and RESULTS Board member Marianne Williamson. RESULTS was the only advocacy organization to table at the event. That exposure led to 25 people joining our Action Network and/or expressing interest in getting involved with RESULTS.

TAKE ACTION: The quickest way to create the political will to end poverty is by reaching out and engaging new people in this work. The more voices speaking up, the more our elected leaders will have to listen. Do you part by inviting someone you know to an upcoming RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30-45 minute calls are perfect for people who want to learn more about RESULTS. It is an easy and fun way to get inspired. Invite someone to dial into one of our upcoming calls. The next calls are tomorrow, November 14 at 9:00 pm ET; Friday, November 30 at 1:00 pm ET; and Friday, December 14 at 1:00 pm ET. Simply register at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.

Also, if you’ve already done an Intro Call or have recently joined a RESULTS group in your area, we invite you to join the upcoming New Activist Orientation. This series provides a more in-depth overview of RESULTS and our work beyond the Intro Call. This series includes two calls, one on November 28 and the other on December 12, both at 9:00 pm ET (we will also repeat the first call on December 5 at 9:00 pm ET). To participate, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]

Quick News

Keep Sending Letters and Op-eds about Poverty. Congratulations to RESULTS volunteers around the country on their successful media outreach. In less than two months (early Sep. – early Nov.), RESULTS volunteers have gotten 11 letters to the editor and 3 op-eds published; the most recent being from RESULTS St. Louis volunteer Charles Kindleberger in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Use our online LTE alert to submit a letter urging Congress to invest in poverty reduction and oppose cuts to services that support low-income individuals and families.

Join the “Fiscal Showdown and Children” Webinar Tomorrow. Our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) is hosting another informative webinar this week about what to expect from Congress in the Lame Duck session and beyond. Decisions in Washington over the next few weeks and months could have a profound affect on millions of American families and children. Join this presentation to learn the latest and what you can do about it. The webinar is tomorrow, November 14 at 3:00 pm ET. Register today at the CHN website.

PBS’ Frontline to Highlight Child Poverty. Tonight’s episode of the PBS program Frontline will focus on what poverty means to children. From their website: “Frontline spent months following three young girls who are growing up against the backdrop of their families’ struggles against financial ruin. At a time when one in five American kids lives below the poverty line, Poor Kids is an is an intimate portrait of the economic crisis as it’s rarely seen, through the eyes of children.” Check the Frontline website for when it premiers in your area. And help ensure low-income children get a head start in life; take our online e-mail action in support of Head Start and child care services.

New Reports Undermine Arguments Against Tax Hikes. Several new reports have come to light the past several weeks that poke holes in the contention that increasing taxes on the wealthy is bad for the economy. First, a report by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, which was shelved after congressional Republicans complained about its tone and findings, showed that changes in tax rates for upper income Americans had little impact on economic growth. From the report: “The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment and productivity growth. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution.” This was followed by a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office which shows that increasing taxes on the wealthy would have a negligible 0.1 percent impact on U.S. economic growth. President Obama is pushing Congress to allow the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent to expire, while Republicans have opposed this claiming it would hurt the economy. RESULTS supports a balanced approach to deficit reduction that protects services that reduce poverty and allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire.

Fundraising News

Please help us spread the word about our exciting fundraising events coming up in next month! On December 2, RESULTS Austin hosts author Julie Clawson at their local fundraiser. If you know people in the Austin area, please have them contact Anne Child ([email protected]) for more details. On December 5, RESULTS Olympia is throwing a house party with Dr. Laura Hart speaking. For more details, contact Nancy Curtiss at (360) 463-3656. If you’re interested in hosting a fundraising event, please contact your fundraising coaches Cindy Levin ([email protected]) or Beth Wilson ([email protected]).

Can you or your group do an online fundraiser before the end of the year? You could participate in a 5K Turkey Trot or Jingle Bell Run this year and raise money for RESULTS by asking friends to sponsor you using our Race to End Poverty online fundraising site. Or, if you have a birthday or other celebration coming up and want to have gifts go to the effort to end poverty, use our RESULTS Celebrations site to help people honor you with a gift to RESULTS. You can register right online to start fundraising today! If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Cindy Levin ([email protected]).

RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Congressional Recesses: (these are target dates and subject to change) House: December 14, 2012 – January 2, 2013; Senate December ?, 2012 – January 2, 2013. Request face-to-face meetings.

Tuesday, November 13: Congress begins Lame Duck session in Washington, DC.

Tuesday, November 13: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587# (RESULTS#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Wednesday, November 14: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Wednesday, November 14: RESULTS Montana Informational Call, 8:00 pm MT. (218) 486-1611, passcode 2883622#. For more details, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Thursday and Friday, November 22 and 23: All RESULTS offices closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday, November 28: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the first call of a two-call series; the second call is December 12).

Wednesday, December 5: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the first call of a two-call series; the second call is December 12).

Tuesday, December 11: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587# (RESULTS#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Wednesday, December 12: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the second call of the two-call series).

Tuesday, December 25 – Tuesday, January 1: All RESULTS offices closed for the end of year holidays.

RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via email to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our U.S. poverty campaigns.

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