Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Opinion Roundup; Southeast Lags in Rising from Poverty

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Opinion Roundup; Southeast Lags in Rising from Poverty

Article excerpt

Location, location, location, the real estate experts say.

That rule also applies to rising up the income ladder.

As a story in The New York Times explains, some areas of the country have better records with moving out of poverty than others.

The Southeast doesn't do well, even such progressive cities as Atlanta and Charlotte. The East Coast, the Great Plains and the West Coast do twice as well with residents moving up.

The rust belt cities of the Midwest are laggards, too.

If you're well off, it doesn't matter much where you live. You tend to stay there. But for people on the bottom rungs, it does matter, researchers say.

So what makes the difference?

- Integration. It helps when the poor are in mixed-income neighborhoods.

- Two-parent households. That gives children an advantage.

- Better schools. There is no greater advantage.

- More civic engagement. This includes membership in religious and community groups. They provide family support.

Why does this matter? In recent decades, the United States has not led the world in its share of people of poverty moving up. Other developed nations have done better, such as Canada, Australia and France.

But American cities such as Seattle, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City do as well as Norway. There are lessons here.

ANTI-SEMITISM DECLINES

Some good news on the brotherhood front. The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Florida declined by 20 percent from 2011 to 2012.

The annual report from the Anti-Defamation League recorded a total of 88 incidents of assault, vandalism or harassment compared to 111 in 2011.

This is part of a positive trend nationwide, the ADL reported.

Numbers do not convey the outrage, however. For instance, a swastika was etched onto a Holocaust survivor's car.

REFORMING OBAMACARE

Americans still have a love-hate relationship with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, called Obamacare.

Almost half of Americans without health insurance, 48 percent, say the law is a bad idea, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Democratic pollster Peter Hart blames the president for not adequately selling it. The president's defenders say that popularity will increase once the plan is implemented. On the contrary, several of the positive features already have been implemented and few of the penalties.

At the same time, more than half of Americans say Republicans should stop trying to block the plan. It's the law.

Employers are writing in The Wall Street Journal that Obamacare could actually cause workers to lose their health insurance because penalties may be significantly lower than premiums.

Also, the definition of full-time work as 30 hours causes more employers to push workers into part-time employment. Also, the dividing line of 50 employees could cause companies to slow hiring or push more workers into part-time hours. …

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