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Mary Mayhew

The Past and Future of Maine's Anti-Poverty Efforts

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it can not save the few who are rich."

Fifty years ago today, President John F. Kennedy spoke those words in his inaugural address.

Understanding the moral and economic value to us all in lifting people out of poverty, some of the nation's and Maine's greatest achievements in public policy have been in fighting poverty: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Maine Equal Justice does an excellent job of explaining the programs where the state has a major role to play.

It should be no surprise that – because the programs are designed that way – use of income supports and medical assistance by Maine families has increased since the global economic collapse 2 years ago. And directly or indirectly, we all benefit when our neighbors have the resources to participate in the economy and when they have access to treatment that prevents illness. Read more »