Is government responsible for the poor?

caines | 3/15/2012, 5 a.m.

Does government have the responsibility to protect those that are the most vulnerable those who have fallen through the cracks of our society? They are the ones that command the least of our attention and efforts and are seemingly those to whom we should endear ourselves. They vote only occasionally if at all and by and large, they dont contribute to political campaigns. They rent rather than own a home and they do not own a business. And if they are employed they work a nine-to-five or midnight shift. A large percentage of them make up the ranks of the underemployed. So, yes, we are talking about all of those that dont live in the suburbs. And to the extent that our local government is made aware of their existence, the response is only to ameliorate their hardships. For example, government will help to fund a food bank here or a shelter there. But we forget the systems that are in place that maintain the cycle of urban instability, low-performing schools and bleak economic opportunities. If we were to judge our society by the manner in which we treat those that are the most susceptible to lifes unexpected events without providing real solutions, we would surely have cause to be ashamed. I believe that future generations will evaluate us not on how we responded to those that already have but how we responded to those who have not. There has to be another approach to the telling of this story a way in which the results showcase what has been provided to the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society and lack the wherewithal to actively participate in politics. Should government be held accountable for those that cant do for themselves, and if so how much? That is the test. Henry Crespo, Sr., is vice chairman of outreach for the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.