Social Work In This Political Season:
So Much On The Line
With the Republican and Democratic National Conventions behind us, the political season is in full force. Whether we experience this with excitement or dread, what happens on Tuesday, November 6th will be decisive in terms of the direction the country heads in, for a long period of time.
So much of the political debate is directly related to social work. When candidates for President, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives are talking about cutting taxes or reducing government oversight of financial institutions, we must consider the viability of our economy for lower income communities and the capacity of social programs.
Social workers should be very concerned about these elections, starting with the Presidency. Incredibly, regulations now prohibit membership organizations such as NASW from publicly announcing their endorsements for federal office to the public. To comply with this requirement, NASW must restrict access to this information by placing it on a members’ only page on its website. For any member who wishes to access the National NASW endorsement page, please click here.
All social workers, however, are invited to view the endorsements made by NASW-NYC’s political action committee, PACE (Political Action for Candidate Election) by clicking here.
Issues such as reproductive rights and women’s health; health care, including Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act; gay marriage; as well as Social Security are all on the line with this election.
This issue of the newsletter will touch on a few issues. In the lead article Gary Parker discusses the relationship between social work values, poverty and the election. In another article, Dr. Christiana Best Cummings discusses issues relating to immigration. Also included is information on how to make sure you are registered to vote, and if not, how to do so. With so much on the line, please encourage your clients to register and to vote. And don’t forget to register and vote yourselves.
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Social Work Values and the Presidency
Gary Parker, MSW, Deputy Director, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
The upcoming election boils down to a simple question: Does government get in the way of the well-being of its people thereby creating economic hardship and increased poverty, or should government intervene and provide supports that protect and assist those impacted by poverty? Some may say this is an oversimplification. However, this is the fundamental and ideological question that defines the two political parties and their respective candidates for President of the United States. The voters will decide the answer and it will have a direct impact on social workers across the country.
The social policies and programs that have been implemented starting as far back as the Great Depression are coming under fire by ideologues who believe that the economy has not improved because the government is providing services to poor and working class families.
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Christiana Best-Cummings, LMSW, PhD, Manager at NYC Administration for Children Services
As the country gears up for one of the most significant political battles -the 2012 presidential election, once again immigration reform has taken the spotlight away from the economy. While the national landscape has been enthralled with the slow economic recovery which originated with the 2008 financial crisis, the Republican debates brought attention to the immigration issue when Mitt Romney, the leading Republican candidate shared his immigration plan based in part on self-deportation. Recently, in the midst of the presidential campaign, with the national unemployment rate at 8.2 percent and the African American unemployment at 14.4 percent, President Obama shifted the public’s attention once again to the immigration issue by introducing The Deferred Action program.
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