Hunger and Poverty Missing in the first Trump vs. Clinton Debate


Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World today decried the absence of any discussion of hunger or poverty during the first Clinton-Trump presidential debate.                                                 

The following statement can be attributed to Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World:

“Lester Holt started the debate with a question about economic inequality and the bottom 50 percent of the income distribution. He also focused the second segment on the racial divide in America. But nobody — not Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, not Lester Holt — mentioned hunger or poverty. Yet one in five U.S. children struggles with hunger, and 43 million Americans live below the poverty line. 

“Hillary Clinton’s answers to Holt’s question about the bottom 50 percent and the racial divide were more consistent with Bread for the World’s analyses than Trump’s answers. Bread for the World agrees that investing in people is a better economic growth strategy than tax cuts for corporations and wealthy people. We were pleased that Clinton specifically mentioned raising the minimum wage and pay equity for women. But we wish she had mentioned the importance of investing in low-income people too. Donald Trump expressed concern about the human costs of de-industrialization, but well-negotiated trade deals are not, by themselves, going to solve these problems.

“Trump’s solution to bridging the racial divide was law and order. Clinton, on the other hand, talked about strategies to reduce racial injustice and end systemic racism. She specifically called for steps to address racial discrimination in policing and the legal system.

“Clinton made a passing reference to what she did as Secretary of State to ‘open opportunity for people around the world.’ But that was as close as the debate came to any mention of all the people around the world who suffer from hunger, poverty, and disease. No one mentioned the hopeful fact that the world as a whole is making unprecedented progress against hunger, poverty, and disease. In all the talk about security, no one mentioned how economic opportunity for desperately poor people in poor countries contributes to global security.

“Since Donald Trump has given great prominence to his plans to deport millions of immigrants, that’s another issue that needs more attention in future debates.  His plan would cause hunger — or deepen hunger — for many, many families.

“Bread for the World’s members and partners ask our presidential candidates — and the moderator of the next debate — to give us more information and better answers to the question of what they would do to end hunger and reduce poverty in the United States and around the world.”

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