The Supreme Court fight over the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is just the latest struggle in a battle over civil rights that stretches back more than a century in this country. It's a struggle marked with many victories, big and small — and many failures along the way, too.
As politicians negotiate how to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, Tavis Smiley says millions of Americans who are in poverty have already gone over the cliff. According to the radio and television host, the real economic focus should be over austerity and its effect on the poor.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan, independent research group that tracks money in campaigns and elections, Obama and Romney's spending, in conjunction with the nearly $1 billion spent by super PACs, will likely add up to $3 billion by the time the polls close today. What have the American people gained from the seventeen month, $3 billion campaign? Stephen Dubner, author and host of "Freakonomics," explains.
Throughout the 2012 presidential campaign, politicians have largely ignored poverty as an issue, so Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are hitting the road to expose the problems facing the American poor.
Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley have been outspoken critics of income inequality in America. The late aughts were shaped by the subprime mortgage crisis, subsequent stock market crash, international debt problems, and record levels of long-term unemployment. Between 2006 and 2010, there was a 27 percent increase of people living in poverty across the U.S. And despite signs of recovery, growth has been slow and decidedly uneven with Florida, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and California hovering at 12 percent or higher unemployment rates.
One in six Americans are poor, which means 50 million people are living in poverty in the United States. Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, hosts of PRI's "Smiley and West," went on "The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience," an 18-city tour of the United States in August, to speak with Americans living in poverty and get a sense of what it's like to be poor in America today. This week, PBS will air the first of five episodes of "The Poverty Tour."