The latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that the number of Americans living in poverty swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans out of work.
Data have the power to make people act. The very shock-value of this statistic should be translated into action, and there should be a strategy behind this action. In other words, data should drive decision-making.
CA Fwd proposes a process for state and local government to make informed, proactive and strategic decisions to reduce poverty. We call this process Smart Government, and it is based on the simple premise that a better education leads to a better job, which in turn leads to better health, less poverty and less crime.
Instead of waiting for the Census Bureau to release its numbers, and then reacting to these numbers as though they existed in isolation from other outcome areas, Smart Government would review outcome data on a regular basis, and have a comprehensive program strategy to improve these outcomes.
In the Smart Government Framework, CA Fwd proposes that poverty rates aren’t the only outcomes that are measured and that our leaders are held accountable to, but also employment, education, health and crime, since what happens in one of these outcome areas has ramifications for the other outcomes.
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Richard Raya is policy director at CA Fwd