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What matters now. A publication from Medium about politics, power, and culture.

Poverty

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When Americans are born on third base and think they hit a triple.

I’m in line at the Target pharmacy watching a woman edge a baby stroller back and forth. Lena, the pharmacy tech, tilts her screen toward the woman and points. The information hits hard. The woman’s hands fly everywhere and nowhere, snapped masts with torn sails. I watch as she cycles the stages of grief: This is a mistake. Fix it! Is there a generic? A coupon? Please. She leaves empty-handed.

Lena tells me the baby’s medicine was too expensive, even with the woman’s insurance. …


UN human rights expert Philip Alston breaks down why we’re failing to meet the goal of ending global poverty by 2030

A photo of a homeless person on the street against a blue background with grey spray paint effect.
A photo of a homeless person on the street against a blue background with grey spray paint effect.
Photo illustration; Image source: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

The world is losing its war on poverty. A new report by Philip Alston, the outgoing UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, says that politicians and philanthropists who boast of an impending victory over poverty are in fact relying on the World Bank’s flawed poverty line, and thus aren’t giving us a real sense of our global impoverishment. In reality, Alston says, the UN’s member countries are not on track to meet their goal of ending poverty by 2030, and climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic are sure to make matters even worse. Alston also denounced the…


Politicians like to say the coronavirus does not discriminate. But we now know that’s simply not true.

EMTs bring a patient into Wyckoff Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, on April 6, 2020. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/Getty Images

There’s a particularly obnoxious genre of platitude that’s become standard since the Covid-19 outbreak: The political call for unity. In his first coronavirus address, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said that the virus “will not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender, or zip code. It will touch people in positions of power and the most vulnerable in our society.” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo referred to it as the “great equalizer.”

As well-meaning as these statements may be, they’re not true. While the intent of those appeals for unity is to bind us together by the shared experience of…

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What matters now. A publication from Medium about politics, power, and culture.

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