New York Times on Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the poor:
Poverty in the United States is deeper than in all other wealthy nations. Yet neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has a specific anti-poverty agenda.
There have been notable improvements in three crucial measures of economic well-being: income, poverty and health insurance coverage. On Tuesday, the Census Bureau announced that all took a sharp turn for the better in 2015, the first time since 1999 that the three measures improved in the same year.
The question now is whether the new data will inspire a deeper discussion about how to keep making progress. According to the report, the official poverty rate fell from 14.8 percent in 2014, or 46.7 million people, to 13.5 percent in 2015, or 43.1 million people, the largest annual percentage-point drop since 1999.
Although Mrs. Clinton has talked more about families, women, children and working Americans than about the poor, there is much within her economic program that would help those in or near poverty. She supports raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour ($15 is a better goal) and would increase investment in Early Head Start and child care subsidies.
Some of Mrs. Clinton’s other proposals, like those on housing, have received less attention but could do a lot to help the poor. She would increase affordable housing by including more cities in the Obama-era project to rehabilitate housing in Detroit and other areas hard hit by the recession; strengthen the federal program for low-income housing vouchers; and increase tax incentives for new development of affordable rental housing.
Mr. Trump has said that more jobs will help cure poverty — which no one disagrees with. His promises to create jobs, however, are hollow. Historical evidence and economic analysis indicate that his agenda — less trade, less immigration and huge tax cuts for the wealthy — would harm job growth. Even his recent attempts at a middle-class agenda, including subsidies for child care, and paid maternity leave have been fatally flawed. The former skews toward high-income earners and the latter relies on states to come up with the money.
The failure to talk frankly about poverty is especially regrettable in light of this week’s Census Bureau report. As the figures show, we know what works. The path forward is clear.
The statistics give the candidates all the evidence they need to make the case to voters that anti-poverty policies work. Mrs. Clinton, to her credit, has ideas on how to improve the lives of the poor. Turning those ideas into law, however, will require broad support from the public and Congress. The time to start that campaign is now.
Miami Herald on presidential candidates’ medical records:
The squabble over Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia underlines the need for full medical disclosure by presidential candidates.
Ms. Clinton is 68 and Donald Trump is 70. That’s not a disqualifying age for someone who seeks the job these days. But the public has a right to know whether they have the stamina and physical fitness to withstand the challenging demands of the office they seek.
Ms. Clinton did wrong by failing to disclose last week that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia — and decided to plow through it, regardless. Secrecy seems to be her default position. In this instance, as in the email controversy, it has damaged her credibility and given her critics a cudgel to wield against her.
Whatever her reasons — "I just didn’t think it was going to be that big a deal," she told interviewer Anderson Cooper on Monday night — Ms. Clinton must surely realize that public doubts over her trustworthiness undermine her campaign. She should have learned by now that every time she tries to hide something, it seems to backfire.
But let’s also be clear that both Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump have failed to come clean about their health. If anything, Ms. Clinton has done a better job both in terms of her tax records — which she has released while Mr. Trump is hiding his — and health records.
She has released more medical information from her private physician, Dr. Lisa Bardack, than did Mr. Trump in a relatively short and unconvincing letter from his doctor. That valentine could have been written by Mr. Trump himself, boasting about his "strength and stamina."
That’s a far cry from the hundreds of pages released by Sen. John McCain in 2008 when he ran for president at age 72. President Ronald Reagan was 74 and equally open with the public when he held a candid discussion with reporters in 1985 about his scare with colon cancer.
Voters need to know if the presidential candidates are healthy enough to do the job, and they expect them to be forthcoming. It should be required disclosure for anyone who runs for president. If candidates don’t trust the public with this information, voters should not trust them with the responsibility of the presidency.