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One year later

MBJ Editorial

About a year ago, President Clinton visited the heart of the Mississippi Delta. The nation’s attention was focused on the notorious poverty and the people left behind in

the great economic prosperity of the New Economy. The attention lasted a day or two, then faded. The people remain.

In its Sept. 26th issue, The New York Times published an in-depth follow up to the President’s tour of impoverished pockets in the county – like Clarksdale and

East St. Louis, Ill., and rural Kentucky. Not surprisingly, the newspaper found few improvements in the lives of folks struggling to survive in these forgotten outposts of


At best, the President’s tour offered a number of dramatic photo ops. Little else has, or ever will, come from it, and most of us who see such poverty everyday know

that a handout from Washington (or Jackson, for that matter) will not change the deplorable economic conditions in our rural communities and urban neighborhoods.

What can be done to improve the situation is to foster entrepreneurship and educate people about the rewards of hard work, building a business and good ol’

free-market capitalism. This method, of course, is not easy and doesn’t provide our politicians their precious Kodak moments.

Ending poverty is one of the greatest challenges our society faces. The time has long since past when government could do anything about it. Ending poverty begins

when a person takes a chance and shops at an inner-city store, a business adopts a disadvantaged school or a successful professional takes the time to mentor a child.

The answer to poverty lies within each one of us.


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