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PBS Host Tavis Smiley Wants End To Poverty In 25 Years

IU Alum Tavis Smiley in Indianapolis at poverty panel.

Tuesday marked the first tour stop for a discussion called ‘The Poverty Tour’. Panelists including a national TV host and Indiana University alumnus.

Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs Dean John Graham pointed to solutions for the income disparity which leads many people into poverty. Graham says one way the state of Indiana can improve the situation for those in need is to expand Medicaid coverage.

"Medicaid is a critical safety net program for low income Americans, but it's growing so fast and the expenditures are growing that we need to find ways to deliver in more cost effective ways so we can get rid of some of the waste and keep the Medicaid program growing," Graham says.

PBS host and IU alum Tavis Smiley wants to see a national plan to cut poverty in half within ten years and eradicate it completely in 25 years.

"Poverty is threatening our great democracy it's now a matter of national security," Smiley says. "One out of two Americans is either in or near poverty, so you're either in poverty or low income. That's 150 million people," he says. "We can either have wealth concentrated in a few people or we can have a democracy we can't have both," adds Smiley.

The tour will make another stop on Friday at Butler University.

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