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The Beginnings of an Urban Policy?

In his speech yesterday in Spartanburg, SC, Barack Obama outlined a vision for bolstering low income familes that balances new government aid with a call for parents to take greater responsibility for their children's fate.

Obama said the government has "gone AWOL" as working class families face new stresses from global competition, diminished union representation, stagnant wages, reduced pension benefits and rising health costs.

The presidential candidate called for:

>> a dramatic expansion of the earned-income tax credit
>> $50 million to provide transitional jobs doing community serve and training in employment skills
>> policies that provide greater rewards to fathers who support their children and penalities to those who do not
>> increased funding for child-support enforcement.

Obama emphasized the responsibility of parents to make sure their children get better educations so they can succeed. "It's going to take changes in habits and changes in attitudes," Obama told the crowd. "We need to work more, read more, train more and think more."

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