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A hand up is not a handout

In her latest column appearing in the New York Times, AFT President Randi Weingarten urges lawmakers to strengthen the rungs on America's ladder of opportunity.

She lays out an array of programs that many elected officials love to hate—including unemployment insurance, food stamps, Medicaid, pre-K education, the minimum wage, paid sick leave and retirement benefits—and makes the case for why they are a benefit to individuals, their families and our communities.

"The shifts in our economy have shown how easy it is to fall into poverty and how hard it is to climb out," Weingarten writes. "But this decline is not inevitable and it is not irreversible." The policies mentioned above, along with a strong labor movement, "should be strengthened, not destroyed."

Read the full column.