Yet these voices believe that progressives should stop talking about poverty and start talking about “social inclusion.” What is social inclusion? In the words of its proponents: “Social inclusion is based on the belief that we all fare better when no one is left to fall too far behind and the economy works for everyone. Social inclusion simultaneously incorporates multiple dimensions of well-being. It is achieved when all have the opportunity and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social, and cultural activities which are considered the societal norm.” At an abstract level, the ideas behind social inclusion are important and our Poverty Task Force recognizes that progressives need to broaden their poverty focus beyond income to include a range of issues that keep people out of the social mainstream. It is somewhat baffling, however, to argue that progressives should scrap a poverty reduction goal altogether. Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown have committed the United Kingdom to a goal of ending child poverty by 2020 and halving it by 2010. They recognize how important it is to have a quantifiable end point in order to assess progress. They also talk about the need to address social exclusion. Since the United Kingdom finds no compelling reason to choose one approach over the other,why should American progressives? More importantly, although a social inclusion approach might work well in Europe, which has a long history of social democracy and class organizing, it is a highly problematic communications approach to adopt in an American setting. The time and money necessary to educate Americans about social inclusion—a term that even its proponents fail to define in a coherent and measurable way in their own documents—would be far better spent organizing people around a concrete goal of poverty reduction built on proven and pragmatic policy steps outlined by CAP and others. Replacing a word with thousands of years of moral meaning with a hopelessly vague and confusing term grounded in sociological theory and 1970s French social activism is neither sound strategy nor good public communications. 1. Equivocating on a core moral principle is the height of political weakness. Maybe I’m just an old-school Catholic, but where I come from the First Beatitude doesn’t start with, “Blessed are the socially excluded in spirit.” Preferential treatment of the poor is a time-honored progressive value. Our nation’s democratic and faith traditions—grounded in notions of essential human dignity and equal worth—require us to do more to serve and uplift the least fortunate among us.