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Oh No! Poverty To Reach Highest Level Since 1983

From the Associated Press:

US Poverty On Track To Reach Highest Level Since The 1960s

By Hope Yen | Sunday, July 22, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.

Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the critical weeks ahead of the November elections.

You might think this would be bad news for Obama. But the AP is putting this information out in time for the upcoming debt ceiling debate.

Besides, the AP probably thinks this helps Obama anyway, since he is a champion of the poor. In fact, you could argue that Obama must love poor people, since he is making so many of them.

The Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest since 1965.

Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor. More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out. Suburbs are seeing increases in poverty, including in such political battlegrounds as Colorado, Florida and Nevada, where voters are coping with a new norm of living hand to mouth

The predictions for 2011 are based on separate AP interviews, supplemented with research on suburban poverty from Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution and an analysis of federal spending by the Congressional Research Service and Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute.

The analysts’ estimates suggest that some 47 million people in the U.S., or 1 in 6, were poor last year. An increase of one-tenth of a percentage point to 15.2 percent would tie the 1983 rate, the highest since 1965…

Which means that the AP’s headline is actually not true. It is the highest rate since 1983. But maybe they have to cite 1965, since there are people who are old enough to remember that 1983 wasn’t the end of the world, after all.

Demographers also say:

—Poverty will remain above the pre-recession level of 12.5 percent for many more years. Several predicted that peak poverty levels — 15 percent to 16 percent — will last at least until 2014, due to expiring unemployment benefits, a jobless rate persistently above 6 percent and weak wage growth…

—Part-time or underemployed workers, who saw a record 15 percent poverty in 2010, will rise to a new high…

So this is the ‘new normal.’ But apparently, the AP thinks we will re-elect Obama anyway. Just to make sure all of these poor people don’t suffer under a heartless Republican administration.

The 2010 poverty level was $22,314 for a family of four, and $11,139 for an individual, based on an official government calculation that includes only cash income, before tax deductions. It excludes capital gains or accumulated wealth, such as home ownership, as well as noncash aid such as food stamps and tax credits, which were expanded substantially under President Barack Obama’s stimulus package.

An additional 9 million people in 2010 would have been counted above the poverty line if food stamps and tax credits were taken into account

Few people advocate cuts in anti-poverty programs. Roughly 79 percent of Americans think the gap between rich and poor has grown in the past two decades, according to a Public Religion Research Institute/RNS Religion News survey from November 2011. The same poll found that about 67 percent oppose "cutting federal funding for social programs that help the poor" to help reduce the budget deficit

So the AP tips its hand as to why they did this article. All of this is to convince us that we cannot possibly consider cutting social spending in the debt ceiling debate.

And, of course, we have to reelect Obama.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, July 23rd, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Oh No! Poverty To Reach Highest Level Since 1983”

  1. Petronius says:

    Human nature requires hitting rock bottom before true change can happen. So far we have seen the destruction of real estate values, jobs, wages, pensions, the industrial base, Detroit, California, and the middle class. But things can always get worse. And so perhaps they must before the American idiocracy wakes up.

    At some point the growth in government welfare spending must stop. And it will stop in a very nasty manner. The first possibility is massive benefit cuts visited on the baby boomers in retirement. The second is astronomical tax increases that leave the young with little incentive to work and save. And the third is the government simply printing vast quantities of money to cover its bills.

    Most likely we will see some combination of all three responses with dramatic increases in poverty, taxes, interest rates, and consumer prices. This is an awful downhill road to follow, but it’s the one we are on. And bond traders will kick us miles down our road once they wake up and realize the U.S. is in worse fiscal shape than Greece.

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