Monday, January 13, 2014

Poverty is most prevalent among children -- they don't vote.

A half century after the Johnson administration created the War on Poverty, there is a report card from the Pew Research Center. By the best available indicator, the poverty rate "fell from about 26% in 1967 to 16% in 2012."
In 1966......four-in-ten (41.8%) of African-Americans were poor.......By 2012, poverty among African-Americans had fallen to 27.2% — still more than double the rate among whites (12.7%, 1.4 percentage points higher than in 1966).
For Hispanics, in 1972
22.8% lived below the poverty threshold. In 2012, the share of Hispanics in poverty had risen to 25.6%. But the U.S. Hispanic population has quintupled over that time.

At most, America’s poor receive $212 billion a year (in welfare). And almost half of this is available only to people who are working -- the refundable part of the Earned Income Tax Credit ($55 billion), the Child Tax Credit, and Supplemental Security Income ($43.7 billion). The only direct help available to the non-working poor and their families are food stamps ($75 billion), housing vouchers ($18 billion), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ($21 billion), for a total of $114 billion. Even $212 billion is the smallest direct payment to the poor, as a proportion of our total economy, than before the War on Poverty began. And Republicans on the Hill are trying to slash even these. Yet we still have a huge poor population in America, including 22 percent of our nation’s children, as well as a large and growing share of the middle class at risk of falling into poverty. It’s time to counter the baloney spewing forth from right-wing think tanks, and make the case for shared prosperity.
Robert Reich

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