- A recent University of Chicago/Notre Dame paper by Bruce D. Meyer and James X. Sullivan, which looks at low-income families’ consumption rather than income, and accounts for the impact of anti-poverty programs found that:
- Poverty rates have declined steadily since the 1960s and 191970s, and dropped 12.5 percentage points since 1970.
- During the 1960s and 1970s, the tax code became friendlier to low-income families. Tax cuts for low-income Americans, combined with tax cuts for parents (the child tax credit) and the working poor (the Earned Income Tax Credit), accounted for a lot of the drop in poverty. In fact, the EITC pushed after-tax poverty down in the 1990s, and in 2011 kept 6 million out of poverty — including 3 million children.
- Programs like food stamps and unemployment insurance have made huge difference in reducing poverty rates since the launch of the war on poverty.
- These safety-net programs have helped reduce the percentage of Americans living in poverty from 26 percent in 1967, to 16 percent in 2012.
- Without these safety-net programs, more Americans would be living in poverty today – 29 percent, compared to 27 percent in 1967.
- According to a study by the Agriculture Department, food stamps helped reduce the poverty rate by nearly 89 points during the recession.
- Livable Wages. Low-wage jobs keep incomes low. Half of all jobs in the U.S. now pay less than $35,000 per year. Many pay much less, leaving workers unable to afford food, shelter, transportation and medical care. Raising the minimum wage could lift 5 million out of poverty, and reduce the poverty rate for adults aged 18 to 64.
- Full Employment. Right now, there are three unemployed people competing for every job opening. Fighting for full employment must go hand-in-hand with fighting poverty. It will require major investment. But first, Democrats will to abandon complicity in prioritizing deficit reduction over job creation, and get over their fear of being labeled with “L Word.”
- Economic Growth. Full employment will require reviving economic growth, so that everyone who wants or needs a job can find one. Ending tax policies and trade agreements that make it easier for businesses and corporations to send jobs and money overseas might be a good place to start.
Good article except there is only one way to determine what is poverty:
Do people have everything they are entitled to by birth as a human right? If we were to use the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights as our "measuring stick," poverty in this country would be much worse than what the U.S. Census Bureau implies.
Wages and any benefits derived must be considered against actual "cost-of-living" factors as tracked by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics which gives us a much better indication of living standards than do the figures coming from the U.S. Census Bureau.
It is like the United States government operates like a crooked and corrupt employer keeping two sets of books: one for the IRS the other for stock-holders. Some of these employers keep a third set of books to show the union at contract time.
We need a Minimum Wage that is a real living wage based on all cost of living factors.
At election time, politicians talk a good line about "jobs, jobs, jobs;" but, for all the talk, millions remain unemployed.
We are going to need a Full Employment Act which would require the president and Congress to work together to attain and maintain full employment if we ever hope to have full employment in this country. The Full Employment Act of 1945 was an example of such legislation; we need to revive calls for such advanced legislation--- call it the "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" because unless we end these dirty wars killing our jobs just like they kill people we will never have the resources for the kind of massive government job programs required that will put everyone to work at real living wages.
Here in Minnesota Democrats have a super-majority. Progressives from all over the country should be demanding and insisting that this Democratic super-majority here in Minnesota passes real living wage Minimum Wage legislation tied directly to all cost-of-living factors, indexed to inflation with periodic increases to improve the livelihoods and standard of living for all working people.
Let's get very specif with articulating just what is required to solve our problems in a progressive manner.
We have had enough of this George Lakoff crap of properly framed progressive policy directives enabling these politicians to campaign on the promise of enacting living wages and then once elected they pull this "bait and switch" bullshit on us by legislating "increases" in the Minimum Wage which leave the Minimum Wage remaining a poverty wage.