Sunday, July 22, 2012

US poverty on track to rise to highest since 1960s

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

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.

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 level 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.

More here.

What do you get when you spend thirty years dismantling Great Society poverty programs and financial regulations? Why, you get a financial collapse that brings on a massive recession, a recession some economists are now referring to as a depression, followed by a massive uptick in poverty. Pretty simple. The article goes on to observe that 1965 is the year LBJ got those above mentioned Great Society programs passed, so this is, indeed, pretty significant.

Meanwhile we argue over whether Obama is a socialist and watch from the sidelines as Congress engages in eternal gridlock. This is shameful, and makes America look really really bad. Not to mention how shitty it is to be in poverty.