February 18, 2006

ANOTHER WAR WON:

Report on Impact of Federal Benefits on Curbing Poverty Reignites a Debate (ERIK ECKHOLM, 2/18/06, NY Times)

A brief report this week from the Census Bureau, highlighting how welfare programs and tax credits affect incomes among the poor, has fanned the politically charged debate on poverty in the United States and how best to measure it, with conservatives offering praise and liberals saying it underplays the extent of deprivation.

The report, "The Effects of Government Taxes and Transfers on Income and Poverty: 2004," found that when noncash benefits like food stamps and housing subsidies were considered, as well as tax credits given to low-income workers, the share of Americans living under the poverty line last year was 8.3 percent.

This is well below the 12.7 percent of Americans that the government officially says lived below the poverty line in 2004, using the conventional methodology that only counts a family's cash income.

Conservatives have long maintained that poverty levels are overstated, and the new report was hailed by Douglas Besharov, an expert on social policy at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group in Washington, as a much needed corrective. Mr. Besharov issued a news release saying, "The new data show that real progress against poverty has been made in the last 40 years."


And given the number of unfilled jobs we have and the massive importation of foreign workers the economy has required, you pretty much have to want to live in poverty if you're still there.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 18, 2006 8:27 AM
Comments

Just recently we have come across a number of seniors who have healthy adult children living with them and sponging off them even for pocket money. Ages ranging from the twenties to the fifties. In one case, it's a 19 year old granddaughter who graduated from high school last year and spends her time surfing the net and the ocean waves, clubbing with her friends, driving grandpa's car without a twinge of conscience.

None are making an effort to find a job and all are causing problems for the old folks whose income and nerves are being strained. A couple of the seniors have found part time jobs to augment their incomes so as to make up for the new expenses of permanent live-in guests. Yet none are willing to toss their kids out on the street even if those kids are fast approaching senior status themselves.

Posted by: erp at February 18, 2006 12:46 PM

mendez's law: as you sew, shall you reap.

Posted by: toe at February 18, 2006 3:04 PM
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