Tuesday, November 05, 2013

poverty in america is mainstream


NYTimes | Few topics in American society have more myths and stereotypes surrounding them than poverty, misconceptions that distort both our politics and our domestic policy making. They include the notion that poverty affects a relatively small number of Americans, that the poor are impoverished for years at a time, that most of those in poverty live in inner cities, that too much welfare assistance is provided and that poverty is ultimately a result of not working hard enough. Although pervasive, each assumption is flat-out wrong.

Contrary to popular belief, the percentage of the population that directly encounters poverty is exceedingly high. My research indicates that nearly 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 60 will experience at least one year below the official poverty line during that period ($23,492 for a family of four), and 54 percent will spend a year in poverty or near poverty (below 150 percent of the poverty line).

Even more astounding, if we add in related conditions like welfare use, near-poverty and unemployment, four out of five Americans will encounter one or more of these events.

In addition, half of all American children will at some point during their childhood reside in a household that uses food stamps for a period of time.

Put simply, poverty is a mainstream event experienced by a majority of Americans. For most of us, the question is not whether we will experience poverty, but when.

3 comments:

makheru bradley said...

It’s important to remember, as the Rolling Stone article mentions, that the war on the poor begins with “Cigar Willie,” Bill Clinton’s welfare reform.

[In 1996, when Congress revised the separate welfare law, it also placed severe new restrictions on food stamps. Able-bodied adults who weren't raising children were limited to receiving food stamps for only three months out of three years if they weren't working at least 20 hours a week or participating in a job-training program. This grim rule applied no matter how hard they tried to find a job and even if they hadn't been able to get a slot in a training program.]

Both the Southerland amendment and the suggestions of the CATO Institute are ludicrous in this economy.

http://bit.ly/1hPWwsV

[While data on the very poor is limited and subject to challenge, recent studies have found that as many as one in every four low-income single mothers is jobless and without cash aid — roughly four million women and children. Just one in five poor children now receives cash aid, the lowest level in nearly 50 years.]

http://nyti.ms/1fmn3vy

Of course some powerless people are abusing the food stamp program. Just like powerful people on corporate welfare. The biggest hypocrites in the bunch are Congresspeople who voted to cut food stamps while receiving farm subsidies.

[Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.). His wife, Caroline Aderholt, is a 6.3 percent owner of McDonald Farms according to 2008 ownership records. McDonald Farms received $66,891 in direct payment farm subsidies in 2012.

Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.). He and his wife Lynn Fincher are each 50 percent partners in Stephen & Lynn Fincher Farms. They received a $70,574 direct payment farm subsidy in 2012.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calf.). He and his wife Jill LaMalfa are each 16.67 percent partners (combined share totals 33.33%) of DSL Lamalfa Family Partnership, which received $188,570 in direct payments for 2012.]-- Alternet

The Democratic controlled Senate also voted to cut $4 billion from food stamps over 10 years. At the end of the day Congress will agree on a number and food stamps will be cut by billions of dollars, but corporate welfare will keep on rolling.

makheru bradley said...

It’s important to remember, as the Rolling Stone article mentions, that the war on the poor begins with “Cigar Willie,” Bill Clinton’s welfare reform.

[In 1996, when Congress revised the separate welfare law, it also placed severe new restrictions on food stamps. Able-bodied adults who weren't raising children were limited to receiving food stamps for only three months out of three years if they weren't working at least 20 hours a week or participating in a job-training program. This grim rule applied no matter how hard they tried to find a job and even if they hadn't been able to get a slot in a training program.]

[While data on the very poor is limited and subject to challenge, recent studies have found that as many as one in every four low-income single mothers is jobless and without cash aid — roughly four million women and children. Just one in five poor children now receives cash aid, the lowest level in nearly 50 years.]-- NYT

Of course some powerless people are abusing the food stamp program. Just like powerful people on corporate welfare. The biggest hypocrites in the bunch are Congresspeople who voted to cut food stamps while receiving farm subsidies.

[Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.). His wife, Caroline Aderholt, is a 6.3 percent owner of McDonald Farms according to 2008 ownership records. McDonald Farms received $66,891 in direct payment farm subsidies in 2012.

Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.). He and his wife Lynn Fincher are each 50 percent partners in Stephen & Lynn Fincher Farms. They received a $70,574 direct payment farm subsidy in 2012.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calf.). He and his wife Jill LaMalfa are each 16.67 percent partners (combined share totals 33.33%) of DSL Lamalfa Family Partnership, which received $188,570 in direct payments for 2012.]-- Alternet

The Democratic controlled Senate also voted to cut $4 billion from food stamps over 10 years. At the end of the day Congress will agree on a number and food stamps will be cut by billions of dollars, but corporate welfare will keep on rolling.

CNu said...

Rolling Stone places the onus for 1996 reforms with congress. It must be remembered that cigar willie presided over a pair of bubbles that appeared to the non-critical world to be economic growth, so-much-so, that, jobs were relatively plentiful during that 8 year window.

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