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Offlinegrib
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Poverty grips more in nation (United States)
    #3057124 - 08/27/04 09:32 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Poverty grips more in nation - By MICHAEL DOYLE BEE WASHINGTON BUREAU - Last Updated: August 27, 2004, 04:48:51 AM PDT

WASHINGTON -- The number of poor Americans grew by 1.3 million last year, according to a sobering and politically sensitive Census Bureau report issued Thursday.

The increase marks the third straight year the impoverished population has grown. An estimated 35.9 million U.S. residents were living in poverty in 2003, compared with 31.6 million at the advent of George W. Bush's presidency.

That increase, and a similarly steady rise in the number of Americans without health insurance, immediately cast the otherwise-dry Census Bureau statistics into the white heat of the presidential campaign.

"Today confirms the failure of President Bush's policies for all Americans," Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry declared while campaigning in Anoka, Minn. "While George Bush tries to convince America's families that we're turning the corner, slogans and empty rhetoric can't hide the real story."

While campaigning Thursday in New Mexico, President Bush avoided making specific reference to the latest poverty findings, citing instead more positive economic developments.

"Because we acted, the people of this country are working," Bush said, adding that "there's more work to be done."

For a family of four, the federal government pegs the annual income poverty threshold at $18,810. Last year, the new report estimated, 12.5 percent of Americans were considered poor. This was up from 12.1 percent the year before, though still lower than the poverty rates during parts of the 1980s and 1990s.

California's average poverty rate of 12.9 percent over the past three years was slightly above the national average.

More children suffering

Children are bearing a particularly heavy burden, as their poverty rate jumped last year to 17.6 percent from 16.7 percent. It exceeds that of adults and senior citizens. In some regions, there is a definite overlap between large families and high poverty.

"We know that most low-income households are people who are of child-rearing age, so these families will be disproportionately impacted," said Ken Patterson, director of the Stanislaus County Community Services Agency. "The bottom line is, it looks like there are more people who ? still require a good deal of help."

Among ethnic groups, poverty increased among Asian-Americans while remaining steady among Latinos and African-Americans.

Traditionally, the closely watched poverty figures are released in September, at a news conference convened in downtown Washington. The politically sensitive figures were released earlier than usual this year, at the Census Bureau's headquarters in the Washington suburbs.

Census Director Louis Kinkannon denied that the changes were intended to dampen media attention.

Numbers debated

Economists differ, though, in exactly what the poverty numbers mean and how they should best be calculated. The official poverty rate is based on a survey of 100,000 households nationwide, and the estimates released Thursday reflected the lingering effects of the recession that officially ended in November 2001.

"These are 2003 numbers," said Robert Rector, an analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation. "They don't necessarily represent what's going on this year, and we should expect to see poverty levels start to go down again."

That may not be true everywhere, though. In Stanislaus County, Patterson said, the number of food stamp recipients jumped 29 percent between June 2003 and June 2004. That suggests an increased level of need that wouldn't be reflected until next year's Census Bureau report.

Nearly 45 million people lacked health insurance nationwide, or 15.6 percent of the population. That was up from 43.5 million in 2002, when 15.2 percent of the population was without coverage.

"The big failure is not what is happening in the administration," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. "Individuals in the Senate have failed to adopt the president's health care plan."

The Latino poverty rate stayed roughly the same -- 22.5 percent, compared with 8.2 percent for whites. However, Latino workers also saw their average income decline by 2.6 percent. No other ethnic group showed similar income reductions.

Bee Washington Bureau reporter Michael Doyle can be reached at 202-383-0006 or mdoyle@mcclatchydc.com.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Poverty grips more in nation (United States) [Re: grib]
    #3057210 - 08/27/04 10:23 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

From http://www.townhall.com/columnists/alanreynolds/ar20040826.shtml --

"?I am writing this just before the release of last year's estimated poverty rate, but I have no doubt that this statistics will also be badly garbled by politicized reporting. The poverty rate probably rose a bit from 2002, yet nonetheless remained far below the 13.9 percent average from 1980 to 1998 and also lower than in any single year during that period. In 1998, for example, the poverty rate was 12.8 percent. Nothing but political bias can explain why last year's below-average poverty rate will soon be reported as if it was unusually awful. But I'm sure that is exactly what is about to happen.

"The quality of economic reporting in the United States is awful and getting worse. Perhaps some philanthropist should underwrite a few joint degree programs in economics and journalism."

-------------------------------------------------------

And of course, the Census Bureau's figures don't track poverty, they track annual income. If you choose (as I once did) to quit your six figure a year job, lock up your quarter million dollar house, hop in your luxury car and tool around the country for almost a year, your income drops to the point that by the Census Bureau's reckoning, you are poor.

Furthermore, it has been noted here before that the average American "poor" person as measured by the US Census Bureau method enjoys a higher economic standard of living than the average European. Not the average poor European, mind you -- the average European.

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: Poverty grips more in nation (United States) [Re: Phred]
    #3057371 - 08/27/04 11:34 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

So we're supposed to congratulate Bush on his superb economic stewardship because he didn't succeed in completely wiping out the gains of two Clinton terms in one term?  :rotfl:

According to Census figures, the poverty rate reached a peak in 1993.  It then began a decline that continued unabated for seven years until 2000, when it bottomed out and began to rise again.  It has continued to rise ever since, even after the official "end" of the recession and after Bush's voodoo tax cuts were supposed to lift everybody's boats through their trickle-down magic.

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty03.html (PDF file P60-226, page 9)

Of course, the Census Bureau's figures don't track poverty, they track annual income. If you choose (as I once did) to quit your six figure a year job, lock up your quarter million dollar house, hop in your luxury car and tool around the country for almost a year, your income drops to the point that by the Census Bureau's reckoning, you are poor.

Oh, yeah, that must be it!  Millions of rich people quit their jobs en masse and are tooling around the country in their luxury cars living off their savings!  You should try your hand at fiction, pinky.  Comic fiction.  :shake:


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: Poverty grips more in nation (United States) [Re: Phred]
    #3057417 - 08/27/04 11:46 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Not the average poor European, mind you -- the average European.





10 pts for any American who can work out why this is a very misleading statistic?


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: Poverty grips more in nation (United States) [Re: GazzBut]
    #3057471 - 08/27/04 11:58 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

GazzBut said:
Quote:

Not the average poor European, mind you -- the average European.





10 pts for any American who can work out why this is a very misleading statistic?




Well, for starters, it is a false statistic. The average per capita GNP of the European nations in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (i.e., not in raw dollar terms but in terms of what that money can buy when adjusted for local prices) is higher than the US Census poverty threshold.


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Poverty grips more in nation (United States) [Re: Phred]
    #3058667 - 08/27/04 04:59 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Not the average poor European, mind you -- the average European.

What on earth is an "average European"??? How utterly meaningless is that? It's like saying an "average resident of North or South America". At least try and narrow it down to a country.

Comparing to the UK, The US income threshold is $18,810, that works out at something like ?9-10,000. The average income in the UK is around ?20,000.


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Poverty grips more in nation (United States) [Re: EchoVortex]
    #3058674 - 08/27/04 05:01 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Oh, yeah, that must be it! Millions of rich people quit their jobs en masse and are tooling around the country in their luxury cars living off their savings! You should try your hand at fiction, pinky. Comic fiction.

:grin:


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OfflineJesusChrist
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Re: Poverty grips more in nation (United States) [Re: Phred]
    #3060028 - 08/27/04 11:29 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Could you direct me to the discussion backing up that last claim on Europeans? I am very interested to read it.

I do agree with you that the political spin is in full force.

In a recent book I read by Thomas Sowell, he pointed out the exact scenario you claimed about government statistics on poor people. They started out by defining poverty by being in the bottom 20% of the income distribution. They then tracked people in that range, and found that only 3% of the people stayed in that range over a decade. People do lift themselves out and fall into that range on a regular basis, and only around 3% are consistently mired in that demographic. I am reciting from memory, and I can't do justice to his brilliance like he would, but that was the main thrust.

The same thing is working on the other end. People sell homes that they have owned for multiple decades or cash in long held stock options in later years, and find themselves to be in the top percentages of wealth. If you bought a home in San Fransisco in 1950, you might have paid $20,000. Selling that home today might net you more than $500,000. You didn't just all at once make $480,000.00, but that is what the income demographics will say. People jump in and out of the top income brackets at the same rate as they do the lower ones.

I also have a Walter Willaims article in memory that I will try to find that speaks on this particular issue and puts it in a different light. I will search for it later.

On another note, Children have often made up a significant portion of the people in poverty. This makes it an emotional plea, and a very good one. But nobody ever dares to ask why this is the case. If people can't even take care of themselves, why in the hell are they having so many children and condemning them to a life in poverty? Can't afford health care? Having another child won't fix that. And those are the same people that reproduce at higher rates than the general population. Bringing a child into the world that you can't care for is the most irresponsible act that any person can do. I live in a neighborhood where babies are having babies at an extrodinary pace, and I can't see why anyone else is to blame but the mother.


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InvisibleLe_Canard
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Re: Poverty grips more in nation (United States) [Re: grib]
    #3060117 - 08/27/04 11:49 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Dubya LOVES the poor. That's why he's making as many as he can. :tongue:


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Poverty grips more in nation (United States) [Re: JesusChrist]
    #3060672 - 08/28/04 02:47 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I live in a neighborhood where babies are having babies at an extrodinary pace, and I can't see why anyone else is to blame but the mother.

How about the catholic church?


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
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Re: Poverty grips more in nation (United States) [Re: Xlea321]
    #3061132 - 08/28/04 06:45 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

So the Catholic Church is the one followed by all the poor mothers having babies?

Right.

The only ones to blame are the parents.


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You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: Poverty grips more in nation (United States) [Re: Xlea321]
    #3061215 - 08/28/04 08:26 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)


I live in a neighborhood where babies are having babies at an
extrodinary pace, and I can't see why anyone else is to blame but the
mother.


How about the catholic church?

I take it you are alluding to the Catholic Church's stance against
birth control. The Catholic Church also is against non-married
people having sex. Any practising Catholic couple that is having
a lot of kids is also married and probably somewhat stable. On top
of that, a lot of Catholics in America use birth control and
don't listen to the "no birth control rule".

From what I have seen with my own eyes, the vast majority of women
who are having excessive amounts of kids are single and poor. In my
high school, 25% of the girls in the grade ahead of me had kids or
were currently pregnant.


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OfflineEd1
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Re: Poverty grips more in nation (United States) [Re: grib]
    #3062829 - 08/28/04 07:29 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Blacks and hispanics make up most of the poor population in the USA. If you look at Latin America and Africa you might get the impression that they are genetically prone to being poor. They reproduce faster than the white population and yet make less money on average. Poor is relative. If you make enough to keep you happy then you aren't poor. The USA has the richest poor people on earth. I have enough money to take a 15 year vacation without being in debt, but if I quit working I would fall below the poverty line.


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