Obama’s Economy: Nearly Half Of Americans Are In Poverty Or Low Income
There’s no doubt that the economy stinks. The job market is contracting, and wages aren’t growing. That being said, in a nation were millions of iPads and smart phones and satellite television subscriptions are sold every month, I find it hard to believe that nearly 1 in 2 Americans are truly poor.
For most of us, poverty evokes thoughts of homeless bums sifting through trash to find a meal, or a single mom just barely managing to nourish his kids. It may surprise you that, using government definitions, you could be sitting at home reading this post on your laptop courtesy of your wireless internet connection while watching MSNBC on your flat screen television and still be considered “poor.”
I think this has more to do with the government defining “poverty” down than anything else.
WASHINGTON – Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.
The latest census data depict a middle class that’s shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government’s safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.
Much has been made of rising food stamps enrollment, but what often goes unmentioned is that in 2006 the federal government expanded the program thus making more people eligible for it. Not surprisingly, that resulted in more people signing up. Keep that in mind as you read the predictable call for expanded government safety nets in response to this news:
“Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too ‘rich’ to qualify,” said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.
“The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal,” he said. “If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years.”
They define poverty down, and expand social programs, and when more people end up on those programs they use the increased enrollment as justification to expand the programs again. It’s a vicious cycle, and comes at the expense of productive, tax-paying citizens.
Again, the economy is clearly awful, and expanding the welfare state only exacerbates the problem.Tags: Economy, entitlements, jobs, social programs, welfare state