Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Poverty Nearing 50-Year High In The U.S.
That was as good as it would get though. But the rate stayed in the 11% to 12% range until President Reagan took office in 1980. Once his "trickle-down" economics was instituted, the poverty rate again began to rise and was about 15% when Bush left office. It started another downward trend as President Clinton became president, and was slightly below 12% when he left office. Unfortunately, Clinton was followed by another believer in "trickle-down" economic theory -- President Bush. The poverty rate again began to climb, and when the recession hit began to rise precipitously.
By 2010, the poverty rate had climbed to 15.1% (and a record number of 46.2 million people in the U.S. were living in poverty). Soon, the newest poverty rate will be announced. If it rises just 0.1%, it will equal the poverty rate of 1965, making it the highest poverty rate this country has seen in 47 years. And most economists belief it will probably be closer to 15.7%, making it the highest rate in over 50 years.
And it's not going down anytime soon, as the economists predict it will stay at least this high for the next two and a half years (through the end of 2014). I think that's a rather optimistic prediction. It assumes there will be growing job creation and at least the current level of government help for hurting Americans, and if the Republicans maintain control of the House of Representatives, that is not likely. They will continue to demand cuts in social programs and they will continue to block any efforts President Obama proposes to create jobs (so they can give new tax cuts to the rich and the corporations).
We already know that half of Americans live within 150% of the official poverty level, meaning half of our population is in danger of slipping down below the poverty level. With unemployment benefits running out for many and most new jobs being minimum wage jobs, it is likely than many of these people will fall below the poverty line and the poverty rate will continue to rise. With the House Republicans being unwilling to help anyone but the rich, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that we will again see the disastrous poverty rate of 1959 again in the next few years.
This makes it very important to not only keep a Democrat in the White House, but to put many more Democrats in the House of Representatives also (and flip the House if possible).