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1 19th July 18:00
External User
Posts: 1
Default POVERTY- hits one million more Americans

But, with the rich receiving a $1.6 trillion
dollar tax cut from the Bush administration,

Poverty hits one million more Americans
by Steve Schifferes
BBC News Online economics reporter

The US economic slowdown has led to an
increase in the number of poor people in the
world's richest country for the first time in eight years.

New figures from the US Census Bureau
show that the poverty rate increased to
11.7% in 2001, compared with 11.3% in 2000.

The number of people in poverty
rose by 1.3 million to 32.9 million.

However, the number in poverty is
still below the levels of the 1980s,
when around 15% of the population
was officially defined as poor.

And the recession has cut into
the income of average Americans too.

Median household income
(50% above, 50% below)
declined by 2.2% to $42,228
(28,000) in 2001.

And inequality also increased.

Worse for blacks

And poverty for blacks and Hispanics is still at historic lows,
with 22.7% of black households and 21.4% of
Hispanic households below the poverty line.

That is still twice the rate for whites and Asian-Americans, however.

Other research by economists
at the Economic Policy Institute,
using a different data set,

suggests that these historic gains -
due mainly to more good jobs
becoming available for black and
Hispanic workers during the
long boom of the 1990s -

are in danger of being wiped out by the current slowdown.

They say that household income for
these families is falling fast as the
recession has led to higher

Policy dilemma

The rise in poverty is likely to create a
policy problem for legislators who will
soon be faced with the issue of whether
to renew the welfare reform legislation
passed in the l990s.

Under these plans,
which were eventually endorsed by
President Clinton against much
opposition in his own party,

poor people who received welfare
were time-limited to five years before
they lost any government support.

The idea was that they could retrain and find jobs,
becoming self-sufficient and no longer a burden
on the taxpayer.

While the economy boomed,
and jobs were easy to find,
even for welfare moms,
the plan seemed to work.

But now the growing poverty rate is bound
to raise questions about whether the strict
time limits are still appropriate.

The issue is now devolved to the states,
many of whom have introduced safeguards.

But, with the rich receiving a $1.6 trillion
dollar tax cut from the Bush administration,

Democrats are likely to raise questions
as to whether the government could
afford to be a little more generous
to the poor.

Democrats said the data supported their
contention that Congress should increase
spending on social welfare programs,
resisted by many Republicans.

But Wade F. Horn, President Bush's welfare director,
said the number of poor children was much lower than in 1996,
when Congress overhauled the welfare law.

A family of four was classified as poor if
it had cash income less than $18,104 last year.

The official poverty levels,
updated each year to reflect changes
in the Consumer Price Index,

were $14,128 for a family of three,
$11,569 for a married couple and
$9,039 for an individual.
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2 20th July 03:54
External User
Posts: 1
Default POVERTY- hits one million more Americans

why do they lump whites and asian-americans together?

the poverty rate for whites is much higher than asian americans. whit
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