Poverty may be less prevalent than it appears

  • Article by: EDITORIAL , Bloomberg News
  • Updated: September 23, 2012 - 5:50 PM

It all depends on what you count -- but in any case, government programs help.

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jbpaperSep. 23, 12 6:06 PM

We will never win the "war on poverty." I know this sounds odd but there is a lot of money in poverty. Look at the incomes of people that run charities and other organization that "fight" poverty and the number of employees they have. You also need to look at he number of gov't employees, and their wages, that deal with the poor. Throw in the paid activist, the landlords who own section 8 housing, the developers who get breaks for providing low income housing and you will see a lot of people making money off poverty.

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LiberalOne46Sep. 23, 12 6:39 PM

The EITC is heralded, but like most government give away programs, encourages the wrong behavior. It is awarded to citizens and non-citizens alike who are single and have children born in America. The more children the more money. So if you support single mothers having more kids, it works well. Get a part time job at McDonalds, make a few bucks and get a (relatively) big tax refund...and still qualify for food stamps, child care credit, cash aid, cash from a Minnesota EITC, etc.

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twspt7Sep. 23, 12 8:29 PM

"There is little doubt that the chasm between the top 1 percent and the 99 percenters is narrower than we have been led to believe. That shouldn't depress liberals or cheer conservatives: The inequality gap is closing because of government programs, not the stagnant incomes of the private sector" Are the economists in the study cited adding in all the benefits available to the middle class as well - the mortgage deduction, for instance, and company paid medical medical benefits - one wonders? And given the widely accepted fact that median income is lower than it was 10 years ago, one has to conclude that incomes - public and private - are stagnant for the middle and lower classes.

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jim2011beamSep. 23, 12 8:33 PM

It's nice to have a civil discussion of poverty, the 47%, etc. So let me add one thought: the Federal Reserve low interest rate policy is driving savers down toward poverty. This is especially true for seniors (a majority single women) and anyone trying to build an emergency fund for the next recession/depression brought about by government policy. Even new graduates saving for a car or a home are hurt. Earnings on the Social Security and Medicare trust funds are almost nonexistant. Have you heard any politician express concern about this or offer a solution? If so, vote for that person. (Hint: Ben Bernanke is still employed at the Fed only because Obama wants him there. Pay attention, savers! What does Romney have to say about this?)

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comment229Sep. 24, 12 5:19 AM

I find the talk about "poverty" to be hypocritical. Is there a poverty problem in the USA? Sure is.... Should reforms be put in place to reduce programs that actually support poverty? Yes, there should be that too, or a complete overhaul of the welfare AND unemployment programs. But why is this so hypocritical? Take a look at how much waste we have in the political campaigns, that give us misinformation, half truths, attacks ads, and general absurdity, and tell me we waste money on poverty. There are at least five amendments that need to be added to the Constitution of the USA to clean up politics in this country and also lessen poverty. Bet you can name those proposed amendments too. But not one candidate has the guts to propose these changes.

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savagedruidsSep. 24, 12 7:51 AM

Very good news. It would be very discouraging if all the handouts were not helping.

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hrearden57Sep. 24, 12 7:56 AM

47 million people on food stamps, 42 months of unemployment above 8%, $4.00 gas , trillion deficits. We are not better off.

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noslo55Sep. 24, 12 9:06 AM

The author claims that those receiving assistance is much better off because the receive stealth incomes. Then in the next paragraph he defuncts Romney's claim of dependency stating that these programs encourage people to work. I'm lost

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noslo55Sep. 24, 12 9:08 AM

The Author should also include people who are eligible for help, but do not seek it. I would tend to believe there are many people on SS who would be eligible for higher benefits but do not apply.

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hansobstSep. 24, 12 9:16 AM

We're still looking at one year's income only, and declaring that all these people live in poverty? We haven't come up with anything better, like actually looking at standards of living? Or maybe some people don't want to come up with anything better.

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