September 14, 2011

Progress, undone

New data from the US Census Bureau are showing about 15% of Americans live in poverty. That's about 47 million people.

What is "poverty"? The official definition for 2011 is a family income below $22,350 for a family of four.  That's less than half of the median household income, and the median ($50,000) is not too good.

But even worse than that, we're reaching new highs for those in "deep poverty" -- with family incomes below 50% of the poverty line. Here are the data:

 Does this look like a small number of people? Well,  7% of the US is almost 22 million people! They are living on an income for a family of four, below about $11,000.

Now look at the graph again, and see how all the progress we made under Clinton was lost under Geo. W. Bush. All of it. And things are getting worse.

If you don't think this is shameful and dangerous, there's something wrong with your world view.

Lew Jacobson