Daily Meme: What Recovery?

  • Yesterday, the Census Bureau released the latest data on our nation's poorest residents. The news wasn't reassuring.
  • The U.S. poverty rate remained unchanged last year, stubbornly stuck at 15 percent.
  • Twenty-two percent of Americans under age 18 were living in poverty in 2012.
  • The gap between rich and poor households didn't budge in any statistically significant way either.
  • As for the gender wage gap, that stopped closing a decade ago.
  • Men working full-time, year-round are making less now than they did in 1973
  • Families are making less than they did in 1989.
  • Median incomes have gone down 8.3 percent since 2007.
  • State and local results will be released later in the week, but it's already clear that the West is faring the post-recession period the best.
  • Recent research shows that poverty's effects on a life reach further than we thought. "The effect of being poor and having to manage a hard financial problem is equivalent to the loss of 13 IQ points—comparable not only to the loss of a full night’s sleep but also to that of being a chronic alcoholic, or being 60 years old rather than 45."
  • Gross Domestic Product, however "is up 23 percent since 2000 — $3 trillion," which provies that "it takes more than a growing economy to lift the bottom half."
  • Our federal food stamps program also keeps 4 million people above the poverty line. House Republicans are moving to eradicate the program completely.
  • Low-income housing is growing more expensive even as wages stagnate, and people with steady jobs sometimes find it an impossible expense.
  • John Cassidy summed up the not so pretty picture painted by the data perhaps best: "Income stagnation can’t be wished away or inflated away: it’s a central and intractable fact of modern American life, and it provides the backdrop for almost everything that happens in Washington—the coming antics not excepted. Political polarization, posturing, and gridlock aren’t fun to watch. But in a country where a successful economic model has broken down, they are just what you’d expect to see."


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