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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Understanding US Poverty in 2 minutes

This posting is a short read; clear and concise way to show rising US poverty:

Today the Census Bureau announced the number of people living in poverty has climbed from 14.3% last year to 15.1% of the total population of the US, or in simpler terms-- 46.2 million (1 in 6) Americans.

And yet unemployment has pretty much stayed at 9.1% for 2 years.

So what does that mean?

It means the official unemployment tally is a complete statistical distortion.  When you factor in under-employment, part-time workers really seeking full, those who've given up looking, etc-- in other words the U-6 factors that the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not tabulate in assessing unemployment, the real number is around 17% of Americans unemployed.

Now, here's the real eye-opener:

"The Census Bureau noted the impact of government safety-net programs on the poor.  It estimated that new unemployment benefits passed in 2009 -- which gave workers up to 99 weeks of payments after layoffs, and didn't run out for most people until this year -- lifted 3.2 million above the poverty line. Social Security kept about 20.3 million -- seniors as well as working-age adults receiving disability payments -- out of poverty.  If these programs are cut back in the future, poverty rates are likely to rise even more." (AP)

So let's look at the poverty figures again- if Social Security is completely gutted and destroyed like many many Republicans want, and if all long-term unemployed reached their 99 week threshold without any more extensions,  that's an additional 23.5 million Americans now officially impoverished.

If you added that figure of 23.5 million to the 46.2 million, that equals 69.7 million (more than 1 in 5) Americans who are either currently living in poverty or 1 missed government check away from being officially so.

With US economy based 70% on consumption/personal spending, it can not even begin to resuscitate itself, i.e. Real Recovery until those numbers drop

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