The number of Americans at or near the federal poverty level is set to reach an all-time high in 2012, a point Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has used to bolster his election case against President Obama. Poverty has grown as high unemployment persists and wages remain stagnant, driving up income inequality and slowing down the nation’s economic recovery.
Those numbers under a Romney presidency would only get worse, according to Melissa Boteach, the director of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The plans backed by Romney and running mate Paul Ryan would make cuts to food assistance, poverty programs, and education, leaving millions of Americans at an even higher risk of poverty than they already are, Boteach’s analysis found:
31 million people—predominantly children, seniors, people with disabilities, and the working poor—will lose access to health insurance due to Medicaid cuts
46 million people could see their bare-bones nutrition aid (averaging $1.50 per person per meal) reduced to below what the Department of Agriculture considers minimally adequate OR 8 million to 10 million people could lose access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program altogether
Approximately 191,000 children could be kicked off Head Start, which helps provide at-risk preschoolers with the educational, health, nutrition, and family support services they need, in the next two years
More than 4 million children in low-income school districts could see their educational services reduced or eliminated in the next two years
The costs of special education for 1.26 million special-needs children would be shifted to states and school districts in the next two years
Safety net programs keep millions of Americans out of poverty each year, according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. But many of those programs, including food stamps and other assistance for low-income Americans could face cuts under the GOP budget plan Ryan authored and Romney supports.
At the same time, Romney has proposed plans that would provide massive tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.