The New Poverty Numbers

We learn today officially what was obvious anyway, thanks to the recession poverty spiked up last year. Obviously that fact reflects poorly on the Obama administration, but the reality is that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act kept at least six million people out of poverty so it’s not like Obama’s been running around impoverishing folks. These calls to rescind stimulus money or freeze outlays at 2008 levels are calls to impoverish millions of Americans.

Melissa Boteach, my colleague who focuses on poverty issues, points out that congress has the opportunity to act before things get even worse:

In just two weeks a job-creation engine known as the TANF Emergency Fund will expire, forcing states to begin shutting down successful partnerships with the private sector that have already created nearly a quarter-million jobs for low-income families. Congress must act before September 30 to extend the TANF Emergency Fund for another year and allow this innovative jobs program to continue.

Unfortunately, congress is typically more interested in the tax burden of millionaires than in the welfare of the poor and near-poor.