On their way to poverty, accelerated by the economic disaster born in the Bush administration, Obama watched one third of Americans fall off the log and into the harsh sea of poverty. That is an American disaster of major consequence.
Yet, while they slid and are trying to hang on, Republicans somehow make the victims irrelevant, and worse, the villains.
There is no need for this circumstance, but it has been years in the making. The way forward is to correct our behavior so that we are not compounding the problems further as we have been.
Requirements to fix the problem include:
- Embracing the sustainable economics paradigm
Republican say that entitlements are unsustainable. That is the wrong approach. Entitlements are driven by people who have a necessity for assistance. The solution is to make some entitlement support unnecessary by improving economic opportunity for all Americans, especially the poor and middle class where there is a deficit.
Republicans talk about the debt and deficit, but the problem is opportunity deficit.
- A central component for sustainable living is energy strategy that is based upon renewable sources while eliminating the need for fossil fuels altogether.
These things are all connected, of course, but the present Congress that is led by Republicans doesn’t get it.
“One in three Americans slipped below the poverty line between 2009 and 2011
BY BRAD PLUMER
January 8 at 3:59 pm
How many people in the United States are poor? It's a surprisingly tricky question.
The "official" poverty rate was 15 percent in 2012. That number gives the impression that poverty is a bright line, that roughly one sixth of the country is poor and the rest are not poor. But that's a bit misleading. As a new report from the Census Bureau shows, a much, much larger subset of people slip in and out of poverty all the time.
For instance: Between 2009 and 2011, nearly one third of the country — 31.6 percent — fell below that official poverty line for at least two months. By contrast, only 3.5 percent of the U.S. population remained poor for that entire period. Both of those figures rose after the recession:
"A small fraction of people are in poverty for more than 1 year," writes Ashley Edwards, author of the census report, "while a larger percentage of people experience poverty for shorter time periods." In the years after the recession, the median length of time spent in poverty was 6.6 months.
The poverty rate we usually see quoted — the 15 percent figure — is the "annual poverty rate." That's calculated by "comparing the sum of monthly family income over the year to the sum of monthly poverty thresholds for the year." (The official poverty line is defined as $23,492 per year for a family of four.) So a family that had very little income for four months and then earned more money the remaining eight months might not count as poor for the year, even though they went through a significant period of hardship.”