By Robert L. Fischer, Co-Director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, Case Western Reserve University and first published on theconversation.com.On July 12, President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers concluded that America’s long-running war on poverty “is largely over and a success.”I am a researcher who has studied poverty for nearly 20 years in Cleveland, a city with one of the country’s highest rates of poverty. While the council’s conclusion makes for a dramatic headline, it simply does not align with the reality of poverty in the U.S. today.What is poverty?The U.S. federal poverty line is set annually by the federal government, based on algorithms developed in the 1960s and adjusted for inflation.In 2018, the federal poverty line for a family of four in the contiguous U.S. is $25,100. It’s somewhat higher in Hawaii ($28,870) and Alaska ($31,380).However, the technical weaknesses of the federal poverty line are well known to researchers and those who work with populations in poverty. This measure considers only earned income, ignoring the costs of living for different family types, receipt of public benefits, as well as the value of assets, such as a home or car, held by families.Most references to poverty refer to either the poverty rate or the number of people in poverty. The poverty rate is essentially the percentage of all people or a subcategory who have income below the poverty line. This allows researchers to compare over time even as the U.S. population increases. For example, 12.7 percent of the U.S. population was in poverty in 2016. The rate has hovered around 12 to 15 percent since 1980.Other discussions reference the raw number of people in poverty. In 2016, 40.6 million people lived in poverty, up from approximately 25 million in 1980. The number of people in poverty gives a sense of the scale of the concern and helps to inform the design of relevant policies.Both of these indicators fluctuate with the economy. For example, the poverty population grew by 10 million during the 2007 to 2009 recession, equating to an increase of approximately 4 percent in the rate.The rates of poverty over time by age show that, while poverty among seniors has declined, child poverty and poverty among adults have changed little over the last 40 years. Today, the poverty rate among children is nearly double the rate experienced by seniors.The July report by the Council of Economic Advisers uses an alternate way of measuring poverty, based on households’ consumption of goods, to conclude that poverty has dramatically declined. Though this method may be useful for underpinning an argument for broader work requirements for the poor, the much more favorable picture it paints simply does not reconcile with the observed reality in the U.S. today.Deserving versus undeserving poorPolitical discussions about poverty often include underlying assumptions about whether those living in poverty are responsible for their own circumstances.One perspective identifies certain categories of poor as more deserving of assistance because they are victims of circumstance. These include children, widows, the disabled and workers who have lost a job. Other individuals who are perceived to have made bad choices – such as school dropouts, people with criminal backgrounds or drug users – may be less likely to receive sympathetic treatment in these discussions. The path to poverty is important, but likely shows that most individuals suffered earlier circumstances that contributed to the outcome.Among the working-age poor in the U.S. (ages 18 to 64), approximately 35 percent are not eligible to work, meaning they are disabled, a student or retired. Among the poor who are eligible to work, fully 63 percent do so.Earlier this year, lawmakers in the House proposed new work requirements for recipients of SNAP and Medicaid. But this ignores the reality that a large number of the poor who are eligible for benefits are children and would not be expected to work. Sixty-three percent of adults who are eligible for benefits can work and already do. The issue here is more so that these individuals cannot secure and retain full-time employment of a wage sufficient to lift their family from poverty.A culture of poverty?The circumstances of poverty limit the odds that someone can escape poverty. Individuals living in poverty or belonging to families in poverty often work but still have limited resources – in regard to employment, housing, health care, education and child care, just to name a few domains.If a family is surrounded by other households also struggling with poverty, this further exacerbates their circumstances. It’s akin to being a weak swimmer in a pool surrounded by other weak swimmers. The potential for assistance and benefit from those around you further limits your chances of success.Even the basic reality of family structure feeds into the consideration of poverty. Twenty-seven percent of female-headed households with no other adult live in poverty, dramatically higher than the 5 percent poverty rate of married couple families.Poverty exists in all areas of the country, but the population living in high-poverty neighborhoods has increased over time. Following the Great Recession, some 14 million people lived in extremely poor neighborhoods, more than twice as many as had done so in 2000. Some areas saw some dramatic growth in their poor populations living in high-poverty areas.Given the complexity of poverty as a civic issue, decision makers should understand the full range of evidence about the circumstances of the poor. This is especially important before undertaking a major change to the social safety net such as broad-based work requirements for those receiving non-cash assistance. Please enter your comment! Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development’s Robert L. Fischer refutes claim about poverty The Anatomy of Fear Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate Please enter your name here TAGStheconversation.comWar on poverty Previous articleCookies and Milk with a Cop tomorrow morningNext articleUber announces Phase II results of Central Florida mobility pilot program Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Reply You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here 1 COMMENT LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply […] against the claim that the “war on poverty” is over. Republished by Raw Story, Garn Press, Apopka Voice, Sojourners Magazine and […] Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter August 1, 2018 at 12:47 pm Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
RSF_en May 21, 2021 Find out more Organisation “We are doing this in order to renew our support for Russia’s journalists, bloggers and human rights defenders at a crucial moment for freedom of information in that country,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Twenty-eight journalists have been murdered in connection with their work since 2000. The fight against impunity for those who attack and kill journalists is unfortunately still absolutely essential. But, as cracks begin to appear in the Putin regime, monstrous new laws are placing civil society under permanent threat. The authorities now have a repressive legislative arsenal ready to be used when the time comes. “We have no desire to deny Russia the right to project the image of a proud, dynamic and modern country, but we must not be deceived by the universal consensus that surrounds Olympic events. The real events are not those that will be taking place on the ski slopes and, in this other struggle, Russian civil society has more need than ever of our help.“We are also launching this campaign because the challenge extends far beyond Russia’s borders. Russia is a regional model and Moscow’s voice reaches the international stage. Many governments are waiting to see the outcome of the battle under way in the world’s biggest country. Some, such as Azerbaijan, welcome the growing crackdown in Russia as a legitimation of their own repressive measures.” News With just under a year to go until the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, Reporters Without Borders activists gathered outside the Russian embassy in Paris today and unfurled a 70-metre-long banner showing the Olympic rings transformed into a bloody knuckleduster to draw attention to the impunity largely enjoyed by those who have attacked and killed journalists in Russia.Today’s demonstration marked the start of an international campaign that will continue until the opening of the Winter Olympics on 7 February 2014. News Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown RussiaEurope – Central Asia Help by sharing this information Listed as a “foreign agent”, Russia’s most popular independent website risks disappearing RussiaEurope – Central Asia June 2, 2021 Find out more Two Russian journalists persecuted for investigating police corruption Receive email alerts to go further March 1, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 RWB launches Sochi 2014 campaign News News Avalanche of repressive laws Ever since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency last May, the government has had a spate of repressive laws passed in order to prevent the growth of more freedom of information. At the same time that legislation on human rights NGOs and unauthorized demonstrations was made much harsher, defamation was reintroduced into the criminal code after being decriminalized in November 2011.In the name of “protecting minors,” a federal government agency has been given the job of compiling a blacklist of “pernicious” websites that can be blocked without reference to a court and without any right of defence.In recent months, the Duma has been working on draft laws that will serve as large-scale gagging tools. The scope of what is regarded as “high treason” and a “state secret” is to be vastly extended. Tools for circumventing online censorship are to be banned. “Offending the feelings of believers” is to be penalized drastically. The desire to control is plain to see. No “return to normal” for reporting in the Russian Caucasus Despite the Kremlin’s boasts and the now deafening silence from the international media, the situation in the Caucasus is unfortunately anything but “back to normal.” The relative stability imposed in Chechnya has been accompanied by a deathly silence based on fear of a police state and the fatigue of a population traumatized by war.The violence has just moved elsewhere and neighbouring republics such as Ingushetia, Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria have been corroded for the past decade by a latent, undeclared civil war in which an Islamist insurrection and human rights violations by the security forces feed on each other to the detriment of the civilian population caught in the crossfire. Enforced disappearances, bombings, extrajudicial executions and every kind of trafficking are all highly sensitive subjects for news providers. The list of murdered journalists continues to grow. To the well-known Anna Politkovskaya must be added Natalia Estemirova, Abdulmalik Akhmedilov, Khadzhimurad Kamalov and many others, whose killers are almost never caught.Read the Reporters Without Borders report on the state of freedom of information in the Russian Caucasus Persistent impunity More than a year after Khadzhimurad Kamalov, the influential founder of the independent weekly Chernovik, was murdered in Dagestan, the investigation has produced no results. Why is that? Why has the instigator of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder never been identified? Why have the violent attacks on Oleg Kashin and Mikhail Beketov never been solved, despite firm assurances by senior officials? This state of affairs just perpetuates the violence. At least two journalists were killed and 33 were physically attacked in connection with their work in 2012.On the same subject, read this September 2012 op-ed by Christophe Deloire on Huffington Post: “Prison bars cannot hold back the wind of freedom”. Follow the news on Russia May 5, 2021 Find out more
Television star Judson Mills (Walker, Texas Ranger, The X-Files) will star as the titular bodyguard Frank Farmer in the North American premiere of The Bodyguard, alongside previously announced Grammy nominee Deborah Cox as Rachel Marron. Performances of the musical adaptation are set to begin on November 25, for a limited run through January 1, 2017 at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse, prior to the official national tour opening at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, MN, on January 10.In addition to Mills and Cox, the cast of The Bodyguard will feature Alex Corrado as Tony Scibelli, Rachel’s personal security guard, Charles Gray as manager Bill Devaney, Jonathan Hadley as publicist Sy Spector, Jorge Paniagua as the Stalker, Jasmin Richardson as Rachel’s sister Nicki Marron and Douglas Baldeo and Kevelin B. Jones III alternating in the role of Rachel’s son Fletcher.The musical’s ensemble includes Arielle Campbell, Brendon Chan, Willie Dee, Jarid Faubel, Megan Elyse Fulmer, Emily Jenda, Alejandra Matos, Bradford Rahmlow, Benjamin Rivera, Sean Rozanski, Matthew Schmidt, Jaquez André Sims, Lauren Tanner and Naomi C. Walley.The Bodyguard musical is based on the Warner Bros. film written by Lawrence Kasdan, and features a book by Alexander Dinelaris, direction by Thea Sharrock and choreography by Karen Bruce. Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love. A romantic thriller, The Bodyguard features a host of classic songs, including “So Emotional,” “One Moment in Time,” “Saving All My Love,” “Run to You,” “I Have Nothing,” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” and one of the biggest selling songs of all time—“I Will Always Love You.”The creative team for The Bodyguard includes scenic design by Tim Hatley, lighting design by Mark Henderson, sound design by Richard Brooker and video design by Duncan McLean. View Comments Judson Mills