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Census: Number Of Poor Millions Higher

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The richest people in America just got a trillion dollar plus dollar hand job :thumbsd: ...wonder how many people that will add to the roles of the poor?! (as if they cared)




WASHINGTON – The number of poor people in the U.S. is millions higher than previously known, with 1 in 6 Americans — many of them 65 and older — struggling in poverty due to rising medical care and other costs, according to preliminary census figures released Wednesday.


At the same time, government aid programs such as tax credits and food stamps kept many people out of poverty, helping to ensure the poverty rate did not balloon even higher during the recession in 2009, President Barack Obama's first year in office.


Under a new revised census formula, overall poverty in 2009 stood at 15.7 percent, or 47.8 million people. That's compared to the official 2009 rate of 14.3 percent, or 43.6 million, that was reported by the Census Bureau last September.


Across all demographic groups, Americans 65 and older sustained the largest increases in poverty under the revised formula — nearly doubling to 16.1 percent. As a whole, working-age adults 18-64 also saw increases in poverty, as well as whites and Hispanics. Children, blacks and unmarried couples were less likely to be considered poor under the new measure.


Due to new adjustments for geographical variations in costs of living, people residing in the suburbs, the Northeast and West were the regions mostly likely to have poor people — nearly 1 in 5 in the West.


[Related: Suburbs are the new poverty hotspot]


The new measure will not replace the official poverty rate but will be published alongside the traditional figure this fall as a "supplement" for federal agencies and state governments to determine anti-poverty policies. Economists have long criticized the official poverty measure as inadequate because it only includes pretax cash income and does not account for medical, transportation and work expenses.


"Under the new measure, we can clearly see the effects of our government policies," said Kathleen Short, a Census Bureau research economist who calculated the revised poverty numbers. "When you're accounting for in-kind benefits and tax credits, you're bringing many people in extreme poverty off the very bottom."


The official measure is based on a 1955 cost of an emergency food diet and does not factor in other living costs. Nor does it consider non-cash government aid when calculating income, which surged higher in 2009 during the recession.


Short's analysis, published Wednesday as part of a series of census working papers on poverty, shows that out-of-pocket medical expenses had a significant impact in affecting the number of poor — without those costs, poverty would have dropped from 15.7 percent to 12.4 percent.


The effect was seen most notably among older Americans. Under the official poverty rate, about 8.9 percent lived in poverty, mostly because they benefit from Social Security cash payments. But when taking into account out-of-pocket medical expenses and other factors, that number rises to 16.1 percent.


[Read more: Elderly also in danger of mass poverty]


The numbers cited for 2009 are preliminary, but census officials say they offer a good representative look at the state of U.S. poverty and where the numbers are headed when new 2010 figures are released this fall.


Among the findings:


_Transportation, commuting and child care costs weigh on working-age Americans. The official poverty rate for those ages 18 to 64 is currently 12.9 percent, the highest since 1960s levels that launched the war on poverty. Under the revised formula, working-age poverty increases even higher, to 14.8 percent.


_Without the earned income tax credit, the poverty rate under the revised formula would jump from 15.7 percent to 17.7 percent. The absence of food stamps separately would increase the poverty rate to 17.2 percent.


_Taking into account millions of uninsured people in the U.S. had little effect in increasing poverty, mostly because those without insurance tend to forgo medical care rather than find ways to pay for it. Those with government-sponsored insurance generally saw decreases in poverty under the new formula, while those with employer-provided coverage saw increases. Still overall poverty for those with public insurance vs. employer insurance was higher, 31.1 percent compared to 7.2 percent.


_Under the revised formula, the West had the most people in poverty at 19.2 percent. It was followed by the South (16.1 percent), the Northeast (14.3 percent) and the Midwest (12.5 percent).


The supplemental figures could take on added significance at a time when many in the government point to an overhaul of Medicare and Social Security as the best hope for reducing the ballooning federal debt. With the potential to add more older Americans to the ranks of the poor, the numbers may underscore a need for continued — if not expanded — old-age benefits as a government safety net.

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It is abundantly clear that the government (nor the lobbyists that control it) give a rat's azz about the elderly or disabled.


Tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and can't afford a $250 stimulus check to make up for the fact that people surviving on forms of Social Security (retirement, supplemental, and disability) and folks who are disabled veterans as we did not get a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment in 2010 nor this year in 2011)


"They" would simply rather we all die and get off of the rolls so there is more money for these complete bogus war(s) on terror...that have no end in sight.


A few weeks ago my wife and I watched a politician that we both now have more respect for than any person in all of Washington DC. Any of you remember U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont leading an all-day filibuster on the floor of the U.S. Senate?


He is the only person who had the balls to bring this up about the recent tax bill that was recently signed into law.


My wife and I are hanging on by a thread and grasping it tightly...


Until then,




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Sanders Working To Filibuster Tax Deal

Listen (2:54)

Wednesday, 12/08/10 5:50pm and Thursday, 12/09/10 7:34am


Bob Kinzel - Montpelier, Vt.


.(Host) Senator Bernie Sanders says he's trying to put together an unusual coalition of senators to defeat a tax package backed by President Obama and many Congressional Republicans.


Sanders is appealing to liberal Democrats and very conservative Republicans to eliminate an extension of tax cuts for the wealthy.


VPR's Bob Kinzel reports.


(Kinzel) According to Mary Baumann of the U.S. Senate Historical Office, it's very unusual for a Vermont senator to lead the effort to filibuster a specific bill because she says Vermont senators have a long reputation of working behind the scenes to achieve their goals.


That's not the case with Senator Bernie Sanders and his determination to derail a tax agreement between President Obama and Congressional Republicans.


(Sanders) "Do I think we have a chance to defeat this proposal and then come up with a better one which makes sure that we do extend tax breaks to 98% of our population - everybody in the middle class - that we do make sure that 2 million unemployed workers get extended unemployment benefits? Do I think we have a shot at that? I do. Is it going to be a very tough fight? It surely will."


(Kinzel) During his Congressional career, Sanders has occasionally put together a coalition of members from the far left and the far right. He's now appealing to very conservative Republicans who are unhappy that the extension of the tax cuts for the wealthy doesn't have a funding source and would add 700 billion dollars to the national deficit over a ten year period:


(Sanders) "Our job now is to get a handful of Republican senators to join us and say ‘no'. With a $13 trillion national debt, when the gap between the very, very rich and everybody else is growing wider, it is totally absurd to give huge tax breaks to the very richest people in this country."


(Kinzel) For the last two years, Sanders has sharply criticized Senate Republican leaders for using the filibuster to block legislation because it means that 60 votes are needed to pass a controversial bill in the Senate.


Sanders is now threatening to use the filibuster to defeat this tax bill, but he says the circumstances are very different.


(Sanders) "Do I think it is inappropriate to take advantage of existing rules in order to protect the middle class and our kids? No I don't. Long term, do I think we need to have changes in the rules to make this institution less dysfunctional? I do believe that and that is something we're working on."


(Kinzel) Economist Dick Heaps says there's something for everyone to dislike in this tax package but he argues it's the best bill that has any chance of passing Congress this year.


Heaps says a much larger concern is the size of the national deficit.


(Heaps) "We have this deficit commission that issued a report that's an extremely serious thing that we need to begin to take some action on and we solved this short run problem. We can't all relax, pat ourselves on the back and go home.


(Kinzel) The Senate could hold its first vote on the tax cut package in the next few days.


For VPR News, I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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