The New Democrat Online

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

U.S. Poverty at 30-Year High: What does this mean and what can we do about it

46M people live in poverty in America and thats just the official figure. Its probably closer to 60M americans who live in poverty in America. People in poverty are always at risk, especially when the economy is bad take now as an example. Because even if Low Income people go back to school or further their education or get retrained. Or a combination of these things, even with the additional skills, they are going to have a hard time finding a good job. That can support themselves and their families and get them out of poverty. Because employers aren't going to hire as much with less revenue to operate in a bad economy. If anything employers are looking to cut back their workforce when economic times are tough. So to move the Poverty Rate down, that means having a strong economy. Thats growing at around 4-5% and creating around 200K jobs a month and we are no where near that right now. We are growing at a dismal 1% in the economy and we didn't create one damn job net in August. The other thing that we need to have a strong economy. If for Low Income people, workers and non workers to be able to go back to school and further their education. Finishing High School and going on to a Community College to get the education that they need to get a good job. That can support themselves and their families and move out of poverty. This is the situation we had in the 1990's when we had record low levels of poverty in America. At around 13% officially because by 1995 we had a booming economy with high Economic Growth with an Unemployment Rate of 4.5% by 2000. We also had a different approach to the "War on Poverty" with the 1996 Welfare to Work Law. That was about education and work as well as Time Limits. As well as Temporary Financial Assistance.

To get the official Poverty Rate back down to 13% or 10% or even lower, we have to get the economy going again. Where we are growing at around 4-5% or higher and creating 200K plus jobs each month. And then build on what we were doing in the 1990s by not only empowering people on Welfare Insurance. To get a good education and get themselves the skills that they need to get a good job. That again can support themselves and their families. But can also move themselves and their families out of poverty. But where we are also encouraging Low Income workers to further their education by going back to school or furthering their education. Or get additional training at their job so they can move up in their company. As well as empowering Unemployed Workers to further their education while on Unemployment Insurance. As well as subsidizing their employment that they don't get paid for to work at, again while they are still collecting Unemployment Insurance. So they don't eventually fall into poverty because their Unemployment Insurance runs out.

Todays report on poverty is bad news for the country and the economy and just more evidence that we need to get our economy going again. Its also more evidence that we need to do more to empower Low Income people to get themselves out of poverty. So when the economy gets going again, they'll have the education and skills to benefit from the economy.