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The Almighty Buck United States

Economists: US Poverty On Track To Hit Highest Level Since 1960s 696

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-want-to-live-like-common-people dept.
First time accepted submitter eentory writes "According to economists and other experts surveyed by the Associated Press, the U.S. poverty rate is on track to hit its highest level since the 1960s. The consensus among those surveyed is that 'the official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent.' Just a 0.1 percent increase would put the poverty rate at its highest since 1965."
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Economists: US Poverty On Track To Hit Highest Level Since 1960s

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  • Relevant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2012 @10:45AM (#40736395)

    http://i.imgur.com/olQxJ.jpg [imgur.com]

    Says it all.

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:17AM (#40736811)

      Says it all.

      No, it doesn't say it all. It doesn't say that the poverty line is much higher today than in 1960, so implying that people are worse off is nonsense. It also doesn't say that our definition of "poverty" is silly: it only counts income, and ignores assets. I live in Silicon Valley in a nice neighborhood with a paid off mortgage, and my wife drives a snazzy BMW. I run my own company and usually make a solid six figure income. But in 2010, I had several employees in R&D mode, my net income was nearly zero, I fell below the poverty line. I actually qualified for some government handouts. That is seems absurd to me.

      • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:27AM (#40736931) Journal
        That is the institutional advantage richer people get. They can choose to take their income in many forms, defer it, hide it abroad, launder it through IRAs or partnerships, or insane insurance policies where the benefit is less than the premium. Poor sods who work for a living and get a W2, the government seems to go after them with vehemence. But their anger is very cleverly manipulated by the rich to get even more tax breaks for capital gains, retained interest, reciprocal tax treaties with foreign governments, etc etc.

        We must save the American capitalism from these capitalists. I think a U Chicago economist wrote a book with a similar title. "save capitalism from capitalists".

        • they are rent seeking parasites

          a capitalist wants a marketplace of equals competing (which is only maintained by health regulations)

          a rent seeking parasite will talk about capitalism a lot, but what they really want is their monopoly or oligopoly preserved. so any government regulation or taxation is evil and anti-capitalist... when of course, the monopoly or oligopoly whining about capitalism is the genuine anti-capitalist force

          the greatest enemy of capitalism is not "socialism" (the random bogeyman curse word that has no relevant meaning in the USA), it is anti-competitive practices by entrenched large players, including corrupting our government

          • by John Jorsett (171560) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:49AM (#40737195)

            a rent seeking parasite will talk about capitalism a lot, but what they really want's is their monopoly or oligopoly preserved. so any government regulation or taxation is evil and anti-capitalist

            That's nonsense. Rent-seekers ADORE government regulation. It puts smaller competitors at a disadvantage, erects barriers to entry, and if the rent-seeker is politically well-connected, lets the rent-seeker employ regulators as its personal enforcement arm against interlopers in its markets.

            • i agree, i just need to check to see you understand the options to this horrible status quo:

              1. no regulation. which means they dominate by fiat: they cheat in the market and squeeze the consumer and the smaller competitors

              2. proper regulation. which means a government uncorrupted by large corporations

              #2 is not easy. but #1 is clearly worse

              what drives me a little nuts is people who see large corporations corrupting the government, and they think the solution is to remove regulations and government, rather than removing the corruption. removing the government and regulations just makes the large corporation's abuse of the consumer and smaller competitors even easier!

              • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Monday July 23, 2012 @12:55PM (#40738131) Homepage Journal

                It's only "worse" if I accept your premises about what it means. We had a lot less regulation in the past than we do now, and entrepreneurial opportunities were much greater. It has recently been estimated by the Small Business Administration that small businesses pay over $10,000 per employee in regulatory costs alone. It costs a huge amount of money today to start even a modest business.

                You're also downplaying the "not easy" part of whatever regulation you're supporting as "proper" - and if it's anything close to the current regime, then "not easy" is downright impossible. And the reason for that is the costs for not playing the Lobby game become much higher than playing the Lobby game. These days, if you don't play, you automatically lose. That invites corruption, and it's almost impossible to rout out.

                Just look what Obama has done: to appear unbeholden to "lobbyists", he pledged not to accept donations from them. So the people that register as lobbyists don't get access. Instead, there are unregistered "bundlers" that do all the massive fundraising, and since they are not required to register, their activities are much less transparent.

            • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Monday July 23, 2012 @12:51PM (#40738065)

              Rent-seekers ADORE government regulation.

              Actually "Rent-seekers" ADORE government regulations that they themselves lobbied for which gives them an unfair advantage. "Rent-seekers" ABHOR government regulations that threaten to impede their self-interest. When they proclaim themselves to be libertarians and speak of abolishing government regulations, they are naturally only speaking about those pesky regulations that hurt their bottom line despite of the benefits that they bring to the community.

              I place "Rent-seekers" in quotations, since slashdot loves throwing stereotypes around like they are axioms.

          • by iluvcapra (782887) on Monday July 23, 2012 @12:28PM (#40737669)

            a rent seeking parasite will talk about capitalism a lot, but what they really want is their monopoly or oligopoly preserved.

            Never trust someone who says he "believes in capitalism" unless he's been bankrupt at least once.

            Rich people too easily to confuse capitalism with "everything that's making me rich at this moment." Everybody basically sees themselves as a good person, and as long as rich people are rich, they're going to generally believe that they "deserve" it on some kind of moral level, even though a political economy cannot be simultaneously free by a libertarian's definition and reward social virtue [wikipedia.org], the two are orthogonal. Most philosophers have recognized this for hundreds of years, which is why thoughtful free-marketers at least as far back as Adam Smith generally advocated progressive taxation and transfers, Friedrich Hayek believed in government health insurance, etc.

            The fact is, nobody really believes in capitalism in extremis, what they really fight for is the right to make money the way they remember their parents did, and to a lesser extent how they know previous generations did, based on prevailing historical narrative.

            This phenomenon is very similar to the fight over gay marriage: gay marriage opponents claim they're fighting for a sanctified, thousand-year-old tradition, when in fact they're really fighting for the institution as it existed, religiously and socially, circa 1975, [blogspot.com] around the time their parents were married.

        • by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday July 23, 2012 @12:36PM (#40737797) Homepage Journal

          That is the institutional advantage richer people get. They can choose to take their income in many forms, defer it, hide it abroad, launder it through IRAs or partnerships, or insane insurance policies where the benefit is less than the premium. Poor sods who work for a living and get a W2, the government seems to go after them with vehemence. But their anger is very cleverly manipulated by the rich to get even more tax breaks for capital gains, retained interest, reciprocal tax treaties with foreign governments, etc etc.

          We must save the American capitalism from these capitalists. I think a U Chicago economist wrote a book with a similar title. "save capitalism from capitalists".

          Well, as far as what the OP was talking about...most any US citizen can take advantage of these type things...it just takes knowledge and a bit of initiative.

          Anyone can incorporate themselves for a very small price...and use that to take advantage of tax write offs....you can use this vehicle alone to do some interesting things with your tax liability....and it is something open to any US citizen, you don't have to be wealthy....just have to have a bit of grey matter sitting on your shoulders, and use it with a bit of imagination.

      • But in 2010, I had several employees in R&D mode, my net income was nearly zero, I fell below the poverty line. I actually qualified for some government handouts. That is seems absurd to me.

        First of all, you were a rare edge case, so I don't think its "ridiculous" that you qualified for handouts. Your a really strange edge case if you're floating R&D people and your accountant told you not to pay yourself a salary at all for 2010. I think that if every person in America that was in your boat took advantage of the hand outs, its effect would be negligible. Secondly, lets say you continued to operate this way until you lost the house and car, wouldn't it be nice to know that you could just walk down to the benefits office and file for benefits.

      • by deadweight (681827) on Monday July 23, 2012 @12:32PM (#40737719)
        I call bullshit on this. First off, poverty level income would not allow you to pay your property taxes, eat, and keep a BMW running ( I had one, I should know). I can well see having CORPORATE income of 0 or less after expenses. Those expenses would include YOUR SALARY and likely the car too if your accountant is on the ball.
      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday July 23, 2012 @12:35PM (#40737777) Homepage

        It doesn't say that the poverty line is much higher today than in 1960, so implying that people are worse off is nonsense.

        The poverty line for a family of 4 people is approximately $22K / year. Here are some basic expenses for a city-dwelling family of 4, assuming no public assistance:
        Housing: 2-bedroom apartment - $850 / month * 12 months per year = $10,200
        Food: $2 per meal * 3 meals a day * 365 days a year * 4 people = $8,760
        Transportation: $2.50 bus fare * 4 bus rides per work day (assuming 2 working adults) * 20 work days per month * 12 months = $2400.00
        Utilities: $50 per month * 12 months = $600.00
        You now have about $100 left to pay for anything else you'd like for the next year, including clothing and health care. Yes, I'd rather be impoverished in 2010 than in 1910, but it's hardly a pleasant existence.

        I agree that not taking assets into account is silly, but the poverty line is not too high.

        • by StormyWeather (543593) on Monday July 23, 2012 @03:13PM (#40740153) Homepage

          Of course that doesn't (for your exact example) count the earned income credit 5,236, food stamps 8016 a year, free school lunches, and sometimes breakfasts for your kids, and section 8 housing which varies by locality, and money earned on the side by doing odd jobs.

          Yes I've been poor, capitalism is the only way out.

          No I'm not saying things need to be changed one way or another, just that you aren't showing the whole picture. I have two rent houses, one of them the good people living in meet poverty line threshold, and they both drive nicer cars than I do.

          Rent is 550 a month for a 3 bedroom 1 bath house that is 900sq ft and that includes water utilities paid, and I used to live there it's a nice little house before you accuse me of being a slumlord. I'd live there tomorrow if I didn't have 4 kids and a wife.

    • The economy isn't a zero-sum game. If someone is doing well, they usually invest the money (hopefully being put to productive use) or they exchange their money for goods and services.

      The problem is frankly monetary policy. I know, I know. I'm a crazy Ron Paul-type.

      Here's what I think is going on. Since we left the gold standard, the amount of money has increased by a lot. Where newly printed money hits the system first (like Wall Street for example) those people get to use the money first and get a big bene

      • by uniquename72 (1169497) on Monday July 23, 2012 @12:02PM (#40737345)
        Obviously, money doesn't trickle down. Rich people are richer today compared to anyone else since the '20s. If 'trickle down' worked at all, we'd be living a utopia with lower unemployment and poverty than ever.

        The obvious problem with 'trickle down' and pretty much all Randian 'economics' is that it ignores:
        a) the fact that most rich people don't get their money from producing,
        b) the U.S. isn't a closed system, so Mr. Rich Guy very likely keeps and spends a large amount of his $$ outside of the U.S. (and if he's just investing it or keeping it in a bank there, the money is actually trickling UP rather than down), and
        c) money hoarding. The idea that the rich are building new businesses with their cash ignores reality, where more money is being sat on right now than at any time in history.
  • by Phrogman (80473) on Monday July 23, 2012 @10:50AM (#40736469) Homepage

    Its only going to climb higher. I am up in Canada, but its the same here, all I see is businesses closing, programs being cut, the only jobs available seem to be for crap wages with no benefits etc. The economy is failing from the bottom up as the small businesses die off one by one. Meanwhile of course, the high end executives get massive yearly bonuses as a matter of course - even if the company they are working at is tanking and likely to go under.

    • by polar red (215081)

      and with the people 'in power' you mean who? The 'elected' puppets ?

    • by hierofalcon (1233282) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:51AM (#40737213)

      In our Sunday School class welfare and the associated topics came up - why don't these people get a job was the comment of a retired gentleman. An employer said he had roughly 50 or 60 job openings for people who could do manual labor type work or higher openings that they can't fill. The reason - the people who apply can't pass drug screens or have too many DUIs on their driving record.

      Yes - everyone would like to start out as a CEO making huge wages. Yes - many have gone to college an got an Arts and Crafts degree for an inflated price instead of taking something hard that might actually have a job waiting for them and have huge loans to pay off due to that. Yes, even for those who have engineering or science/medical degrees, there are many companies that aren't hiring in the US but are outsourcing engineering work and knowledge overseas.

      But there are jobs out there - at least in the mining industries and petroleum industries and those fields and towns that service them. In some of the booming oil field towns in ND, even food service is paying really well compared to the rest of the country because everyone who can is out working in the oil field. Whether this will keep up with Europe crashing is anyone's guess. The trouble is, you can't live on the coasts to do them and they are real work. You also have to live in small towns without much culture or big name stores around. Just picking up and moving entails real risk because once you're there you can't just go to a nearby town for a different job - there are no nearby towns. Rents are through the roof and housing is completely unavailable in some cases. Winters can be brutal. But there is work out there and the companies aren't going to go under any time soon.

  • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918@@@gmail...com> on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:00AM (#40736631)
    How much longer are we going to put up with the two false alternatives that continue to kick the can down the road and buy votes with money that will be paid back by future generations?

    How long until we finally consider a real alternative [garyjohnson2012.com]?
    • by Hatta (162192) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:36AM (#40737043) Journal

      It speaks volumes that the only "real alternative" available across the country in this election is one who would remove even more of the few regulations left to protect us from corporate excess. Look at "Gary Johnson's track record". He brags about being "an outspoken advocate for...protection of civil liberties", and a couple sentences later he brags about how he "privatized half of the state prisons". WTF?

    • This is the end of the road. We are the future generations whose future was sold.

    • by rhsanborn (773855)
      Because everyone has skin in the game, and no matter what you do, you will step on toes.

      Raise funds by increasing taxes. - Everyone already thinks they are over taxed, so it doesn't matter where you raise taxes, you're going to piss people off, and ... lose votes.
      Cut welfare programs (food stamps, medicaid, disability). - These people still vote, and there are people who believe these programs matter. If you destroy them, you lose votes. That said, the rich have done a good job convincing the middle and lo
    • by Kjella (173770)

      How much longer are we going to put up with the two false alternatives that continue to kick the can down the road and buy votes with money that will be paid back by future generations?

      Since it's like going shopping with someone else's credit card, I predict when the bank says you've hit your limit. And I predict sometime shortly after that said "future generations" will refuse to pay the bill. Greece's private creditors had to take a 74% loss (53.5% nominal and lower interest rate) but so far EU has bankrolled them, now the interest rates are simply unsustainable for Spain. Either they have to come down right now or the mad scramble for the exit starts like it did with Greece. The US is

  • Classic Marx (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mspohr (589790) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:13AM (#40736739)

    We've outsourced everything and the capital hides in offshore accounts.
    Should be no surprise that poverty is up.
    Marx was right.

  • by assertation (1255714) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:13AM (#40736745)

    Congressional Republicans have voted down every proposal to help the economy the President has sent to them, even proposals tailored after Republican tactics for economic handling.

    Remember this in November, vote the Republicans in the Senate and Congress out.

    They are making the country and most likely you, poorer, just because they are in a pissing contest with the president.

    They don't deserve your support

    • Blindly voting one party (regardless of party) will never fix the issue. If the media was devoid of partisan spin and we could individual elected officials accountable for their actions, then perhaps we'd have solutions.

  • the true culprit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by P-niiice (1703362) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:16AM (#40736791)
    The true cause for this, wholesale adaptation of Reagan's economic philosophies, will never be identified or addressed, and the middle class will continue to shrink, and will only gain ground (temporary ground) during bubbles. And when those bubbles pop, the middle class slides back even more.
  • by scorp1us (235526) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:23AM (#40736875) Journal

    It seems to me today that "poverty" is on par with 1960s luxury, so what's the point?
    We have air conditioning everywhere. We have freely available water. Everyone can have a phone, but not just a phone, a cellphone. We have freely available internet.

    I'm not a social scientist, so I am legitimately asking "what is the point to eradicating poverty?" Is it just an attempt to integrate a disenfranchised segment of the population - a persistent segment that ever since we moved out of tribes and into larger societies we've had. At what point are these people choosing poverty, and if that is the case why should we care? The current mother of the POTUS managed not to live in poverty, and have a son that went on to lead the free world.

    I've been told by y social work friends that the city I live in has sufficient finds and resourced for the homeless. However the vast majority of these are people with mental problems who are high-enough functioning to not be compelled into assistance, who then go out and choose this lifestyle. If that is the case, then I don't think we can ever solve poverty.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:41AM (#40737105) Journal

      It seems to me today that "poverty" is on par with 1960s luxury, so what's the point?

      In 1960 a college graduate could own a home and support a family on one full time salary. In 2012, positions like that are vanishingly rare.

      At what point are these people choosing poverty

      Perhaps you didn't notice the recent financial crisis and the boom in unemployment. Do you think these people "chose" to be unemployed? Did you choose to be this obtuse?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by khipu (2511498)

        In 1960 a college graduate could own a home and support a family on one full time salary. In 2012, positions like that are vanishingly rare.

        You can easily buy an home that's the size and style of the 1960's and furnish it with 1960's-level furniture and technology: a phone, a TV receiving three channels, and not much else.

        If you want two cars, modern health care, iphones, cable, Internet, large screen TVs, video game consoles, two garages, 2500 sq ft, all close to the highway, coast, and a major urban cente

        • by Hatta (162192)

          You can easily buy an home that's the size and style of the 1960's and furnish it with 1960's-level furniture and technology: a phone, a TV receiving three channels, and not much else.

          Bullshit. I pretty much do this, but pay one bill for the modern equivalent to phone service. I might have enough for a house in 10 years, with the help of my GF, if we don't have any kids, assuming steady employment for the next decade.

          If you want two cars, modern health care, iphones, cable, Internet, large screen TVs, vid

  • Poverty rate (Score:5, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew.gmail@com> on Monday July 23, 2012 @11:24AM (#40736891) Homepage Journal

    "According to a 2011 paper by poverty expert Robert Rector, of the 43.6 million Americans deemed to be below the poverty level by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009, the majority had adequate shelter, food, clothing and medical care. In addition, the paper stated that those assessed to be below the poverty line in 2011 have a much higher quality of living than those who were identified by the census 40 years ago as being in poverty."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

    These days we count poverty as economic disparity, which is not the historical definition of poverty. Today, if you have access to medical care, housing and food, we state that you are living in poverty. That is not to say there aren't those living in legitimate poverty.

    Malnourishment is down, and yet we insist poverty is near all-time highs.

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