Friday, May 8, 2015

GOPlins fight the war on the war on poverty ...

... with the wrong data. Here's a report from Bloomberg.com (also reprinted in the print edition of this morning's Daily Star).

The GOPlins are using an old measure of poverty to argue that the war on poverty has failed. A newer measure that takes into account more economic indicators shows exactly the opposite.

Conservative criticism of the War on Poverty, which reached a high point during last year's 50th anniversary of Johnson's speech, consists of two arguments: that there are as many people in poverty now as there were in 1965; and that the country really needs a series of conservative solutions: school choice, lower taxes to encourage business, changes to welfare, and a push for stronger families.

According to the Census Bureau, the Official Poverty Measure has not changed significantly—it was about 14 percent in 1967 and 15 percent in 2012. But in 2011 the Census Bureau introduced the Supplemental Poverty Measure, a more comprehensive index that takes into account the cost of necessities and the additional income provided by government assistance programs such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Last year Columbia University released a report that found that, using the SPM, poverty rates fell from 26 percent in 1967 and 16 percent in 2012. Republicans tend to reference the original measure.

According to the Pew Research Center's analysis of the Census Bureau's official measure, the poverty rate among people who are 65 and over dropped from 28.5 percent in 1966 to 9.1 percent in 2012, thanks to the Social Security Act. The poverty rate among black Americans fell from 41.8 percent in 1966 to 27.8 percent in 2012.

But, like always, inconvenient facts do not fare well in The World According to GOrP.

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