For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Poverty Rate in Most States and Among Children Lowered by New Measure
WASHINGTON - SHAWN FREMSTAD, fremstad at cepr.net, Alan Barber, alanbbarber at gmail.com
Fremstad is senior research associate with the Center for Economic and Policy Research and just wrote the piece “New Obama Poverty Measure Lowers Poverty Rates in Most States and Among Children.”
The piece states: “On Friday, November 4, the Census Bureau is holding a webinar on the Obama Administration’s proposed ‘supplemental’ poverty measure. The webinar is in advance of the release of new research on the measure on Monday. … In most states, the Obama poverty measure, at least as currently conceived, would result in lower poverty rates (and poverty thresholds) than the current official measure. …
“It is particularly striking that the biggest declines in poverty rates under the Obama measure would occur in many of the poorest states. Among the 10 states with the lowest per capita GDP, six are also in the top 10 of the states that would see the largest decline in poverty rates under the Obama measure. If, as [right-wing critics Robert Rector and Robert Samuelson] claim, the Obama measure ‘promotes income redistribution,’ it is regressive rather than progressive in federal fiscal terms — redistribution from a majority of mostly smaller and poorer state economies to a minority of mostly larger and wealthier ones.
“This result is largely produced by two flawed elements of the Obama measure: 1) it adopts a poverty threshold that is far too low as a measure of what is needed to live a minimally decent life today (only $23,854 for a family of two parents and two children in 2009, according to the Administration); and 2) it adjusts this threshold for geographic differences in housing costs in a way that allows the poverty thresholds for many states and sub-state areas to actually fall below the outdated federal poverty threshold.”
FRIENDS: Now More Than Ever
Independent journalism has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support us now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder
A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.