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Ross
08-26-2004, 09:26 AM
In our recent discussion of the steadily increasing gap between the poor and the rich, several posters refused to recognize that this is a real problem that is not explained by simple "lazy people" explanations. From todays news:


WASHINGTON (CNN) - The number of Americans living in poverty jumped by 1.3 million last year as household incomes held steady, the Census Bureau said Wednesday.
The percentage of the U.S. population living in poverty rose to 12.5 percent from 12.1 percent -- as the poverty rate among children jumped to its highest level in 10 years. The rate for adults 18-to-64 and 65 and older remained steady.
The bureau also said that the share of aggregate income for the lowest 20 percent of Americans fell to 3.4 percent from 3.5 percent.
The report indicated that children and blacks were worse off than most, Reuters reported, noting the report would almost certainly fuel Democratic criticism of President Bush.
The number of poor rose to 35.9 million, up 1.3 million from 2002.
Health care coverage also dropped last year and incomes were essentially stagnant, the Census Bureau said in its annual poverty report, seen by some as the most important score card on the nation's economy and Bush's first term in office.
The number of uninsured people rose to 45 million from 43.6 million in 2002, the bureau said.

Sid_Vicious
08-26-2004, 09:37 AM
It is a very sad and pathetic fact that even these facts will be defended by some people as media bias or even false. Only those people who know, or are, the people who have joined the ranks below the poverty line truly understand, but I personally rank my intellegence high enough to at least read the writing on the wall, "This country is misguided." Partisan views won't help those in need, a change toward opening everyone's eyes and allowing the raw truth of the situation has got to be premier. Funny thing though, many people still feel that if they are not direrctly affected then it's not any big deal. My compassionate side and education prompts me to see and feel where things are headed, and to me, it ain't good with the leader we have running this show right now...sid

eg8r
08-26-2004, 09:54 AM
Ross, I guess I am a bit confused with the data.... [ QUOTE ]
The number of Americans living in poverty jumped by 1.3 million ....The percentage of the U.S. population living in poverty rose to 12.5 percent from 12.1 percent -- as the poverty rate among children jumped to its highest level in 10 years. The rate for adults 18-to-64 and 65 and older remained steady. <hr /></blockquote> So, given this information the people who moved to poverty are children, roughly 1.3 million of them. Would it be too much of a guess to say if you are part of the working population and you believe in these statistics (that would include you Ross) that you are safe for now (not "slipping" into poverty"). /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif The numbers show that from the ages of 0 - 17 are making less money, while those old enough to work full time jobs OR are at the age of retirement are staying steady.

Well let's see, 0-17 year olds are supported by their parents for the most part. I know you don't like to generalize but that seems to be all that you are doing lately. So, if these kids are getting poorer however their parents are not, then what? What does this tell you...One could guess those from 0-17 must have left their parents house and are supporting themselves. Would you not guess that would lower their disposable income a bit, my gosh they now have to pay rent. There is plenty more but you probably don't want to hear it.

There is another group in there that appears to have moved into poverty and that is the group of 64-65 year olds. Retirement? Don't worry, once they turn 65 they will stabilize.

The only acknowledgement Sid deserves is a big YAWN. An old broken record who runs and hides after he has his say.

eg8r

landshark77
08-26-2004, 09:58 AM
<font color="blue">A few things: </font color>

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Ross:</font><hr>

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The number of Americans living in poverty jumped by 1.3 million last year as household incomes held steady, the Census Bureau said Wednesday.
The percentage of the U.S. population living in poverty rose to 12.5 percent from 12.1 percent
<font color="blue"> Less than half a percent. </font color>
-- as the poverty rate among children jumped to its highest level in 10 years.
<font color="blue">You have to wonder how this itself affects the percentage of the .4% poverty rise. </font color>
The rate for adults 18-to-64 and 65 and older remained steady.
<font color="blue">As we have NO change in our working age group and our retirees. </font color>
The bureau also said that the share of aggregate income for the lowest 20 percent of Americans fell to 3.4 percent from 3.5 percent.
<font color="blue"> this is .1%. </font color>
The report indicated that children <font color="blue"> of course they are going to be worse off, they are children, they depend on their parents to proviode for them. We have child labor laws. IMO, children shouldn't even becounted in these statistics because of those reasons. It trows off the actual average. Only people who are suposed to fend for themselves should be counted. </font color> and blacks were worse off than most, Reuters reported, noting the report would almost certainly fuel Democratic criticism of President Bush.
The number of poor rose to 35.9 million, up 1.3 million from 2002. <font color="blue">While this number appears to be quite large it is only LESS THAN half a %.</font color>
Health care coverage also dropped last year and incomes were essentially stagnant, the Census Bureau said in its annual poverty report, seen by some as the most important score card on the nation's economy and Bush's first term in office.
The number of uninsured people rose to 45 million from 43.6 million in 2002, the bureau said.
<hr /></blockquote>

Wally_in_Cincy
08-26-2004, 10:34 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Ross:</font><hr>
...the Census Bureau said in its annual poverty report, seen by some as the most important score card on the nation's economy and Bush's first term in office.....
<hr /></blockquote>

Bush wants little children to starve.

Wally_in_Cincy
08-26-2004, 10:35 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Sid_Vicious:</font><hr>

....My compassionate side and education prompts me to see and feel where things are headed, and to me, it ain't good with the leader we have running this show right now...sid <hr /></blockquote>

Bush wants Democrats to starve.

highsea
08-26-2004, 10:45 AM
Hmmmm. Well, okay, this seems to show that poor black people are still having babies. And that it doesn't help their financial situation when they do.

For this to be evidence of an increasing disparity, we need the demographics of the populations compared. What was the increase in the overall numbers of 0-17 year olds? Does it match the percentage [of the increase] of those below the poverty line? i.e., Are the people at the bottom of the pile reproducing faster than the rest of the pile? Also, where was the poverty line in 2002 as compared to today?

Was there a corresponding drop in the percentages of people slightly above the poverty line? This would indicate a backwards slide.

What was the increase in overall population? If the poor make up 12.5 percent, and there were 1.3 million new poor people, then we need to know if there were more or less than (8 x 1.3M) people added to the census to know whether or not the numbers are on a decline, increase, or holding steady.

I'm not disputing the numbers, but the conclusion may not be a fair one. We need to know that there are a significant number people in this group that were previously above the poverty line and are now below it for the conclusion to mean anything. All this really shows is that the number of poor people increased, not why.

-CM

Wally_in_Cincy
08-26-2004, 11:29 AM
the massive influx of working class Hispanics could have something to do with this.

Bush does not want Hispanics to starve. His rich friends need them to work to make them richer. Maybe he just wants their children to starve.

dg-in-centralpa
08-26-2004, 03:13 PM
While I am not rich or wealthy, I do live comfortably. There have been poor people since the beginning of time and there will always be poor people. I see many of these people everyday and most of them will not do anything to help themself. They rely on government handouts and they know how to work the system. Many of them don't want to work or get any kind of education. If they don't try, I have no sympathy for them.

DG

Ross
08-26-2004, 04:10 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote highsea:</font><hr> Hmmmm. Well, okay, this seems to show that poor black people are still having babies. And that it doesn't help their financial situation when they do.
<font color="blue">Highsea, the poverty rate increased for all races: whites (10.3 to 10.6%), blacks (23.9 to 24.3%), Hispanics (21.8 to 22.5%), and the largest increase - Asians (10.0 to 11.8%). (Didn't I predict that some would turn to the "lazy people" stereotype as the explanation for all poverty in the US?) </font color>

For this to be evidence of an increasing disparity, we need the demographics of the populations compared. What was the increase in the overall numbers of 0-17 year olds? Does it match the percentage [of the increase] of those below the poverty line? i.e., Are the people at the bottom of the pile reproducing faster than the rest of the pile? Also, where was the poverty line in 2002 as compared to today?

Was there a corresponding drop in the percentages of people slightly above the poverty line? This would indicate a backwards slide.

What was the increase in overall population? If the poor make up 12.5 percent, and there were 1.3 million new poor people, then we need to know if there were more or less than (8 x 1.3M) people added to the census to know whether or not the numbers are on a decline, increase, or holding steady.

I'm not disputing the numbers, but the conclusion may not be a fair one. We need to know that there are a significant number people in this group that were previously above the poverty line and are now below it for the conclusion to mean anything. All this really shows is that the number of poor people increased, not why.

-CM <hr /></blockquote> <font color="blue">

Highsea, most of your questions about changes in population numbers are taken care of by just focusing on rates instead of absolute numbers. You are right that it doesn't say why there are more falling into poverty. I went to the census website and looked at the original data and found that the increase was across all races, and actually highest in the midwest. I don't know what to make of the fact that the % of kids that are in poverty increased while the % of adults stayed the same. I don't think it has to do with birthrates, unless poor Asians, whites, blacks, and hispanics are all having larger families. And I know for a fact that birthrates for teenage blacks has been dropping for several years now, so that explanation doesn't seem right.

But as important as the poverty rates, IMO, is the continued drop in % of total US income brought in by the bottom 20%. (Remember, this has only to do with full time workers.) It may be only a .1% drop, but when you start with only 3.5% and when this is just part of a continuing trend (see graph in the old tax posts) then it is an issue.

It is true that there will always be poor people. But that is not the same as saying we should ignore increases in the % of the country that is poor. </font color>

highsea
08-26-2004, 05:23 PM
Well Ross, you're the statistician, so I will trust your interpretation. What I do know is these numbers usually follow the economy. These are not the lowest, nor the highest levels that we have seen these numbers in the past.

from your source: [ QUOTE ]
"But analysts have said the poverty rate typically tracks the broad economy, rising during a recession and falling in boom times. America has struggled to recover from the 2001 slump, and job creation has lagged behind overall growth."<hr /></blockquote>I think it will be interesting to see where these numbers are in a year, if the recovery continues on pace, and the effects of Bush's tax cuts become part of the picture.

-CM

highsea
08-26-2004, 05:35 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Ross:</font><hr> I don't know what to make of the fact that the % of kids that are in poverty increased while the % of adults stayed the same. I don't think it has to do with birthrates, unless poor Asians, whites, blacks, and hispanics are all having larger families. And I know for a fact that birthrates for teenage blacks has been dropping for several years now, so that explanation doesn't seem right.<hr /></blockquote>Well, you may be correct, but consider:

[ QUOTE ]
The Office of Management and Budget at the Census Bureau defined the poverty threshold in 2003 as $18,810 for a family of four; $14,680 for a family of three; $12,015 for a family of two; and $9,393 for an individual.<hr /></blockquote> If I was a family of three that made $17,500/year, I am above the poverty line. If I have another kid, now I'm below the poverty line.

So if median incomes haven't changed, and adult incomes haven't changed, but more kids are living in poverty, are you sure it isn't because there are more kids? The report also mentions a decrease in median incomes for Hispanics, of 2.6%, so that may indicate an overall increase in the numbers of lower income Hispanic households.

-CM

eg8r
08-29-2004, 09:09 PM
I just read an article about the Census numbers (by Robert Rector and Rea Hederman, Jr., ) that you presented in the other thread and found it a bit interesting. Since I am not completely knowledgable about how all the numbers were gathered, I do like this article because it offers other questions, rather than the "boxed-up" rich are getting richer mantra.

It appears the Census splits everyone up into quintiles however it does not evenly distribute everyone. So, there are more or less people depending on which quintile you are looking at. This sort of poses a problem when comparing them to each other. Anyways, I will quote the more knowledgeable author... If you want to look at the graphs, go here (http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/bg1791.cfm) It is too late to figure out how to attach the pics. This quote is from Stage 4 (there was other interesting stuff prior)[ QUOTE ]
In many respects, economic inequalities between the quintiles are a direct reflection of disparities in work performed. Chart 5 reverts to the conventional Census quintiles with unequal numbers of persons. The chart shows the total annual hours of paid labor in each quintile. <font color="blue"> In 2002, individuals in the bottom quintile performed 4.3 percent of all the work in the U.S. economy, while those in the top quintile performed 33.9 percent. </font color> Thus, the top quintile performed almost eight times as much labor as did the bottom quintile. <hr /></blockquote> Hmmm, the lower earning quintiles want more money and work less. Sounds a lot like France.

[ QUOTE ]
In part, the low levels of paid employment in the bottom quintile reflect the low numbers of working-age adults (ages 18 to 64) within the group. In the conventional Census figures (with unequal quintiles), the bottom quintile contains only 11.2 percent of all working-age adults, while the top quintile contains 27.6 percent. Not only does the bottom quintile contain fewer adults of working age, but each adult, on average, works fewer hours during the year than does his counterpart in the higher-income quintiles. On average, working-age adults in the bottom quintile worked about half as many hours during the year as did adults in the top quintile. The combination of relatively few working-age adults and low levels of work per adult contributes significantly to the low income levels in the bottom quintile. <hr /></blockquote> Makes perfect sense. It would be pretty tough to increase the numbers as quick if you are using less people working less hours.

This is all really great information that Ross forgot to mention. The original numbers from the Census... [ QUOTE ]
Chart 1. In that year, the Census reported that the top or most affluent quintile had 49.7 percent of income, while the bottom quintile had only 3.5 percent. Thus, the top fifth of households is shown to have 14.3 times more income than the bottom fifth. <hr /></blockquote> Pretty large gap, and this is what Ross would hope everyone would believe, however, if you follow the logic of the author it shows the Census numbers are no where near complete in what they portray. The numbers adjusted for Stage 4 are... [ QUOTE ]
The stage 4 figures incorporate the adjustments made in stages 2 and 3 before making the hypothetical adjustments in hours of work. The results are presented in Chart 6. The working-age adults in each quintile are assumed, on average, to perform equal hours of paid labor during the year. The outcome would be a substantial equalization of incomes. The income share of the bottom quintile would rise to 12.3 percent, while that of the top quintile would fall to 35.8 percent. <hr /></blockquote> Seems to be a bit closer than the original numbers tell. It is a different story when you look at the real life answers, and look beyond the text book graphs.

If you don't look at the article here are the stages: <ul type="square"> Stage 1: Conventional money income distribution. <font color="red"> The numbers the Census used </font color> Stage 2: Incorporation of the effect of taxes and social welfare benefits. <font color="red"> Takes into account all the "extras" that are not accounted for. Examples...Health Insurance received from employers, aid to the poor ($522 billion), Medical care for elderly (257 billion), etc </font color> Stage 3: Adjustment of quintiles to contain equal numbers of persons. <font color="red"> For whatever reason, the quintiles are not evenly divided, so the author does his best to equal the quantities in each quintile. </font color> Stage 4: Hypothetical equalization of work and employment between the quintiles. <font color="red"> As the title says, it takes a look at what the numbers would look like if you were to equal the amount of hours worked. </font color> [/list] [ QUOTE ]
A frequent complaint is that the distribution of income is becoming less equal over time. There is some merit to this charge: According to conventional Census numbers, the income share of the top fifth of households rose from 43.7 percent of total income in 1980 to 49.7 percent in 2002. But nearly all of that increase occurred in the 1980s and mid-1990s. <hr /></blockquote> I guess the Bush tax cut cannot be blamed for any of this. [ QUOTE ]
For the past five years, the distribution of income has remained static, as charts 8 and 9 show. <hr /></blockquote> What, the tax cuts of the Evil Bush Empire did not just shove money into the wallets of only those evil rich? [ QUOTE ]
After adjusting quintiles to contain equal numbers of persons, the top quintile in 1997 had $4.22 in post-tax, post-benefit income for every $1.00 of similar income at the bottom.11 In 2002, the ratio was $4.21 to $1.00.
<hr /></blockquote> Odd, it went down? This is in stark contrast to the rapidly increasing delta we have been shown.

[ QUOTE ]
The conventional Census figures also suggest that the incomes of the two poorest quintiles have fallen over the past 30 years. The Census reports that in 1970, the two poorest quintiles had 14.9 percent of all money income. By 2002, the figure had fallen to 12.3 percent. However, this apparent decline is a result of the exclusion of non-cash benefits from the count of income. Means-tested welfare and Medicare has risen greatly over time, from 1.5 percent of total personal income in 1950 to over 8 percent in 2002. If these benefits were properly included in the income count, the income share of the two poorest quintiles would be shown to have risen considerably in the 1960s and to have remained relatively unchanged over the past 30 years. <hr /></blockquote> What, they have NOT been getting poorer?

Since I could not say it any better, and Ross' post is a great example of the quote, here is the author one more time... [ QUOTE ]
The Census income distribution figures are the foundation of most class-warfare rhetoric. <hr /></blockquote> I don't think anyone doubts the rich are getting richer, but the reality of it all is that everyone in America seems to be doing better, just not all at the same rate and probably not at the exaggerated rate Ross purports. Those going out working harder and longer seem to be doing better. This is the data the Census shows but they just don't tell you the particulars and leave it up to the media to make their own rationalizations and pawn it off to us on the 6 o'clock news. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

It is amazing to find out that the top 5th quintile in the Census numbers represents 1/3 of all the labor in the economy.

[ QUOTE ]
In one sense, John Edwards is correct: There is one America that works a lot and pays a lot in taxes, and there is another America that works less and pays little. <hr /></blockquote>

eg8r

bluewolf
08-30-2004, 12:58 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote highsea:</font><hr>
For this to be evidence of an increasing disparity, we need the demographics of the populations compared. What was the increase in the overall numbers of 0-17 year olds? Does it match the percentage [of the increase] of those below the poverty line? i.e., Are the people at the bottom of the pile reproducing faster than the rest of the pile? Also, where was the poverty line in 2002 as compared to today?


-CM <hr /></blockquote>

Of course many of them are, and would breed like rabbits except for one thing. Families on welfare, who know the system, know that they (fed govt) pay for four kids. So up to four kids, they get more money as long as the child is a minor. So, in those cases, they get less money for two than for four. These families did not have 5 or 6, they had four. While each additional kid does cost more, these people were wise to the system, and I really do not believe that they would have been having 4, if only 2 benefitted them economically. And of course, when a family is on welfare, it is not just about getting a check every month, but about other assistance as well, which all of us pay for out of our taxes. Don't know the % for that because the budget is so huge, but revamping any system that is not working well would be a step in the right direction.

I worked in a city (for 9 yrs) with a high rate or number of families on welfare, without mentioning any race, which gave me some awareness of the above statement and the following observations and speculations.

When I first went there, the % of kids in classes for the mentally deficient was double the national average. By the time I left nine years later, the % of kids in these classes was 4 times the national average. And, many of these parents on welfare (not all but many) were either of mentally deficient or borderline intelligence, at least in terms of functioning and IQ tests. I was seeing a sharp downward trend. Deficient parents who were on welfare, having 4 kids, who, a very high % of the time were in some kind of special ed. I was, in the last few years I was there, seeing functioning of these people plummeting into the moderate to the severely deficient range with increasing frequency. We were also seeing some really weird things like kids born disfigured in some way, at first rarely, then more frequently. Many of the kids, I speculated, were emerging more handicapped than their borderline parents due to fetal alcohol and fetal drug use, brain injury from abuse or neglect and other factors. We were seeing weird genetic things, retardation caused by genetically based disorders, which also led me to wonder about the possibility of inbreeding.

Then we have, not only those on welfare needing assistance, and having more kids than most middle class people do who are trying to make ends meet, but even more of them needing assistance as adults due to being handicapped.

So, while many cities do not have these demographics, it is not the only one like this, so Ross numbers do not surprise me at all.

The bottom line to this, IMO, is if one family has four kids on welfare and even if two of them reproduce in the same fashion, we have a doubling affect, at least in that segment of the poor. We also have an increase in the numbers of handicapped people, which also contributes to this increase in the # who would be considered to be very poor. This also, to some degree has a backlash effect. With the increase in numbers who cannot work because they are handicapped, this reduces the numbers of people who can work a regular middle class job, effectively shrinking also the middle class.

In the city I was in, the middle class was very small. The great majority were very rich or very poor.

I do not know what percentage of the poor are on welfare, but I have also seen shelters, food kitchens stuffed with persons with mental disorders. Many of these very unfortunate folks really belong in mental institutions, but the ones who were not dangerous to themselves or others were typically put on meds, put out of the mental institutions,and if they did not have someone like a family member to care for them, they were hung out to dry. Then, most serious mental disorders like schizophrenia are genetically based, so when these folks had kids, whom they brought to the soup kitchens, stayed in shelters with them, we can see an increase in mentally disabled persons, also poor and needing assistance.

Do not know what % makeup of the poor includes situations such as these, but definately agree than a rather thourough analysis of the population of the poor would be needed to create accurate demographics. Depending on how such a study breaks down, we could have a very serious problem in this country, that will continue to get worse and which more aid to the poor will not remedy, but may for all practical purposes be like putting a bandaid on an amputation.

To just state a number representing an increase of the poor is , IMO, oversimplification of something which might be considerably more complex.

Laura