The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

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Discussion: (4 comments)

  1. Seattle Sam

    If these expenditures “lifted people out of poverty” ought there not to be FEWER people drawing on them than more?

    1. No, because the general population of the US has risen over time. This is why the Poverty Rate is a better indicator than Number in Poverty.

      This failure to “move the needle” despite many good intentions and huge investments is sobering. It may well be that 15% of the population will remain in poverty, perhaps even by choice, no matter what we do. What a sad thought. I guess the only upside to that conclusion is that the US poverty rate is almost certainly lower than that of many other countries around the world.

  2. “…our government interventions are not providing sufficient opportunity for them to do what they want to do more than anything else — earn their livelihood on their own.”


  3. The U.S. Census Bureau determines poverty status by comparing pre-tax cash income against a threshold that is set at three times the cost of a minimum food diet in 1963, updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, and adjusted for family size, composition, and age of householder.

    Gee, a threshold defined 50 years ago and updated by CPI. Ever wonder why the rate stays about the same?

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