Skip to main content

Depression-era black and white photo of big crowd waiting in a soup line.
Economists interviewed by the Associated Press are in broad agreement that Census figures on poverty, to be released shortly before Election Day, will show that the poverty rate rose in 2011 to the highest level since the 1960s. Republicans will try to use this against President Obama, but let's be clear: Republican policies have led directly to increasing poverty in the United States, and they're not done yet.

The entire history of Republican policies that have led to today's high-and-rising poverty rates is too long to get into—at a bare minimum, we'd have to start with the deregulation of the financial industry—but you don't have to look very hard to find ways that their destruction is ongoing. Take this, from the AP:

Poverty will remain above the pre-recession level of 12.5 percent for many more years. Several predicted that peak poverty levels — 15 percent to 16 percent — will last at least until 2014, due to expiring unemployment benefits, a jobless rate persistently above 6 percent and weak wage growth.
(Emphasis added)

Republicans have not only pushed unemployment insurance benefits cuts at the federal level, they've done so in several states as well. In 2010, 3.2 million people were kept out of poverty by unemployment insurance. Social Security kept 20.3 million people out of poverty that year. Not for lack of trying, but Social Security is a part of the safety net Republicans haven't yet been able to eviscerate, and the AP reports that:

Poverty among people 65 and older will remain at historically low levels, buoyed by Social Security cash payments.
Then we've got Republican obstruction of minimum wage increases, again at the federal and state levels. Working full-time at minimum wage is just barely enough to lift a family of two out of poverty, and minimum wage workers are disproportionately likely to be stuck in part-time work. Part-time and minimum wage means living in poverty, and the AP projects that "Part-time or underemployed workers, who saw a record 15 percent poverty in 2010, will rise to a new high."

It's not hard to connect these dots: Republican policies lead directly to poverty. Whether it's the main thing they're intended to do or just a by-product of making the 0.1 percent richer doesn't matter that much, being two sides of the same class war coin. Defeating President Obama, another goal of Republican poverty-producing policies, only paves the way for more of the same.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site