Yesterday, I wrote
... the Bush tax cuts are helping the rich get richer... What won't get blaring headlines are stories of those who have been pounded by Bush's magical economy. You know, like the new homeless.
At least Bob Herbert felt that the newly reported, distressing news about all-time homeless numbers is significant:
A surge in the Dow is big news. Surges in hunger and homelessness are not.
A broader look at the levels of serious distress being faced by increasing numbers of Americans comes from the latest Index of Social Health, which is published annually by the Institute for Innovation in Social Policy at the Fordham University Graduate Center in Tarrytown, N.Y.
The institute analyzes government statistics in a wide variety of areas, including infant mortality, children in poverty, teenage suicide, health insurance coverage and homicide rates, as a way of monitoring the "social well-being of the nation."
The latest index, which covered the year 2001 (the latest year for which complete statistics were available), showed the social health of the nation taking a steep dive. It was the biggest decline in the index in two decades. And preliminary data for the years since 2001 show the decline continuing, according to Dr. Marc Miringoff, the institute's director.
The categories that worsened in the latest index were children in poverty, child abuse, average weekly earnings, affordable housing, health insurance coverage, food stamp coverage, the gap between rich and poor, and out-of-pocket health costs for those over 65.
Two indicators reached their worst levels on record, food stamp coverage (which correlates with increases in hunger) and income inequality.
This is what we ought to pay more attention to; the fact that while Bush may have temporarily boosted the stock market and helped fill his friends' bank accounts with his tax cuts, he did this on the backs of the poor. But our well-paid and lazy news reporters will continue to largely ignore this. Let me reiterate a quote from my post:
"The numbers show that the jobs situation might be better than people expected all along ... and the economy is actually going well," said Tim Smalls, trader at SG Cowen Securities.
As I said yesterday... Indeed.