Letters

Some Good News

Sep 20, 2017

To the Editor:

With all the frightful news we’ve been getting lately, e.g. Harvey, Irma, Jose, North Korea, etc., it’s refreshing to read some good news for a change: a typical household’s income rose, poverty has declined and the number of Americans without health care fell to a record low.

This good news is reported by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and policy organization.

Its report shows that over a two-year period, 2014-2016, household median income rose 8.5 percent or $4,600 and poverty decreased by 0.8 percentage points or by 6 million Americans. On health care, the data show the number of uninsured fell by 900,000 in 2016 and by 13.7 million from 2013 to 2016.

How did this happen? The data shows that poverty and economic hardship would be more widespread if it were not for key federal programs: SNAP (formerly food stamps) 3.6 million; earned income tax credit/child tax credit, 8.2 million; Supplemental Security Income, 3.4 million; low income housing assistance, 3.1 million. That’s over 18 million of our fellow citizens lifted above the poverty line in 2016 by these programs. The report went on to state that “for tens of millions more, the programs reduced the severity of their poverty.”

While this is wonderful news, the CBPP report stresses that our goal should be to continue our progress because we still have a long way to go. Thirty-six million Americans remain poor; incomes for middle-income households are only where they were in 2007, before the Great Recession; and some 28 million Americans are still without health insurance.

The big question now is will we continue this progress? The answer lies with this president and this Congress! I doubt it. The news we read and hear each day strongly indicates that the agenda of this president and this Congress is to repeal or undermine the ACA and the very programs that have lifted tens of millions of our fellow Americans out of poverty.

Of course, the sensible, efficient and practical solution to this problem is for corporate America, the “one- percenters,” to pay a living wage rather than have the government/taxpayers subsidize their greed.

Paul M. Muller

Harvey Cedars

 

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