America Slipping Back to Pre-60’s Poverty Levels – What Caused It?
Last updated: August 7, 2012 by Susan
Believe it or not, there was a time when America seriously considered poverty to be a major problem where the government had to step in to help deal with it. We even had to “wage a war” on poverty back in the 60’s to elevate the middle class and bring a greater sense of equality to all Americans.
But recent data has shown that we’re losing the ground we gained during that time.
The Associated Press recently released the results of its survey showing that the official poverty rate will climb up from 15.1% in 2010 to 15.7%. Not much on paper, but just add 0.1% to that 15.7% and we go back to poverty levels observed back in the early 60’s.
And even the 15.1% of 2010 is a far, far cry from the low point of 11.1% poverty in 1973.
But just how did we get here? The recession has of course played a part in ruining the economy. The effects of other long-term factors, however, have begun to manifest themselves after all these years.
Peter Edelmen of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy points to the following contributing factors a lower median household income:
- Less unionization
Edelman adds that the “tidal wave” of low wage jobs drags America as a whole down, and this is a problem that will not go away anytime soon.
This is especially true considering that Republicans and Democrats are locked in a bitter November election struggle. A lot of promises will be flung around, but nothing will be truly put into place until a president gets elected and our country stops bickering about partisan agendas.
At the end of the day, though, everyone has to pitch in and voice their support for the government programs that keep low-income families off the streets.
Unemployment insurance, welfare, Medicaid and food stamps all go a long way to keeping the most vulnerable of America safe – whether people want to admit it or not.