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Monday, January 30, 2023

Census: Relief plan avoids difficulties in COVID collapse

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Census Bureau reported on Tuesday that despite the slight increase in the official poverty rate, last year the government passed large-scale relief measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, lifting millions of Americans out of poverty.

The official poverty indicator rose by 1 percentage point in 2020, and 11.4% of Americans live in poverty, or more than 37 million people. This is the first increase in the number of poor people after five consecutive years of decline.

But the Census Bureau’s poverty supplementary measures that take into account government welfare programs and stimulus payments indicate that the proportion of poor people has dropped significantly after taking into account aid.

The supplementary poverty indicator is 2.6 percentage points lower than the pre-pandemic level in 2019. Incentive payments lifted 11.7 million people out of poverty, while expanded unemployment benefits saved 5.5 million people from poverty. Social security remains the most effective poverty alleviation program in the United States.

“This really highlights the importance of our social safety net,” said Lianna Fox, director of the Bureau of Census Poverty Statistics.

This discovery may resonate in a divided Congress, where President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “rebuild better” domestic agenda faces uncertain prospects. The two pillars of the COVID response last year—increased unemployment benefits and the federal moratorium on evictions—have expired, which has increased concerns.

The White House quickly noticed.

Spokesperson Emilie Simons said: “The key point of this report is that the government’s response in 2020 has had an extremely powerful impact on poverty eradication and support for middle-class income.” “Just let people It is not enough to escape poverty temporarily. We need to provide working Americans and their families with the opportunity to stay there.”

The census report released on Tuesday covers income, poverty and health insurance, and is equivalent to an annual inspection of the economic situation of the average American. They are based on extensive investigation and analysis.

During last year’s epic economic collapse, employers laid off 22.4 million jobs in March and April, the biggest drop since the 1940s on record. In April, weekly unemployment benefits applications exceeded 6 million in a single week, a record high. Since then, the economy has recovered three-quarters of lost jobs, but the number of jobs in the United States is still 5.3 million fewer than before the pandemic.

A basic indicator of the economic health of the middle class records this shock.

In 2020, the median (or midpoint) household income fell by 2.9% to US$67,521. The median is a dividing line. Half of American households have lower incomes and the other half have higher incomes. This is the first time this indicator has experienced a statistically significant decline in the past ten years.

What contributed to the erosion was that the number of people with job income fell by about 3 million, and the number of full-time employees for the year fell by about 13.7 million.

Below these top lines, this is a story about the rich and the poor.

The economic well-being of those who maintained a stable job throughout the year has improved, and their median income has increased by 6.9% after adjusting for inflation. As the overall median income of workers has fallen by 1.2%, those at the lower end of the job market, those who work part-time or try to make ends meet in the gig economy, have lost ground.

The census found that despite widespread fears that this pandemic will leave millions of Americans uninsured, health insurance still maintains its status in 2020. More than 91% of Americans have insurance, but 28 million people are uninsured.

But Larry Levitt of the Non-Party Caesars Family Foundation said these figures show some notable exceptions. For example, in a dozen states that have not expanded Medicaid, 38% of working-age poor adults are uninsured. Biden’s budget bill will provide a solution.
“It’s hard to find a group that works harder to get affordable health care,” Levitt said.

Congress passed five cross-party COVID-19 response bills last year, totaling nearly US$3.5 trillion, and signed into law by then President Donald Trump. This year, the Democrats promoted Biden’s nearly $1.9 trillion US rescue plan through a party vote. Its impact is not reflected in the census report.

Although some of the federal aid last year was delayed due to cost and distribution issues, in general, it protected families from economic disasters, which would exacerbate the public health crisis. Some people are excluded, such as those who entered the country without legal authorization.

Bruce Meyer, a poverty expert and economist at the University of Chicago, said that as Americans fight for measures such as wearing masks, closing businesses and community life, legislators from both parties are motivated to take major actions.

“There are Democrats who are very focused on helping those who are unemployed and injured, and there are Republicans who are willing to do a lot to help their presidential re-election, so the motives or desires of politicians converge on both sides,” he said.

From a historical perspective, the census report records that the effect of government assistance in poverty prevention last year was much more effective than that of the 2008-2009 Great Recession ten years ago. Even taking into account government plans, the supplementary measure of poverty increased in 2010, and dropped significantly in 2020. This reflects the financial resources provided by Congress and the Trump administration in 2020, compared with President Barack Obama’s approximately $900 billion package in 2009.

Robert Greenstein, a public policy analyst at the Brookings Institution think tank, said this is related to the current debate about Biden’s social infrastructure plan.

“For those who cynically believe that the government has not taken any effective measures, especially when it comes to poverty, it will be more difficult for them to adhere to this view,” said Greenstein, who founded the Budget and Policy Priority Center, a non-profit organization Advocates. Low-income group.

Among other things, Biden plans to provide tax credits for families with children, which is seen as a strategy to reduce child poverty and its long-term consequences. The 2020 census report shows that without the influence of government welfare, child poverty will increase. Instead, it refused.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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