September 16, 2010

The calendar of wonks

You may have missed it, but yesterday was something of a major holiday amongst policy wonks such as myself. I am referring to what is called "Poverty Day," when the US Census releases data on poverty, incomes, and the uninsured for the previous year.

As you might expect for the worst year of the worst recession since the Great Depression, things were pretty bad out there. Here's part of a statement by Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

The Census Bureau data for 2009 reflect the severity of the recent recession, as poverty rose sharply and the number of uninsured spiked…. Both the number and percentage of Americans in poverty climbed. The number of poor people rose by 3.7 million, to 43.6 million. The percentage of people in poverty rose from 13.2 percent to 14.3 percent.

Poverty would have risen much higher without the temporary expansions in unemployment insurance benefits provided by the Recovery Act and other legislation. In 2008, unemployment benefits kept 900,000 Americans out of poverty. In 2009, by contrast, unemployment benefits kept 3.3 million Americans out of poverty, an analysis of today’s data shows. The majority of the increase in UI benefits in 2009 came from the Recovery Act

Here's the full statement.

The number of uninsured Americans climbed to over 50 million in 2009. That's something to think about as politicians on the right dream of undoing this year's steps toward covering all Americans. Greenstein notes that

the increase in the ranks of the uninsured would have been substantially greater if not for Medicaid and CHIP, which covered more people as the number of people lacking employer-based insurance swelled. These findings underscore the relevance of the recently enacted health reform law, which substantially expands coverage for people who cannot obtain insurance through an employer. Had health reform been in place in 2009, the number of people without health insurance would have risen far less.

Things aren't all that great in El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia, as the WV Center on Budget and Policy reports, although they haven't been as bad as might be expected based on previous recessions.

NOTE: Goat Rope missed a rare day of posting due to some of those curve balls that life ha a way of throwing.



Amy said...

Thanks for the poverty President Obama. Was this the change you were talking about?
Hope and change, more like hope for change.

Jay Banks said...

These last two years were very hard for every government. Stagnant local market, higher unemployment, poor public property, low GDP and many, many more. These problems are indicated in real poverty. The right key of this solving problem is hided in responsible solutions and useful economic revives.