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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

If We Cut the Safety Net, Almost a Third Of All Americans Would Be Below the Poverty Line

Posted by Paul Constant on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

You should read this whole New York Times report on poverty from Eduardo Potter. It's about how our attitudes toward the poor in America have changed, and how we're losing the war on poverty. But I think one paragraph in the piece is the most important part. It highlights exactly what's wrong with the Republican war on government. Turns out, government is what's holding a lot of us up:

Without the panoply of government benefits — like food stamps, subsidized school lunches and the earned-income tax credit, which provides extra money to household heads earning low wages — the nation’s poverty rate last year would have reached almost 31 percent, up from 25 percent in 1967, according to the research at Columbia.

I understand the thinking among Republicans is that if we let these people get to work on their own, with no assistance, they won't need government benefits. But they're wrong. There's simply not enough wealth to go around. Our wealth is stuck up at the top 1% of the population, and they're not letting it trickle back down. Without those benefits, without the wealthy paying the meagerest amount of taxes, we're looking at a country where nearly a third of us are impoverished. That doesn't sound like America to me.

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