Poverty by the Numbers
by Melvyn_Fein
 Social Commentary
February 06, 2012 10:05 AM | 975 views | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
No doubt you have heard that very lame joke: God must really have loved the poor because he created so many of them.

You may also have heard a variation of it to the effect that: Barack Obama must love the poor a great deal because he too has created so many of them.

These observations are neither fair to God nor Obama.  Nevertheless, it is true that our president has increased the number of people living in poverty.  Despite his protestations that he cares deeply about the welfare of the poor, his policies have extended our current recession beyond what was necessary—and therefore the misery of the poor with it.

But this was unintentional.  It was merely a by-product of ill-conceived efforts to promote social justice.  Moreover, the downturn is expected to reverse direction and when it does the poor will again find work.

In fact, the recent improvements in the unemployment numbers have encouraged some Democrats to begin counting their chickens before they hatch.  They now crow that we have had three good months in a row where over two hundred thousand persons have been added to the employment rolls—and they assume this will continue.

Some of the president’s supporters also brag that over a million jobs were created last year.  This is true, but what few of them add is that it was not enough to keep up with the growth in our population.  In other words, if job growth keeps up at this rate, the numbers of unemployed wil escalate even further.

Moreover, if the recent improvements are maintained, we might add another two million jobs this year.  Yet this too would barely keep us abreast of population increases.  Actually to get people back to work at a rate comparable to before the recession would take monthly improvements of over three hundred and fifty thousand—for many years.

In spite of the latest unexpected gains, we are nowhere near this number.  At the moment it is impossible to know what lies ahead; nonetheless it will take a radical shift in policies to turn things around.  This, at least, is what the Congressional Budget Office is implying with its pessimistic economic projections.

During the upcoming year we are going to hear a lot of blather about the meaning of these economic statistics, nonetheless whatever happens, the bottom line is that Barack Obama has kept us poorer than we needed to be. 

In any event, he may still find a way to spin this so that voters are fooled into allowing him another four years to dip into their pocketbooks.  But if they do, they will only have themselves to blame for what follows.

Maybe then the joke will be modified to say: American voters must love being poor so much because they have elected to create a great deal more poverty.

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Kevin Foley
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February 06, 2012
Dr. Fein, seriously, do you ever do any real research? "It is true that our president has increased the number of people living in poverty."

So you're saying the economic disaster Obama inherited when he took office just three years ago had nothing at all to do with thrusting people into poverty? It's just Obama's fault? And when last week's numbers say we have the lowest unemployment rate since the president took office he gets no credit?

You've also glomed onto the Romney's latest fallacy, that Obama made the recession deeper and longer. As usual, nothing to support your assertion (probably because Romney can't support it). Then you advocate a "radical shift in policies to turn things around"...as in what? A return to the bogus conservative "trickle down" policies that nearly pushed the economy over the edge?

I don't have a terminal degree or even a masters, but when I earned my bachelors, I could expect a failing grade if I turned in a paper that made arguments I couldn't substantiate. You do it every week.
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