Posted in Jobs/Workforce, Policy, Poverty, Research & Data, tagged American Community Survey, Census Bureau, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Poverty Rate, Safety Net Programs, Unemployment Insurance on October 16, 2013|
Leave a Comment »
Every year, the U.S. Census Bureau issues a report on annual poverty data from the American Community Survey. Last month, the Census Bureau reported the poverty rate for 2012 was 15%, virtually unchanged since 2011. For Oklahoma, the rate was 17.2%, also the same as last year.
When the current poverty rate is measured against the historically low rate of 11.1% in 1973, the news seems disheartening. Yet, as Sheldon H. Danziger points out in a recent New York Times opinion piece, comparing 2012 to 1973 without further context can give people the wrong idea about the true state of the war on poverty.
One thing to keep in mind is that poverty measures do not capture all the relief provided to low-income families under current safety net policies. Non-cash benefits, (more…)
Read Full Post »
In May I wrote about upcoming cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and said it was anyone’s guess where a compromise would leave the program. Now August is here, Congress is in recess, and still nothing has been done to stave off cuts scheduled for November; cuts that will lead to a decrease in benefits for nearly 652,000 Oklahomans.
Further cuts still seem inevitable. For the first time since 1973, the House of Representatives approved a version of the Farm Bill without including provisions for SNAP benefits at all. Since then, reports say the House has begun working on a plan to propose cutting $40 Billion from SNAP. This effectively doubles the cuts they proposed in their failed attempt to pass a Farm Bill in June.
Still, the Senate has yet to act on the House’s version of the Farm Bill, so the fight is not over. However, the Food Research Action Center (FRAC) is justifiably alarmed by recent developments, seeing them as an “assault on SNAP.” Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, issued a statement on the subject last Friday calling the new proposal “stunningly harsh.” And while the policy debate on further cuts goes on in Washington, the current Farm Bill is set to expire in September.
The future of SNAP is unknown, but the history of the program is not. And to fully appreciate why SNAP is a vital part of the government’s safety net, it is important to look at this issue from a historical and scientific perspective. Why do we have food programs, including SNAP, in the first place? Why are these programs still needed today? (more…)
Read Full Post »
I must say that I really kind of love the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Off the Charts Blog. They provide great information on a wide range of topics, but most importantly, they provide me the data to back up arguments I have with my friends about these same topics. One of the ongoing arguments I have with a couple of friends is that people who receive housing vouchers (specifically Section 8) are lazy and don’t work. Today on the Off the Charts Blog, Barbara Sard, CBPP’s Vice President of Housing Policy, posted about just this topic.
In her post, she summarized a new CBPP report analyzing the demographic characteristics and labor force attachment of voucher recipients. The analysis shows:
Voucher recipients who do work make around $17,000 per year, which is not enough to afford decent housing in most places.
The analysis also shows: (more…)
Read Full Post »