February 23, 2007

The American Dream

Priorities, priorities.

U.S. economy leaving record numbers in severe poverty

Over the last two decades, America has had the highest or near-highest poverty rates for children, individual adults and families among 31 developed countries, according to the Luxembourg Income Study, a 23-year project that compares poverty and income data from 31 industrial nations.

"It's shameful," said Timothy Smeeding, the former director of the study and the current head of the Center for Policy Research at Syracuse University. "We've been the worst performer every year since we've been doing this study."

With the exception of Mexico and Russia, the U.S. devotes the smallest portion of its gross domestic product to federal anti-poverty programs, and those programs are among the least effective at reducing poverty, the study found. Again, only Russia and Mexico do worse jobs.

Bush's budget reflects the priorities on funding those insufficient programs:

Time to eliminate the estate tax

Sanders additionally pointed out that the family of former Exxon/Mobil CEO Lee Raymond, who received a $400 million retirement package, would receive about $164 million in tax breaks.

Compare that to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which Bush proposes be completely eliminated, at a savings of $108 million over ten years. The program sent one bag of groceries per month to 480,000 seniors, mothers and newborn children.

Nice to see how well that American dream is working these days. Especially in Washington DC where average wages are really high today.

Wages high in D.C., counties

The Washington area had three of the top 10 jurisdictions with the highest wages in the United States last year -- the District of Columbia, and Arlington and Fairfax counties -- setting it apart from most of the rest of the country where wages have stagnated this decade.

...The survey provides more evidence that the largess of the federal government -- particularly spending on defense, homeland security and intelligence -- has been a big generator of wealth and jobs for the Washington area. While high-paid federal jobs are concentrated in the District and Arlington, Fairfax's ascendance as a rich job haven, first reported in The Washington Times Jan. 27, mostly reflects the benefits of federal contracting work.

Kinda depends on who you are talking about in DC. Back to that McClatchy piece:

Washington, D.C., the nation's capital, has a higher concentration of severely poor people - 10.8 percent in 2005 - than any of the 50 states, topping even hurricane-ravaged Mississippi and Louisiana, with 9.3 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively. Nearly six of 10 poor District residents are in extreme poverty.

Nice to know that government programs can work to create jobs and lift wages when you have the right priorities.

Posted by Mary at February 23, 2007 05:15 PM | US Politics | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |