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August 30, 2005

The Poverty Report

Matthew Yglesias writes:

TPMCafe || Economic News: As if the hurricane wasn't bad enough, we learn today that poverty is up for the fourth year in a row, median income is still flat, and the only thing preventing an explosion in the number of the uninsured is that federal programs the GOP is busy trying to eliminate are picking up the slack. This is bad stuff. The AP describes all this as happening "[e]ven with a robust economy" but, honestly, how robust is the economy if incomes are stagnating while poverty grows? Not very, I would think.

I expect this bad news will be met with a torrent of mumbo-jumbo, so one should state outright that there are various questions that could be raised about the accuracy or adequacy of the Census Bureau's statistics. That notwithstanding, these statistics are very good at capturing trend lines with a good deal of accuracy, so things are definitely getting worse.

Matt: The mumbo-jumbo started yesterday, with Jonathan Weisman's lead:

Measuring the Economy May Not Be as Simple as 1, 2, 3: The Census Bureau tomorrow will release the latest statistics on poverty in the United States, the income level of an average household and the number of Americans still lacking health insurance.

Don't believe the numbers.

Posted by DeLong at August 30, 2005 04:08 PM