Washington: Recalculating Poverty

Recalculating Poverty

It may be of little comfort to the truly destitute, but the number of poor Americans dropped by several million in one day last week. By broadening the definition of income to include benefits from Medicare and Medicaid, rent subsidies and food stamps, the U.S. Census Bureau calculated that 27.6 million Americans, 11.6% of the population, lived below the poverty line in 1986. Previous computations placed the number of impoverished at 32.4 million. The study found Social Security more effective than the tax system and need-based welfare programs in lifting Americans out of poverty. This will doubtless strengthen Social Security's resistance...

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