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Your Turn: Is the War on Poverty ‘Largely Over and a Success’?

by Countable | 7.23.18

What’s the story?

  • The Trump administration recently declared the War on Poverty “largely over and a success.”
  • “Based on historical standards of material wellbeing and the terms of engagement, our War on Poverty is largely over and a success,” the White House Council of Economic Advisers explained in a report.

Jobless claims drop

  • Buttressing the War on Poverty-is-over declaration: The U.S. weekly jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since 1969 earlier this month.
  • Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 207,000 for the week ending July 14, the lowest reading since early December 1969.

Trade War not affecting economic growth

  • A Federal Reserve survey released last week showed “moderate or modest” economic growth, even, as Bloomberg wrote, “tariffs heightened concern among manufacturers and boosted some producer prices.”
“Manufacturers in all districts expressed concern about tariffs and in many districts reported higher prices and supply disruptions that they attributed to the new trade policies,” the report said. “All districts reported that labor markets were tight and many said that the inability to find workers constrained growth.”

Income inequality rises

  • Despite the above, income inequality in the U.S. continues to grow. That’s according to a new paper released by the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit, nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C. 
  • In 2015, the top 1 percent of families made just over 25 times what families in the bottom 99 made.
“Rising inequality affects virtually every part of the country, not just large urban areas or financial centers,” said Estelle Sommeiller, a co-author of the report.

Expanding Work Requirements

  • The Council of Economic Advisers  is using its declaration of “Mission Accomplished” to make the case for expanding the use of work requirements on Americans who benefit from assistance programs. Indeed, the line "our War on Poverty is largely over and a success" comes from a report titled "Expanding Work Requirements in Non-Cash Welfare Programs."
“Expanding work requirements in these noncash welfare programs would improve self-sufficiency,” the report said, “with little risk of substantially reversing progress in addressing material hardship.”

What do you think?

Is the War on Poverty “largely over and a success”? Are you feeling the effects of a booming economy? Should the U.S. impose stricter work requirements on government assistance programs? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman


(Photo Credit: Surachet99 / iStock)

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