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Perspective on Poverty
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Matthew quoted a news story about the recent Census numbers indicating an increase in poverty and those lacking in health insurance for 2003.

"The number of Americans living in poverty increased by 1.3 million last year, while the ranks of the uninsured swelled by 1.4 million, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.

Approximately 35.8 million people lived below the poverty line in 2003, or about 12.5 percent of the population, according to the bureau. That was up from 34.5 million, or 12.1 percent in 2002.

The rise was more dramatic for children. There were 12.9 million living in poverty last year, or 17.6 percent of the under-18 population. That was an increase of about 800,000 from 2002, when 16.7 percent of all children were in poverty.

Nearly 45 million people lacked health insurance, or 15.6 percent of the population. That was up from 43.5 million in 2002, or 15.2 percent, but was a smaller increase than in the two previous years."

It behooves the Democrats to make the economic picture seem as bleak as possible, so obviously they're pleased by these numbers.

But let's put things in a bit of perspective, shall we? The percentage of Americans living under the poverty level increased from 12.1% in 2002 to 12.5% last year.

Can anyone say cite what percentage of Americans were living below the poverty level in 1995, three years after Bill Clinton was in office?


Well, looking at the U.S. Census Bureau's statistics (which I'm sure someone will tell me are inaccurate for those years recorded under Democratic Presidents for some reason), the number is: 13.8%.

How about 1996? Hmm...try 13.7%.

In fact, punching up a few numbers on my calculator, it looks as if the average percentage of Americans living in poverty in the 90's was around 13.5%.

And we all remember what a shitty, economically bleak decade that was, don't we?

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