Wages Down, Poverty Up
by Scott Shields, Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 08:26:43 AM EDT
Between 2003 and 2004, real median earnings among men dropped 2.3%. During the same period, the earnings of women fell just 1%. In 2004, there were 1,100,000 more people living in poverty than in 2003. While the numbers didn't move in the Northeast, South, or West, real median household income fell nearly 3% in the Midwest. Interestingly, the only group for which the poverty rate increased was non-Hispanic whites. Asians were the only group for which poverty rates actually declined. Fortunately, the poverty rate among the most vulnerable -- children under 18 and adults 65 and over -- did not increase from 2003. There was a half-percent increase for adults 18 to 64.
This data suggests that many of the people most likely to vote Republican -- Midwestern young and middle-aged white men -- are the ones hurt worst by the economic policies put in place by the Republican-run White House, Senate, and House.
And things are likely to get worse. This report comes right on the heels of the news that Congressional Republicans plan to push through major budget cuts in the next few weeks.Lawmakers are drafting proposals that would cut billions of dollars from the growth of Medicaid, slice into student loans just as students return to college, pare back food stamps and trim farm price supports in the midst of a Midwestern drought.
The GOP plans to slash farm subsidies by $2.4 billion, Medicaid by $10 billion, and food stamps by $600 million. These public expenditures, especially Medicaid and food stamps will directly impact the people that this new economic data is already impacting the most.The income and poverty estimates shown in this report are based solely on money income before taxes and do not include the value of noncash benefits such as food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, public housing, and employer-provided fringe benefits.
If I can suggest to the GOP a name for their new budget cuts, how about "The Kick 'Em When They're Down Act of 2005?" It seems pretty accurate.