“This is my apprentice, Darth Baloney…”
(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
I was intrigued by President Obama’s claim that when one includes transfers that the poverty rate has declined substantially from the 1960s. This would seem to represent a considerable problem for those attempting to waive off the poor performance of American public education based upon a poverty mantra. Spending up and poverty down makes for a tough sell.
Well sure enough, the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a handy-dandy blow-by-blow on how the official poverty rate masks progress on poverty. It has charts like:
Hmm, that looks like 11% when it used to be 22.5% or so. An addition illuminating chart:
If you are squinting at that last one, it basically shows that the inflation adjusted (in constant 2011 dollars) income of the poorest fifth of Americans almost doubled between 1964 and 2011 once various transfers (food stamps, EITC etc.) have been taken into account.
Before you ask, childhood poverty is also down (see Figure 5a on page 23). So basically you have a very hard time blaming increasing poverty for this: