Economic Growth Isn’t Leading to Less Poverty

Neil Irwin: “The surest way to fight poverty is to achieve stronger economic growth.”

“But over the last generation in the United States, that simply hasn’t happened. Growth has been pretty good, up 147 percent per capita. But rather than decline further, the poverty rate has bounced around in the 12 to 15 percent range — higher than it was even in the early 1970s.”

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Irwin writes that “if you adjust for the higher number of hours worked, over the 1979 to 2007 period … hourly pay for the bottom 20 percent of households rose only 3.2 percent. Total, not per year. In other words, in nearly three decades, these lower-income workers saw no meaningful gain in what they were paid for an hour of labor.”

“The data also shows rising inequality as the biggest factor in contributing to the poverty rate, dwarfing those other shifts.”

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  • pitch1934

    No s..t Sherlock. Almost every dollar of this “recovery” has gone to the top 10% with the majority of that going to the top 1%. The average worker man and woman has been totally screwed over by the Adelsons, Kochs and other wealthy robber barons who are now running this country for their own benefit. Just ask Geithner and Bernanke if you don’t believe me.

  • embo66

    What more proof do we need that America’s embrace of the Reagan-Republican “trickle down” approach to economics over the past 30 years has been a huge mistake? Clearly, low taxes for the rich makes profits move only in one direction: UP.

    And it ain’t just poverty rates that are stagnant. The middle class has been treading water for nearly as long as the truly poor.

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