It’s interesting while reading about “15% of Americans living in poverty” on the CNN website that it’s doubtful that 15% of the readers are ones who are living in poverty. It seems that in the 1960s, most people who were poor knew that they were. Their frustration often flared up in the form of what were gently described as “urban disturbances” but more commonly known as riots. Some feel that the source of the outbursts in the 1960s was rising expectation; the sense by the poor that things could get better, but they just weren’t. In the 2000s, it seems that the expectations that the poor hold are rather limited because this is what the past half-century has taught them to believe. Additionally, the standard of living for middle income families has also stagnated. Since the Bush Recession, we have had some macro-economic growth. But when it comes to jobs and household income, the story is not one of success. Median household income fell from $51,100 in 2011 to $51,017 in 2012 (an $83.00 drop).
Tangentially, one of the reasons why Larry Summers was disliked so much by progressives is because he favored a much smaller stimulus in 2009 than other economic advisors to the President. In 2013 while Republicans continue to oppose government spending, no matter how good it can be for the country (including Republicans), progressives want another larger stimulus package. It will take an unexpected turn to the left in the 2014 elections for this to happen. In the meantime, we might look at the latest economic news on poverty to be better acquainted with the scope of the problem. Steve Hargreaves writes about it on the CNN website.