Friday, July 10, 2009

Is a New Federal Poverty Measure Coming?

On June 17th, Rep. Jim McDermott, chairman of the Income Security and Family Support Subcommittee, introduced legislation that would update the way poverty is measured in the United States for the first time in half a century. The Measuring American Poverty Act of 2009, H.R. 2909, would largely implement recommendations developed by the National Academy of Sciences after it independently studied the way poverty is measured over ten years ago.“The way we measure poverty today is based on spending patterns from the 1950s to account for ordinary family expenses, but America in 2009 is different than America was in 1959, and we don’t take that into account,” McDermott said. “We also don’t take into account assistance provided to vulnerable Americans through programs like nutrition assistance and expanded tax credits to help people earn their way out of poverty,” McDermott added. “In the end, I want a system that is fair to the people who need help and fair to the people providing it, the taxpayers." (From the press release)

A discussion of the new poverty measure can be seen on the Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity’s webcast. Mark Greenberg of Georgetown University and the Center for American Progress, Mark Levitan of the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) and Indivar Dutta-Gupta of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support examine the need for a new federal poverty measure and discussed whether a new federal poverty measure could trigger an increase in federal government spending for aid programs aimed at low-income and poor families.

Policies to expand economic success and reduce child poverty.

No comments:

Post a Comment