The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Making the Poor Disappear

Aug 5, 2019

The current administration plans to change how the consumer price index (CPI) is used to count the number of people living in poverty. This change would cut the number of people counted as “poor,” and therefore cut the number eligible for the few benefits that remain.

But EVERY administration has played with statistics, manipulating the number of people considered poor. For example, in 1950 the poverty level was considered half the average income for the population. In the present, the figures of “poor” have been cut in half by defining poverty as one quarter of the average income.

Bill Clinton said his administration would “end welfare as we know it.” Yes, welfare benefits were cut. But poverty did not go away.

During Obama’s administration,40% of children were considered to be living in poverty and about 12% of seniors qualified for low-income assistance. That means millions were living in poverty while both the state and federal governments cut social services.

The Trump administration follows a long tradition of manipulating statistics on poverty for political gain.