California Leads the Nation in Poverty
Again, I am not a poverty expert, nor a social worker, or a social ecology professor. I just looked up some US Census data.
This article arises from Donald Trump pulling the United States out of the U.N. Human Rights Council, because they criticized his treatment of and denial of refugees. But now we find out that they also issued a report on June 1 on the high rate of US poverty, and our well-known absence of social and medical programs available around the world. This is covered by Jenny Jarvie in today’s LA Times.
U.N. Special Rapporteur Philip Alston condemned the US persistence of and treatment of 40 million people in poverty. We spend eight times as much health care for the same life expectancies as some other countries. Our African American maternal mortality is double rates in other countries.
I checked out the Census Bureau Supplemental Poverty Measure to find that, indeed, California has the highest percentage in poverty than any other state, of 20%, or 1 in 5. This is 8 million Californians living in poverty. We are slightly beat by the D.C., at 21%, not a good national reflection, being our nation’s Capitol, and the location of Embassies of foreign governments. But back to California. The US average is 14.7%, or 1 in 7. California is 36% higher than the US average.
We are aware that demographically California has around 2.5 million undocumented, about a quarter of the nation’s total. They are prevented by the US from holding jobs with companies, and which the US Congress and Trump will not allow to be treated fairly. The exception to this are members of DACA, who are allowed to legally work. We have about 200,000 of the 750,000 DACA registrants. Trump tried to put an end to the program, but the courts blocked him. Trump has used the plight of DACA as a bargaining chip for his wall.
Social Security is responsible for reducing the number of people in poverty by 26.1%, mostly among people over 65, but for many others as well. Trump and Republicans are expected to attack it next year. Refundable Tax Credits have reduced poverty by 8.1%. The SNAP food program has decreased poverty by 3.6%. SSI has decreased poverty by 3.4%. Housing subsidies have decreased poverty by 3.1%. School lunch programs have reduced poverty by 1.3%.
Medical expenses have increased poverty by 10.5%, and we know of Trump’s attempts to reduce care and drive up expenses of Obamacare. He now wants to remove coverage of pre-existing conditions, which used to drive people into poverty. Trump and Repubicans also have done nothing to lower the steeply rising prices of medicines. The next negative is Work Expenses, which has increased poverty by 6.0%. FICA has increased poverty by 4.7%, and Federal Income Tax by 1.5%. Other factors were less than 1% either positive or negative.
I went to a talk on homelessness, and they showed their study that it cost less than half to house and feed the homeless, than to treat them only by prison and legal processing. Once the homeless have an arrest record, it is much harder for them to get jobs.
Another charge to poor people is Trump’s and Republicans’ cutting off funds to Planned Parenthood, which aid poor women, and prevents expensive unwanted pregnancies.
A funny thing happened on the way to the forum, or, while I was composing this. The Trump administration has attacked every food subsidy program, including those for children. Millions are served by each of these programs for many years.
But, the news just covered that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was upset about being refused service for a single meal at a restaurant because she worked for Trump. That is the current most read article on the Washington Post. She said that she was not making a divisive issue about it, but gave out the restaurant’s name and address. This of course is very dangerous, since it attracted Trump trools on Yelp and at the restaurant.