Something Left Behind

Something Left Behind

This morning, the top headline of the U.S. edition of the Huffington Post was, More Than Half Of American Schoolchildren Now Live In Poverty. In the evening, the top headline became, Obama To Propose Tax Hikes On Wealthy, Breaks For Middle Class. Coincidence? Timing? One thing for sure, liberal bloggers and pundits are going to put A and B together to make the case for raising the capital gains tax for the rich. The current rate is 15%, while the working class pay a top rate of 39.6% federal income tax!

Although the the earlier HuffPo headline mentions poverty directly, the actual report reads: "51 percent of the students across the nation's public schools were low income in 2013". According to the report, this rate has been increasing steadily; from 32 percent in 1981, to 38 percent in 2000, to 42 percent in 2006 and after the Great Recession in 2011, 48 percent. Numbers to be concerned about, but still, poverty and low income are not the same thing; And HuffPo should know better. Yet another example of of subtle media manipulation.

I have always thought that opinion polls do more to skew public opinion that to reflect it. This cause-effect is not always immediately obvious, but a little scrutiny brings it out. For example, where do the above numbers come from? Polls? IRS data? In this case, it turns out that 1989 to 2007 data comes from the "U.S. Department of Agriculture maintained data by state on the numbers of students approved for free or reduced-priced lunches (FRL) under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)". So, did the "approval criteria", or the criteria for "poverty rate" on which it is based, change during this time? ...

Irrespective, in the richest nation on Earth, it shouldn't be acceptable that more and more kids are in poverty or near poverty. We are leaving our kids behind.
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