Home > Uncategorized > Rich-Poor Gap Widens to Most Since 1967 as Income Falls – Bloomberg

Rich-Poor Gap Widens to Most Since 1967 as Income Falls – Bloomberg

September 16, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

A census report showing median household income fell last year puts a new focus on the biggest issue of the U.S. presidential election. And it’s likely to be deployed by both candidates to reinforce their campaign themes.

The U.S. Census Bureau figures released yesterday underscored the struggles of American families in a sputtering economic recovery. The report also showed the income gap between rich and poor people grew to the widest in more than 40 years in 2011 as the poverty rate remained at almost a two-decade high.

“Weirdly, I think you’re going to see both sides take these numbers and suggest it’s evidence why ‘I should be elected,’” said Steve Jarding, a lecturer at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a former Democratic political consultant.

Median household income dropped 1.5 percent last year to $50,054 — the lowest level since 1995 when adjusted for inflation — while the proportion of Americans living in poverty was 15 percent, little changed from 2010. The 46.2 million people in poverty remained at the highest number in the 53 years since the Census Bureau has been collecting that statistic.

The economic plight of Americans is at the center of November’s presidential election. Republican challenger Mitt Romney argues that people are worse off because of President Barack Obama’s economic policies. Obama counters that Romney would push plans benefiting the wealthiest at the expense of the middle class and those striving to escape poverty.

‘More Evidence’

“Romney is going to say, ‘This is more evidence Obama failed,’” Jarding said. “Obama is saying, ‘It’s guys like Romney who gave us these income drops and this poverty level.’”

Romney has stressed tax cuts for wealthy “job creators” as a way of boosting economic growth, while Obama has focused on maintaining government support for education, health care and other programs financed by tax increases on higher-income earners.

The president got some good news from the census report, which said the number of Americans who lack health insurance declined to 15.7 percent from 16.3 percent. Many people under the age of 26 took advantage of a provision in Obama’s 2010 health-care overhaul that allowed them to be covered under their parents’ plans.

About 540,000 more young people were insured in 2011, the bureau said. Nationwide, about 48.6 million people were uninsured last year, compared with 49.9 million a year earlier.

via Rich-Poor Gap Widens to Most Since 1967 as Income Falls – Bloomberg.

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