From: Ann Jones
received: Sept. 18
I am disappointed that our local paper did not cover anything about the U.S. Census’ annual poverty report this past week. The report shows that in 2011, 46 million Americans lived in poverty, including more than one in four children under age 5.
In this report we learned that median household income declined by 1.5 percent and that poverty is unacceptably high at 15 percent of our population. It is a tragedy that in a country as blessed and as wealthy as ours, that nearly 1 in 7 of our fellow Americans struggle to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. In Indiana (2010), 21.6 percent children lived in poverty, with 16.2 percent of the population being food insecure.
Fortunately, we have tools to make things better. The earned income tax credit (EITC) and child tax credit (CTC) are very effective at poverty-reduction. In 2010, these credits lifted 9.2 million people out of poverty, more than half of them children. Firefighters, police officers, teachers, even military personnel benefit from these credits, which have until recently enjoyed broad bipartisan support. Unfortunately, key improvements to these credits will expire in December; and if House leadership gets its way, these credits would see even deeper cuts (while millionaires and billionaires get more tax cuts). The result is simple — more children and families in poverty.
The poverty data recently published shows how much work we still have to do. An effective and targeted safety net can reduce hardship. I urge Rep. Mike Pence and Sens. Richard Lugar and Dan Coats to put working families first. Don’t raise taxes on the poor and middle class — protect and extend the current EITC and CTC.
(Data from Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011, US Census Bureau, accessed Sept 12, 2012. EITC and CTC data from RESULTS)