Poverty Is Rising. It Will Keep Rising Unless Congress Acts.

Jason DeParle reports that poverty is on the rise:

After an ambitious expansion of the safety net in the spring saved millions of people from poverty, the aid is now largely exhausted and poverty has returned to levels higher than before the coronavirus crisis, two new studies have found.

Here it is in chart form:

I’m unsure whether to count this as good news or bad. Technically, DeParle is right: poverty levels have risen to above their March level. At the same time, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the poverty rate is still lower than it’s been for all but a few months of the past several years.

It all depends on what happens next. If the poverty rate flattens out at around 11 percent, that would be better than nearly anyone had predicted. But if it keeps going up—as it probably will if Congress fails to pass an aid package—millions of people will be forced into needless suffering. The obvious solution is to pass the damn aid package. There’s not much downside and there’s a ton of upside.

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