So the census numbers are in: The official poverty rate rose to 12.7 percent last year. And as per our discussion below, those numbers might even understate matters. Interestingly, the number of uninsured Americans stayed the same only because Medicaid and S-CHIP, two liberal workhorses in the healthcare department, managed to pick up the slack. I’d just put that alongside an earlier Washington Post story, noting that, when they return to Congress next month to work on the budget, Republicans are going to have to look deep inside their souls for the courage to hack away at health insurance for children. So the picture is actually about to get much, much worse.
Which brings up a semi-important point: During the run-up to the election, liberals loved to mock Bush and the Republican Party for spending like—wait for it—a drunken sailor, despite the fact that the GOP is supposed to be the party of fiscal restraint. It was all good fun to watch self-proclaimed conservatives like the National Review throw confetti at Bush’s feet, and then squirm uncomfortably when the topic of spending was broached, but if anything, I’d sort of like to see those taunts die down. Cuts to Medicaid and other state programs would be really, really bad, and while it’s frustrating from a liberal point of view to see Bush, DeLay, Frist and other hypocritical Republicans get away with spending so lavishly while preaching restraint, really, the deficit isn’t that bad, and it would be much better if the GOP just failed to curb spending.