Coalition on Human Needs Report

I received the following October 26:

"We have good news and bad news to share.

The good news: Sustained economic gains and strong state and federal programs have led to welcome progress in the nationwide fight against poverty in recent years.  Our nation experienced a 2.1 percentage point drop in poverty in the poverty rate between 2016 and 2016 - the largest two-year decline since 1969.

The bad news: The budget Congress just passed threatens to make things worse -- much worse.

The budget sets Congress on  a path to cut taxes massively and overwhelmingly for corporations and wealthy people.  Those tax cuts will be paid for, now and in the future, by cutting services that help people rise out of poverty, undoing hard-won progress. 

These are among the findings of a new report, Poverty and Progress: Poverty is Down in the U.S., but New Threats Ahead, released today by the Coalition on Human Needs.

We found:

The U.S. poverty rate was 12.7 percent in 2016, down from 13.5 percent in 2015 and from 14.8 percent in 2014.

Through the years, effective anti-poverty programs have lifted millions of Americans out of poverty.  Examples: in 2016 alone, 8.1 million people were lifted out of poverty by low-income refundable tax credits; 3.1 million fewer people were poor because of housing subsidies; and 3.6 million fewer people were living in poverty because of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/formerly food stamps).  Supplemental Security Income lifted 3.4 million people out of poverty, and the school lunch program did the same for 1.3 million people.

And now, such programs face severe cuts.  The budget Congress just passed assumes trillions of dollars in cuts from programs such as Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, low-income tax credits, education, child care and other social services programs, rental assistance and job training."

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