‘the single most effective pieces of antipoverty legislation in decades’

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Our analysis of data that the Census Bureau released this week shows that the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was one of the single most effective pieces of antipoverty legislation in decades. In 2009, the Recovery Act’s temporary expansion of the safety net kept 4.5 million people out of poverty.

Last September, the Census Bureau reported that, under its official measure of poverty, which counts only a household’s cash income (not tax credits or non-cash government assistance such as food stamps), the poverty rate rose from 13.2 percent in 2008 to 14.3 percent in 2009.

On Tuesday, the Census Bureau released several new poverty figures for 2009 that rely on alternative, broader poverty measures — ones that include tax credits and non-cash benefits. Under almost all of these alternative measures, the safety net as a whole, including the Recovery Act expansions, prevented any rise in poverty in 2009, despite the deep recession and very high unemployment….

We examined the Census data to see how much of that poverty-reducing impact came from the Recovery Act expansions. We found that they kept more than 4.5 million people out of poverty in 2009 (see graph):

* 1.3 million people through extensions and expansions of federal unemployment benefits;
* 1.5 million people through improvements in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit;
* nearly 1 million people through the law’s new Making Work Pay tax credit; and
* 700,000 people through an increase in benefit levels for the SNAP program (previously called food stamps).

4 Responses to “‘the single most effective pieces of antipoverty legislation in decades’”

  1. 1 Theo67
    January 6, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    This is deeply impactful and important. Thanks to President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Tim Geithner, the Democrats, the three Republicans who voted for the Stimulus Plan, the Vice President for effectively executing, and all who voted for Barack Obama in 2008. I can’t even imagine the horror that would have ensued in this country (especially for the poor) if not for these fine people.

  2. 2 majii
    January 6, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    I am thankful for the president and the members of Congress who voted for the ARRA. For the first time in his 60 years of life, one of my brothers had to apply for food stamps because the construction company at which he worked, laid him off.

  3. 3 sherijr
    January 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    thank you chipsticks for this info.. have posted it to my facebook. This is the stuff the whole country needs to be made aware of.

  4. 4 joyce
    January 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Thank you again for giving us this information which we never hear about from MSM Thanks also for our president and his administration

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