Yesterday the Census Bureau released the 2010 data on income, poverty, and health insurance in America. The numbers paint a bleak picture: American families continue to struggle with the long-lasting effects of the Great Recession. Family income has fallen to the lowest level since 1997 while the number of Americans living in poverty and without health insurance has risen to new highs—all at a time when millions continue to face foreclosure and job loss.
Yesterday’s data underscore the urgent need for Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, which would jump-start the economy and put millions of Americans back to work. As Congress seeks to pay for job-creation measures, the data tell an important story about the success of programs such as Social Security, unemployment insurance, and the earned income tax credit in keeping families out of poverty and preventing an even deeper rise in uninsurance rates. Rising need coupled with data on the efficacy of these and similar programs in preventing deeper hardship point toward pursuing a course in deficit reduction that creates jobs, protects struggling families, and does not further exacerbate rising poverty and inequality.
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