Washington, D.C.—Today, John D. Podesta, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement in reaction to the poverty statistics announced by the Census Bureau:
The Census poverty numbers released today show the legacy of failed Bush economic policies and the burden of the Great Recession on American families and children.
The Obama administration has championed policies to right past wrongs and mitigate the recession’s effects with landmark legislation including the Recovery Act, health reform, and financial reform. These progressive policies have set in motion a process that puts our nation on the right path, saving millions of jobs and ensuring that all Americans will be able to access health care.
Today’s numbers are a reminder of the work that remains to be done. Congress must act on behalf of America’s working families to extend the middle-class tax cuts while allowing those cuts that exclusively benefit the wealthy to expire. And it must pursue policies that create employment and help those hardest hit by the Great Recession to get back on their feet.
Inaction is both costly and unjust. Child poverty alone costs the economy more than $500 billion a year in lost productivity and increased health and criminal justice expenditures. More importantly, it is unacceptable that more than one in five children in America live in poverty with growing disparities by race and ethnicity.
Congress should act now to strengthen our middle class, ensure a shared economic recovery, and send a message that we will not stand by and watch as 43.6 million Americans experience the hardships of poverty. We must do better.
Today’s census numbers show the largest number of people in poverty on record. Analysis of today’s poverty numbers by the Center for American Progress’s experts includes: