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Bernie & Child Poverty September 13, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

Bernie Sanders at the debate last night:

“We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world. And yet, we have the highest child poverty rate of almost any country on Earth,” he said.

What he meant to say, I’m sure, was “almost any developed country on Earth.” But if we spot him that, how much of a problem is child poverty?

Well, from this year’s Census Bureau report on Income and Poverty in the United States, we have this lovely chart, showing childhood poverty (the blue line) is as low as it’s been in almost 40 years:

CensusBureau2019ChartofPovertybyAge.gifSo, while having any children living in poverty is a tragedy, it’s not a new emergency.

Why is the child poverty rate as high as it is? Well, a Heritage report looking at 2015 data noted that:

Around 70 percent of child poverty occurs in single-parent families. Children in single-parent homes are about five times more likely to be poor than are children in married-couple homes. Most non-married fathers are employed and typically have higher incomes than the children’s mothers. If poor single mothers were married to the fathers of their children, about two-thirds would immediately be lifted out of poverty.

Lifting 2/3 of 70% of children out of poverty means that you would cut the poverty level in half, with no cost. Eliminating illegal immigration and limiting legal immigration to those who can demonstrate self-sufficiency (per the old immigration standards) would cut poverty still further.

But I’m guessing that Bernie would rather spend other people’s money rather than promote nuclear families, limit immigration, or address other root causes.


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