In Biden’s war on poverty, poverty — especially for kids — is winning

What a cruel irony: The president whose policy obsession from Day 1 in the Oval Office has been not to grow the economy but to reduce income inequality has presided over a near-record surge in the percentage of Americans in poverty.

That’s the finding of the Census Bureau’s annual data report released this week.

In just a year, from 2021 to 2022, poverty in America rose by almost 5 percentage points, from 7.8% to 12.4%. 

Today nearly 40 million Americans live in poverty.

Worse is the more than doubling of the child poverty rate, from 5.2% to the same 12.4%.

So much for no child left behind.

Wait. Isn’t this supposed to be a recovery?

The COVID pandemic ended more than a year ago, and the government flooded the zone with some $6 trillion in “stimulus” and “recovery” money. 

Where did all that cash go? Where’s the comeback? 

Even with Biden spending $1.1 trillion on welfare programs, the percentage of Americans who are very poor surges.

That’s not all. Inflation-adjusted middle-class incomes also have now officially fallen by nearly $2,000 since Biden came into office. 

Lunch Bucket Joe isn’t doing much to help the working-class Americans either.

Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that Biden was trumpeting the success of Bidenomics

To quote the late, great Emily Litella, who also got confused in front of the TV cameras: “Well. Never mind.”

What’s all the more disheartening about these grim numbers documenting an economy that isn’t working for at least half of Americans is that under Donald Trump’s presidency, we saw the opposite trends.

Median household incomes under Trump didn’t decline by $2,000 — they rose by $6,000. 

As the chart shows, poverty didn’t increase under Trump’s presidency.

Just the opposite: The overall poverty rate fell to match its lowest level ever officially recorded (since 1959), and blacks and Hispanics saw their lowest poverty rates ever as well.

The percentage of Americans under the poverty line has grown 3.2% since Biden took office.
The percentage of Americans under the poverty line has grown 3.2% since Biden took office.

The left blames the rise in poverty in 2022 on the expiration of a $5,000-per-child welfare payment the federal government had been sending to families during COVID. 

But Biden wanted to extend the program and suspend any work requirements to get the free money. 

It’s hard to see how you can move families out of poverty and into economic self-reliance when no one in the household is working.

And if $1.1 trillion of income support isn’t keeping people out of poverty, maybe we better blow up these 50 separate programs and figure out how to spend the money more wisely.

The real economic brake-rail has been the surge of inflation. 

Last year consumer prices rose by the highest level in 35 years — 7.8%. 

Those higher prices plunged millions of Americans into poverty as their paychecks couldn’t catch up.

To be fair, these are the official 2022 numbers, and so far 2023 has seen an improvement in higher wages and lower inflation. But for how long? 

The just-released gauge of inflation for August saw a major one-month rise in prices thanks to higher energy costs.

But none of this has prevented Biden from pronouncing: “Guess what? Bidenomics is working.”

But where? And for whom, exactly? 

Not for the middle class. Not for the very poor. Not for single mothers. Not for kids.

But maybe for Democratic donors.

Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economist at FreedomWorks.

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