Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Elections Matter


According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in 2015 rose to $56,516.  That was an increase of 5.2 percent from the previous year.  It marks the first increase in median income since 2007, the year before the Great Recession.

Furthermore, the poverty rate ticked down to 13.5 percent in 2015, from 14.8 percent in 2014.

Census officials have reported that behind the pay hike is a significant increase in employment.  Roughly, 3.3 million more Americans were working full-time, year-round, thereby pushing up median income.  About 1.4 million more men and 1 million more women had jobs last year, resulting in the annual unemployment rate falling to 5.3 percent in 2015, compared to 6.2 percent in 2014.

These statistics shows that the economy has been improving, and confirm that the measures to encourage increases in employment, wages and healthcare are beginning to pay off.  The minimum wage increases and Medicaid expansion are examples of real change.  And, the lowest-income Americans saw their incomes rise the most, while the top 10 percent has had the weakest growth.

Our economy hasn't fully healed, because the median household income remains 2.4 percent lower than it was in 1999, when it peaked at $57,909. 

According to the Economic Policy Institute, since 2000, the median earnings for men working full-time are down 0.1, but the earning of women are up 7.8 percent.  

Income inequality remained at the same level as 2014.  It has increased by 5.5 percent since 1993.  However, the poverty rate is the lowest it's been since 2008, when it was 13.2 percent.

The poverty threshold for two adults and two children was just over $24,000 last year.  In 2015,  43.1 million Americans were in poverty, which was 3.5 million less than in 2014.  The last time the poverty rate went down more than a percentage point was in the late 1960s.

In 2015, food stamps lifted 4.6 million people above the poverty line.  However,  FDR’s Social Security kept 26.6 million people out of poverty. 

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