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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 10/19/20

Those Gosh-Darn Lazy Unemployed People

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Message Frank Stricker

Making an Adjustment to Poverty
Making an Adjustment to Poverty
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Jason Turner, who advises conservative state officials on aid policies, says he is not worried about poverty. "Poverty is an arbitrary income threshold, and people who dip below it, they make adjustments." The fact that the number of people in poverty went up by 8,000,000 in the last couple of months? No big deal--"a modest amount".

Turner probably thinks poverty lines are too high. Right now they are in the range of $25,000 to $28,000 for a family of four, depending on who's counting. So if you have $29,000 of income a year, you are not poor. Really?

Anyway, it is no big deal to be poor. Turner worries about people not working because it contributes, he says, to physical- and mental-health declines and more substance abuse. I guess poverty is a picnic. And apparently there are plenty of job opportunities. Turner says: "There's just lots of opportunity that's not being accessed."

How about some facts? Not that it matters to Republican conservatives who like to cut government-assistance programs, but facts matter for those of us who live in the real world where truth and the impact of policy decisions on levels of human misery are vital. For one thing, poor people often have more trouble finding jobs than affluent people. That is the case right now. Also, it should be obvious, even to the densest dunderhead, that we face a severe shortage of jobs. Depending on how we do the stats, the number of unemployed people in September ranged from 12.6 million to 26.1 million. In August, the most recent estimate, job openings totaled 6.5 million. So do the math, Jason. And get a heart while you are at it.


Estimates of unemployment and job openings

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Number of unemployed in September, 2020: 12.6 million.

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job openings for August, 2020: 6.5 million.

Fuller unemployment estimates

National Jobs for All Network: Unemployed including the official count, part-timers who want full-time work and those who say they want a job but have not looked recently: 26.1 million.

National Jobs for All Network: Unemployed including official count and those who want jobs but haven't looked recently but not part-time workers who want full-time jobs: 19.8 million

Jason Turner and recent poverty rates are discussed in Jason DeParle, "8 Million Have Slipped into Poverty Since May as Federal Aid Has Dried Up," The New York Times, Oct. 15, 2020.

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Frank Stricker Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Emeritus Professor of History, Labor and Interdisciplinary Studies, California State University, Dominguez Hills; board member of National Jobs for All Network.
Author of American Unemployment: Past, Present, and Future (University of (more...)

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