La pauvreté américaine est notre plus important compétiteur (graphiques)

Nos chers voisins américains, ils ne sont pas sortis du bois, et nous aussi, car s’ils deviennent de plus en plus pauvres, ceci aura un impact direct sur notre compétitivité.

Donc, la pression va être de plus en plus forte de réduire nos salaires canadiens pour rester suffisamment compétitif.

Voici, un rapport sur l’étendue des dégâts de la pauvreté américaine.

At Risk: America’s Poor During and After the Great Recession

1.      At Risk America’s Poor During and After the Great RecessionThe Great Recession has left behind the largest number of long-term unemployed people since records were first kept in 1948.

More than four million Americans report that they have been unemployed for more than 12 months.

Although the official rate of unemployment is declining, much of this apparent progress is attributable to the fact that many adults are giving up on the search for a job.

The more telling indicator of an economy’s job-producing performance, the ratio of the number of employed people to the number of working-age adults (the “job-to-people” ratio), has improved only slightly since the Great Recession ended in June 2009.

If the long-term unemployed lose their unemployment insurance benefits before the economy produces enough well-paying jobs to approach full employment, the ranks of the “new poor” will steadily swell between now and 2017.

2.      Large numbers of Americans are already poor.

The official federal measure of poverty and a new “Supplemental Measure,” which accounts for several shortcomings in the official measure, both reveal a sobering fact: poverty in America is remarkably widespread.

In 2010, about 46.2 million Americans were living in poverty according to the official measure, or about 15.1% of the U.S. population. The rate of poverty is slightly larger (16%) using the supplemental measure.

Overall U.S. Poverty Rates, 1960-2010

3.      The number of people living in poverty is increasing and is expected to increase further, despite the recovery.

The proportion of people living in poverty has increased by 27% between the year before the onset of the Great Recession (2006) and 2010. During the same period (2006-2010), the total population of the United States grew by less than 3.3%. The official national estimates of people in poverty have risen each year since 2006: 36.5 million (2006), 37.3 million (2007), 39.8 million (2008), 43.6 million (2009), and 46.2 million (2010). Poverty is expected to increase again in 2011 due to the slow pace of the economic recovery, the persistently high rate of unemployment, and the long duration of spells of unemployment.

4.      The recent increase in the rate of poverty has not been uniform across subgroups.

The increase in poverty since 2006 has been greater among Hispanics and African Americans than among Whites, greater among children than among the elderly, and greater among female-headed households than other households.

U.S. Poverty Rates, By Race 1960-2010

More surprising, however, is the growth in poverty among working-age adults, especially younger people between the ages of 18 and 34.

Poverty Status of People, By Age 1966-2010

Après, on se demande pourquoi, nos jeunes contestent le système ?

Réveillez-vous l’État Providence a été fait sur leurs dos !, ajoutez une économie dysfonctionnelle, il lui reste quoi ?

Un État qui se dirige vers une faillite !

5.      Some states have experienced much larger increases in the rate of poverty than other states.

The ten states that have experienced the largest percentage point increase in the rate of poverty, since the onset of the Great Recession.

US-States - Percentage of People in Poverty

6.      Since the onset of the Great Recession, the performance of the American “safety net” has been uneven.

The entitlement programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – Food Stamps), Medicaid, and Unemployment

Insurance have responded robustly to the Great Recession – as unemployment rose and incomes fell, eligibility and participation in the safety net increased.

U.S. Poverty Rates, By Family Structure 1960-2010

«Many poor people work. Of the 8.8 million families who were recorded as poor in 2010, about 60% had at least one person working.

Almost three out of five poor people are considered of “working age” (18-64 years old), and this population is projected to grow even larger, with many “new poor,” unless the rate of long-term unemployment declines rapidly.

Lower-skilled adults ages 18 to 34 have experienced surprisingly large increases in poverty rates, as employers have tended to favor more experienced workers, and thus many of these long-term unemployed have returned home to live with their parents, have re-enrolled in school, or have begun living with friends.41 A distinct subgroup of the poor, i.e., those who have become poor during the Great Recession, the “new poor” of working age, should be the subject of careful study in the years ahead, p.19.»

In contrast, other programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and federal housing assistance, have not responded as effectively to the depressed economic conditions. Although it is more difficult to achieve fiscal control of entitlement programs that operate with mandatory spending, they have been the most responsive aspect of America’s safety net since the unexpected hardships of the Great Recession began.

U.S. Maximum Monthly TANF Benefits, July 2010

7.      While history is rife with examples of mismanagement and abuse of public funds used for a variety of government purposes, anti-poverty programs may be particularly vulnerable to being placed under the microscope, and perhaps subsequently at risk for budget cuts.

While evidence indicates that administrative and other mismanagement problems play a larger role in erroneous spending than fraud by program recipients, if these concerns are not handled carefully, there is additional risk that elected officials will respond hastily with reforms of the safety net that may put low-income Americans at additional risk.

8.      The adverse effects of the Great Recession would have been much worse had recent policy initiatives not been enacted by Congress.

The Obama administration and the Congress have responded with several policy initiatives aimed specifically at protecting the well-being of low-income Americans.

Americans, it would have been much worse without these recent policy actions.

9.      The Federal government’s large yearly deficits are creating pressures for spending control that are likely to result in cutbacks of the safety net.

The federal government’s deficit in fiscal year 2011 is estimated to be about $1.6 trillion. As a result, the 2011 federal agreement to raise the debt ceiling requires two rounds of cuts in the growth of federal spending. The implementation of this agreement will directly and indirectly put low-income Americans at risk. There are key safeguards in the agreement that exempt federal entitlement programs and cash assistance from cuts.

10.  Due to fiscal pressures, states are already making cuts to the safety net, and more are likely in the next several years.

With the 2009 stimulus package expired and revenues to state governments recovering slowly this year (due to the sluggish recovery), many states (from Washington and California to Michigan and Florida) are making cuts to unemployment insurance, temporary cash assistance, Medicaid benefits, and other services for low-income Americans.


Unemployment Insurance (UI)

Perhaps the most obvious form of assistance one would expect to be used during an economic downturn is Unemployment Insurance (UI). Created as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, UI replaces a fraction of the wages of those who lose their jobs, typically for up to 26 weeks. Responsibility for the program is shared between the federal government and states; the federal government pays for administrative costs, while states are responsible for the actual payments to individuals. (P.20)

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Formerly called “Food Stamps,” SNAP is a federal program that enables low-income persons to buy food through use of Electronic

Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. It is the largest federal food and nutrition program. The cards function like a debit card, but holders may only purchase basic foods (i.e., items such as personal products, alcohol/tobacco, pre-prepared hot food, and cleaning supplies are excluded).

U.S. Food stamp

For the first time in history, the monthly number of people using SNAP benefits recently exceeded the 40 million mark.  

Today, roughly one in every eight Americans benefits from SNAP. The average monthly SNAP benefit in fiscal year 2012 is projected to be $133.84 per person and $283.96 per household. In fiscal year 2012 alone, approximately $73.5 billion will be spent on SNAP by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In response to the Great Recession, SNAP spending was increased in the 2009 federal stimulus package. The large, temporary boostin SNAP spending (roughly $20 billion over 18 months) was triggered by several changes in program design and administration:

The fiscal pressure on some states may worsen before it eases. The pressure to restrain federal spending may cause Congress to reduce federalfiscal relief for the states, which are already struggling to balance budgets in the face of rising Medicaid costs and depressed revenues. If the federal government places more fiscal pressure on the states, which are required to balance their budgets, then states are likely to consider additional cuts to cash assistance, Medicaid and other safety-net programs. States may also be compelled to reduce funding for tax and educational policies that primarily benefit low-income populations. More state cuts to the safety net should be expected unless the recovery – and the resulting growth rate of state revenues – accelerates.

U.S. Portions of the $787 Billion Temporary Stimulus Program

The dilemmas faced by policy makers in the 2012-2017 period are vexing. The United States cannot afford the current level of government spending, but for a variety of reasons, elected officials are reluctant to pass tax increases. Promoting sustained economic growth, while at the same time protecting the well-being of the poor, the near poor, and the new poor, is the central challenge for the leaders of the United States.

U.S. Rank poverty States