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Americans Living Below Poverty Line Hits Record Under Obama

Image: Americans Living Below Poverty Line Hits Record Under Obama

By Melissa Clyne   |   Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 09:14 AM

Despite years of railing about income inequality, the poor are no better off today than they were when President Obama took office in 2008.

About 50 million Americans live below the poverty line and a record 47 million of them — 13 million more than when the president assumed office — receive food stamps, The Washington Times reports. The federal government defines the poverty line as a family of four earning $23,550.

Since President Lyndon Johnson waged the war on poverty 50 years ago, the plight has been labeled with many a catch phrase: class warfare and income equality to name a few. But in those 50 years, things haven’t changed much.

In two generations, the poverty rate has fallen only to 15 percent from 19 percent, according to The New York Times. And that figure has stood at 15 percent for three consecutive years, for the first time in nearly 50 years.

About 50 million Americans live below the poverty line, which the federal government defined in 2013 as an annual income of $23,550 for a family of four.

In 2007, the year before Obama took office, the poverty rate was 12.5 percent.

"President Obama's anti-poverty efforts are basically to give more people more free stuff," Robert Rector, a specialist on welfare and poverty at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told The Washington Times.

Obama has lobbied for "states to expand their Medicaid programs to poor, childless adults, and is pushing for an increase in the minimum wage and funding for early-childhood programs," according to The New York Times.

" … In any given month, 1.7 million households were living on cash income of less than $2 a person a day, with the prevalence of the kind of deep poverty commonly associated with developing nations increasing since the mid-1990s."

At his Jan. 28 State of the Union address, Obama plans to argue in favor of raising the minimum wage from its current $7.25 per hour, the rate since 2009, according to Bloomberg. Democratic Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin has sponsored a bill seeking to raise it to $10.10 an hour.

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