The Congressional Research Service continues to produce reports laden with information on major issues, analysis unlikely to be popular with one entire side of the political spectrum. For this, it deserves a pat on the back. Sadly, it would seem facts do have a liberal bias, to repeat a common saying some now find annoying.
And Steve Aftergood's Secrecy blog continues to make the Service's reports available to the web, as it has done with Poverty in the United States: 2011.
"In 2011, 46.2 million people were counted as poor in the United States, the same number as in 2010 and the largest number of persons counted as poor in the measure's 53-year recorded history," reads the opening sentence in the report's summary.
"The increase in poverty over the last four years reflects the effects of the economic recession that began in December 2007," it continues. "Some analysts expect poverty to remain above pre-recessionary levels for as long as a decade, and perhaps longer ..."
Excerpts from graphs in the CRS report, Poverty in the United States: 2011, illustrate the assertions.
The graphs show that poverty reached a low at the end of the Clinton administration, but began a slow rise during the presidency of George W. Bush, reaching a plateau in the middle of its eight years before abruptly beginning to soar in 2007, the onset of the economic collapse brought on by Wall Street.
The Obama administration inherited the Bush economy, one that was failing catastrophically in 2008, when the number of people falling into poverty increased at a chilling rate.
The graph excerpted above shows the millions of people in poverty from 2000 to 2012, the red line showing totals, the blue -- the elderly, and the green line, the national average in terms of the percentage of the national population.
This second graph shows poverty statistics by age group, one in which children are shown as the most affected.
The above map shows the states with the highest increases in poverty. In a fair interpretation, although poverty has increased virtually everywhere in the country (except perhaps in a geographic ring around the capital marking the governing population and its support) the modern radical GOP control the majority of the economies of the states where things are the worst.
Over the course of the Obama administration, GOP politics in the House and Senate have made it largely impossible to do anything about the economy except practice austerity and maintenance of the status quo. It is therefore remarkable, that at least for the elderly, poverty -- the CRS notes -- has reached an historic low.
However, not all of the nation has done very badly in the last few years. And, for this, the Obama administration must shoulder responsibility.
At a time when so many Americans at home see their lives blighted by an economy of no opportunity, there is one place immune from the problems of being poor.
It is in arms manufacturing and sales, and the following chart -- published originally at the New York Times, shows a stark moral dilemma faced by the United States.
In a nation as powerful and with as many resources as ours, it is unconscionable that such a divergence in conditions between the many, and a chosen few -- in this case, the makers of the instruments of war, exists. It is pure immorality -- in graphs.
Again, Poverty in the United States: 2011, at the Secrecy blog, is here.
Today's topical video music entertainment interlude: The Rich Man's Burden.