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Census Bureau last week was -- with very sobering numbers from 2012.
-- -- the poverty rate is stuck.
Meaning 46 and a half million Americans.
Living in poverty that's not a good sign at the same time we're seeing -- gap between that the rich and the poor get wider.
And wider to break up all of these things down we have the senior fellow.
At the Brookings institute also the co director of the center on children and families Ron Haskins joining me from the Brookings Institution -- Hi Ron thank you my good beer it's museum.
-- -- what you make of this.
Census data showing that we -- of the recession and we have been for quite some time but for our most Americans it still feels like -- in recession.
-- I was gonna say a lot of this may be out of the recession than fair number not.
Poverty is did not improve.
And it's been bad ever since the beginning of the recession actually it's been pretty bad since 2001 we had a recession 2001 it was kind of -- warm -- for the 2007 recession.
So it's not good also the incoming numbers are not good.
So we we definitely have some problems and I would not expect them to really.
-- and we won't begin to make a lot of progress either wants Americans behavior changes a lot or employment picks up.
Which people here are predicting whom we won't get to pre recession levels of employment helped when he team.
Median -- come right now 51000.
Dollars give or take that number's been stagnant for awhile.
Sedin spoke about two things don't have to happen.
Blows the first thing I even setting Enron.
People have been helped -- stop.
Behaving the way they do they -- better decisions what did -- what is different from what what does that mean I feel like people are doing differently.
Well OK here's here's a very.
Here's a very simple one we can reduce poverty.
By close to 30%.
Without spending more government money if we had the marriage rate that we had in 1970.
Single parent families -- -- huge part of this prominent in the continues to grow year after year after year primarily because of the increase in non marital -- So if you have so many households that have only one potential murderer and many of them don't work.
That's a big problem and -- that.
Portion of the population increases it's hard to make progress against poverty.
And oftentimes that breadwinner -- that single family household is the woman who traditionally made last for a man so.
That's -- I come over here this is -- yet.
Going and I'm sorry not add it to say I always gonna lose you got your your.
-- I was just going to say that even -- we have more of these households.
The one bright picture our employment is that women work at much higher race in the past including single women who used to have very very low.
I'll race and since roughly the mid 1960s and -- for reform and another number of other changes.
These low income mothers have gone to work controlled as they drove the poverty rate -- among kids and female headed families.
And among black children because there are very likely to living single parent families so that's a fairly positive thing and Hank and I -- -- there -- even more likely work now though they were.
Before in the mid 1990s.
Even after these recession so that's a good thing.
The house passed a bill that would cut.
Food stamps that program -- forty billion dollars over a decade.
If if that bill is passed will what is the likelihood there but what are the ramifications of that.
Well -- on -- UNAIDS the official poverty level that would be no ramifications because official poverty whoever doesn't it.
Does not come food stamps.
-- but in fact.
Among Americans who would have a major impact if you can't do if you did poverty a little bit differently and counted the value -- themes that people.
It's probably around three -- him for four million people who are removed.
From poverty because of food stamps so depending on exactly how the food stamp cuts are made it could have a very substantial.
Increase in the poverty rate -- as -- say depending on how it's implement.
Is it done.
Is it -- fair assumption to make that if you cut food -- spending people will be encouraged to go out and get another job or get a job.
Or does -- yes.
I think as a general.
As a general proposition that -- welfare benefits the more people work.
But that's not the way our system has been developed over the years we actually encourage people who work.
By providing some benefits when they work and some these benefits only one network.
Like your income cash credit.
Pitch so to speak to low income families while you get a job we know you're not gonna make enough to get yourself out of -- because you're gonna make minimum wager a little bit more.
But we will supplement your income with food stamps -- their income tax credit and so forth now for child care.
So that's system is has proven to be quite effective and if you include those benefits.
We have really managed to reduce poverty among -- female headed families.
Is there anything else that you would say it for being one of the drivers of high levels of poverty in this country aside from single family households.
-- I think work is is a a major factor of we find if you interview people who do not work that they usually do not give.
The inability to find employment as a reason they have all all kinds of other reasons.
Fortunately for females we had fewer those in the country than in the past and obviously during a recession and time like we have now you know it's not a recession.
We still have not recovered the jobs that we lost during a recession and so that is a problem.
But if more people tried to work and -- I'll look for work as they did in the nineties.
It would reduce poverty for sure and one other difference of course is education.
You know we're stuck in the mud on poverty levels and on income we so we all we are stuck on the models on education we just have not kept up with the rest of world.
And that's probably in the long run the biggest single -- -- that we have to improve education we have to have more people.
With post secondary education and skills do you believe that the federal minimum wage should be race.
I would not raise the minimum wage that's one of the reasons that we have their income tax credit because it's a much more direct.
Impact on the people we can target -- a lot better.
The disadvantage of raising minimum wage and everybody knows this it does have impact on employment.
Most economists I think agree.
That if you raise it a little bit it probably want him too much human impact of puberty so a lot and it won't have much of the time I know you have that what -- work order is very.
It's very poorly targeted if you raise minimum wage you're gonna affect a lot of people who that -- not a public policies not that concerned about like college students.
Right and it's very sobering night -- said it's not going to be until 2018 that I'm planning gets two more healthy level that's.
That's -- long time from now for half a decade.
Yes and -- I don't think anybody really understands that I'm a Brookings I'm surrounded by economists.
All of -- have theories about I'm not sure we really understand that this is have been very slow recovery.
The recovery in 2000 from the 2001 recession -- -- was pretty slow as well.
It may be -- -- fundamental changes in American economy and we're not gonna generate the numbers of jobs low wage jobs at.
Are so helpful to low income families especially when supplemented by public benefit so this is -- very serious problem I don't see the solution.
And there is one thing -- -- -- -- I was gonna say there's one thing policy -- during a recession.
The federal government gave the states money to subsidize jobs mostly in private sector.
And that did have a big impact to -- -- 60000 jobs were created in that way.
That might be -- good approach we should try that do more.
Right -- thank you so much.
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