Too many people can’t afford to pay for their groceries, housing, child care, and health needs on their own. That’s what we mean when we say people are living in poverty. And to measure how many people are struggling, the government determines a poverty line. Setting this line is extremely important because it allows for research to show the extent of poverty and leads to standards used to determine who gets benefits like food assistance, housing vouchers, health benefits, and more.
Right now, the Trump administration is trying to change the way poverty is measured so fewer people are counted. They claim there really aren’t as many people living in poverty as we think; we’re just measuring poverty wrong.
But we know that’s not true: Gains in the economy are disproportionately going to the rich while the poor continue to struggle to make ends meet. In fact, research and public opinion alike show that the poverty measurement we’ve got now is not counting enough people as living in poverty. For example, research by the Urban Institute found that more than 60 percent of non-elderly adults with incomes up to twice the poverty line reported difficulties paying for food, utilities, rent, or medical bills.
Right now, our country is in the midst of a National Emergency, and our focus should be on helping our communities in this great time of need. Given the circumstances, the Trump Administration should extend the time public comments are accepted on this important proposal until after the pandemic is over (the deadline as of now is April 14).
That’s why we need your help. Tell the Trump Administration: “extend the deadline to ensure that people are not wrongly defined out of poverty.”