Catholics are called first and foremost to care for one another. The poverty of my neighbor is something that Jesus has called us to rectify, indicating unambiguously that those of us who fail to do so "shall pass on to eternal punishment, and the just to eternal life. (Mt 25:46)"
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement on the Census Bureau’s report that the nation's poverty rate climbed to 12.7% of the population last year, rising for the fourth year in a row; the number of uninsured increased; and median household income failed to grow.
Since President Bush took office, 5.4 million more Americans are living in poverty, 6 million more are without health insurance, and families are stretched too thin as household incomes have declined by almost $1,700 in the last four years. Every segment of American society has seen their income decline under this Administration, with the middle class and working families are losing the most ground.
Leader Pelosi said, "President Bush and the Republicans in Congress are turning a deaf ear to the middle class and working families struggling to make ends meet. This report shows that the President and Republicans in Congress’ decision to increase the deficit, while slashing student loans, heath care programs, and food stamps are the wrong choices for the American people. Republicans should abandon these efforts and join Democrats to expand opportunity for every American."
When President Bush took office, the number of uninsured had decreased for the first time in 12 years, and the economy was booming. Today, the Census Bureau announced that real household income has decreased again slightly 2004, falling for the fourth year in a row. More than 1.1 million people fell out of the middle class into poverty into 2003, an increase of 5.4 million people living in poverty since the beginning of the Bush Administration. Despite this drop in income and increase in health care and gas prices, Republicans are still not listening to or addressing the struggles of middle-class families. Instead, they are focused on helping the special interests. Democrats are fighting to help middle class families with an economic plan that benefits all Americans.
Real household income falls for the fourth year in a row, dropping slightly in 2004. This represents a decline in median household income of $1,669 since the beginning of the Bush Administration, meaning that middle class families are falling further and further behind economically. And the reality is that every segment of American society has seen their income decline under this administration, with those in the middle-class and working families losing the most ground. For example, households in the middle income bracket have lost 4.0 percent of their income, and households in the poorest 20 percent of the population have lost 7.9 percent of their income, while households with the highest incomes lost only 2.9 percent of their income.
Men working full-time see their earnings drop below 2000 levels. Perhaps one of the more disappointing results is what has happened to earnings for full-year full-time workers. Between 2003 and 2004, the median earnings for men working full-time declined by $963 – putting their median earnings below 2000 levels. Women working full time saw their median earnings decline by $327.
Minority families’ real household income continues to suffer under the Bush Administration. The typical African American family’s inflation-adjusted income has fallen by $2,273 since the beginning of the Bush Administration, and the typical Hispanic family’s inflation-adjusted income fell $2,141.
Number of people living in poverty increased by 1.1 million in 2004. About 1.1 million people fell out of the middle class into poverty into 2004, an increase of 5.4 million people living in poverty since the beginning of the Bush Administration.
17.8 percent of American children lived in poverty during 2004. Almost 13 million children were living in poverty in 2004, up from last year and an increase of about 1.4 million since the beginning of the Bush Administration.
Minorities disproportionately live in poverty. About 25 percent of all African Americans (9.4 million) were living in poverty in 2004. About 22 percent (9.1 million) of Hispanic Americans were living in poverty.