It has been a little Orwellian the last few days. On the one hand, poverty has taken a sharp turn upwards with record numbers of people living below the federal poverty line and unemployment is persistently high. On the other, the stock market has continued its rise and the recession is “over,” at least from the perspective of economists.
In response to the new census data and the crisis in the real economy, there have been a number of good reports that provide important insights. The following are worth a read:
- The Justice Policy Institute published: Money Well Spent: How positive social investments will reduce incarceration rates, improve public safety, and promote the well-being of communities. This study documents the economic and public safety benefits of spending on social programs rather than prisons. It contains solid policy recommendations backed up by good data.
- The National Women’s Law Center looks at the new census numbers through the perspective of gender in Poverty Among Women and Families, 2000-2009: Great Recession Brings Highest Rate in 15 Years . Women and children are significantly more likely to be poor than men and the disparity has grown worse during the recession.
Finally, the anti-poverty community mourns the loss of Ambrose Lane a clear and consistent voice against inequality. In his advocacy and on his WPFW radio show he reported on the connection between race and poverty and gave voice to those who are often ignored. He is missed.