August 30, 2006

Proof positive that Perry and Republicans have failed Texas

We've been talking about it for a while but now there is some definitive data. During Perry's Administration, poverty rates in the state of Texas have INCREASED and real wages have declined. Is this the Republican economic miracle? Make everyone poor?

"As a state, we look pretty good in per-capita income, but we look terrible when you look at poverty numbers," said Eva Deluna Castro, an analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which advocates for low- and middle-income Texans. "If we mention these numbers, people think we're trying to start class wars. But if you don't acknowledge the gap is getting bigger, you can't come up with any long-term solutions."

Then there's this from the DMN

Jay Dunn, a manager at Stewpot, said that six years ago, the homeless ministry served about 300 free lunches per day. Now, the downtown Dallas kitchen dishes out about 550 meals during a typical lunch hour.

"The numbers are moving in the wrong direction," he said.

Central Dallas Ministries is a nonprofit group that tries to fill the gap between what working families bring home and what they need to survive. Executive director Larry James said that gap is widening.

From May to July of last year, about 8,000 families walked through the resource center's doors, he said. Over the same period this year, 13,000 sought help.

"It isn't that people aren't working or that they're not willing to work," he said. "It's that they're not earning enough."

The rising cost of housing, food, gasoline and utilities drains the pocketbooks of people who can afford it least, he said. When wages dive as expenses climb, more families are pushed into poverty.

"The economy is certainly a big factor in all this. ... It pushes everything down," Mr. Dunn said. "If somebody was making $50,000 a year, and now he's making $35,000 a year, what happens to the guy who was making $35,000 a year?"

The other side is that higher incomes are doing quite well due to tax cuts and the reality that they are not impacted greatly by inflation. Of course, what most of that group doesn't understand is that the more the lower income levels sink, the greater the burden on city, county and state services. Further, it means that less money can go to discretionary spending which means that the middle manager at a corporate officer will be joining the ranks of the downwardly mobile sooner, rather than later. That will definitely put a crimp into corporate profits.

If people have learned nothing from US economic cycles since WWII, they should have picked up on the fact that for the economy to grow and for prosperity to be most generally spread, stable and long lasting, the lowest earners must have livable incomes. The Republicans, in their zeal to concentrate wealth up from even the middle class, have forgotten to put fuel into the engine of the economy.

As an aside, you can place place all the blame on lower skilled and uneducated people for dropping median incomes and increasing the poverty percentages. However, that's only a symptom of the disease that currently plagues Texas. There is absolutely no reason why people should be working, even at Wal Mart, for less than $12/hour in Dallas Metro.

Posted by mcblogger at August 30, 2006 09:22 AM

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