Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released updated figures that show the U.S. poverty rate fell 0.8 percent to 12.7 percent in 2016.
Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Robert Rector called the figures misleading because the Census Bureau excludes almost the entire welfare state when measuring poverty.
“Last year, the federal government spent more than $360 billion providing cash, food, and housing benefits to poor and near-poor Americans. Almost none of those benefits are counted for purposes of determining whether a family is poor. When welfare benefits are counted, the poverty rate is more than cut in half, dropping from 40 million persons to less than 20 million,” Rector noted.
“For decades, Washington welfare policy has been rooted in a big lie. The government refuses to count the existing welfare state when measuring ‘poverty’ and then uses the resulting high poverty rates to demand greater welfare spending. American taxpayers deserve better.”