The “stimulus package” kept millions out of poverty

Things could have been much worse without the “stimulus package” — the Census Bureau says:

Government assistance — both ongoing programs like unemployment insurance, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and SNAP (formerly called food stamps), and temporary increases in these and other programs enacted in the 2009 Recovery Act — kept millions of Americans above the poverty line. The Census figures show, for example, that unemployment benefits — including federal benefits scheduled to expire at the end of this year and state unemployment benefits that a number of states have recently chosen to pare back — kept 3.2 million people above the poverty line in 2010. In addition, while the official poverty measure does not count SNAP (food stamp) or EITC benefits as income, the Census Bureau reported that if they were counted, SNAP benefits would lift 3.9 million people out of poverty while the EITC would lift 5.4 million people out of poverty. (These benefits are counted under an alternative measure of poverty that many analysts favor and that the Census Bureau will issue later this year.)

Full report: http://www.cbpp.org/files/9-14-11pov.pdf

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