Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

CUTTING EDGE [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

CUTTING EDGE [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

Kudos to Congress

Gordon Adams at Foreign Policy on those who criticize the congressional budget deal for being too short-term: "The 'long- termers' are living in a dream world. Haven't they been watching for the last three years? For a Congress that has been alternately limping and fighting from quarter to quarter, bickering about debt ceilings, shutdowns, and sequesters, two years is a very, very long- term deal.

"In fact, this 'little' deal is turning out to be a very big deal. Not because the details are so important; they are the classic representation of green eyeshade budget negotiating, not the Ten Commandments. But because it's upended the atmosphere for budget discussions and changed budgetary politics for several years to come - precisely because it reflects the way Congress actually does business, as opposed to how some people want it to behave."

Revisiting poverty stats

Vauhini Vara in the New Yorker looks at flaws in U.S. government poverty figures, which have since the 1960s been based heavily on food prices even though food makes up a much small proportion of household budgets now:

"A new study by a group of Columbia University researchers suggests what some policymakers have suspected for years: If you account for a fuller range of costs like clothing and shelter, and for government aid like food stamps, poverty has declined over the years - and by a lot. That is, even as people have limited wages and contend with high prices in the supermarket and elsewhere, the help from services like food stamps and from tax benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit appears to have kept more people out of poverty. .

"Their finding: The proportion of poor people in the U.S. fell from 26 percent in 1967 to 16 percent last year."

Ms. Vara says some on the left may worry that this will seem to "minimize the problem and make it harder to gain support for new anti-poverty programs," but she points out that it "also may show that some anti-poverty programs of the past several decades appear to have achieved what they were meant for - which, one expects, should come as good news to everyone. …

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