Understating Progress: Economic Report of the President on Falling Poverty
The 2022 Economic Report of the President is finally out. It was released on April 14, the latest ever.
Here’s an interesting passage from page 42 of the ERP:
Official estimates for the year 2021 will not be released until late 2022, but in 2020, the poverty rate fell to 9.6 percent from 11.8 percent in 2019, according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which accounts for the resources that many low-income households receive from the government (Fox and Burns 2021). Declines in poverty were even larger for particular racial and ethnic groups, with the supplemental poverty rate among Black and Hispanic Americans falling by 3.7 and 4.9 percentage points, respectively (figure 1-8).
Accompanying it is the table at the top of this post.
The paragraph quoted above is accurate. But notice what they don’t say. They don’t talk about the huge drop in black and Hispanic poverty from 2017 on. I think part of the reason is the 2017 tax cut. But whether you agree with me or not about the cause, the point is that they focus only on the part that they can arguably attribute, at least in part, to the huge federal subsidies in 2020.
Update: This got picked up in the Wall Street Journal‘s “Notable and Quotable” (April 28 print edition.)