Archive for Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kansas poverty report reveals bleak data

December 22, 2011


Statistical highlights

• Kansas unemployment rate has risen from about 4 percent to 6.5 percent between July 2007 and July 2011.

• The Kansas median income — $46,299 — is 6.5 percent lower than the national average.

• The poverty rate for children in Kansas rose from 18 percent to 23.7 percent between 2009 and 2010 and now outpaces the national rate of 22 percent.

— Information also obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Kansas Association of Community Action Programs, or KACAP, released its annual poverty report Wednesday that painted a grim picture of statewide economic trends.

The poverty rate for Kansas children rose from 18 percent to nearly 24 percent between 2009 and 2010, and 20,000 more Kansans fell into poverty during the same time frame.

“It’s at least honest,” said Jesyca Rodenberg, spokeswoman for KACAP, about the 2012 Kansas Poverty Report. “We have problems with our infrastructure.”

The report, unveiled at a press conference at the state Capitol, highlighted a wide variety of economic indicators, such as poverty rates, unemployment numbers and income levels, all of which took a negative spiral during the past decade.

The report included a variety of policy recommendations, such as an increase in affordable housing and job training, aimed at lawmakers, said Tawny Stottlemire, KACAP executive director.

Stottlemire said she hopes “policymakers will use the data and the facts and not the myths and stereotypes” about poverty.

Despite the bleak data, Rodenberg said it should serve as a wake-up call promoting swift and bold action on behalf of struggling Kansans.

“We woke, we drank our coffee, and now it’s time to go to work,” she said.


JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

There is a cultural revolution underway in this state led by governor Brownback and the Koch brothers. Like Newt Gingrich, they blame the poor for their lot in life and praise the virtues of the wealthy. The reality is that The only difference between rich folk and poor folk is the amount of money they have. Poor people often work a lot harder for less pay under more dangerous conditions. Brownback and the Kochs are heartless sobs that need to be run out of Kansas. The sooner that happens, the better off we will all be.

parrothead8 6 years, 2 months ago

"Spoken like a true blue socialist. Nobody has any control/responsibility over their own lives." You don't know a lot about socialism, do you? Which form of socialism are you referring to that forces people to have no "control/responsibility over their own lives?"

"Really, have you never known somebody who grew up in poor conditions to become really successful? Or on the flip side, someone who was born into relative wealth and blew it because they were a moron?" Yes, yes, I've known both types of people. I suspect I'm in the minority, though, because those types of rags-to-riches success stories are becoming less common as a greater percentage of US wealth becomes more and more concentrated into fewer hands over the decades.

"Your victimhood mentality is pathetic." Your compassion is commendable. Happy holidays.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

Parrot head, I don't have a victim mentality. I was born into a solid middle class family. I remain there myself. I work hard at a job I love. I don't know where you get that from. I have known really good people that truly pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. I didn't have to even though I didn't have any silver spoons. You'll never convince me that Paris Hilton and Kim kardashian deserve the fame and riches they have. They remind me of marie antionette just before the French revolution...poor people should eat cake!

George_Braziller 6 years, 2 months ago

Have you never known anyone who lost their job because of budget cuts and took another one for half the previous pay? Or can't even get one because they're considered "over qualified"? I know many.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

My husband and I are the perfect example of someone who grew up in poor conditions to become successful. We both grew up in VERY poor households. We were both the first ones of our family to go to college. We both paid our own way through (since we do not have mommy and daddy paying our way) and both are totally independent. When we started out, we were dirt-poor, but never did we take a handout from the government (even though we would have qualified for assistance). Now, he is a successful scientist with a graduate degree, and I also am a successful professional with my graduate degree. Of course, a good portion of the money we make now goes back to the government to pay off school loans. If we had inheritance from our family, we would start off our adult life many levels up from where we actually began. We had to climb to where we are from almost the very bottom. What we did have from our family, though, proved more useful than any amount of money: their never-ending emotional support and acceptance.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

I believe that Bill Clinton was born into poverty and rose to become President. Both Bush presidents were born into a very privileged families and both lost a ton of money on bad business deals...good thing they lost OPM.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

"Poor people often work a lot harder for less pay under more dangerous conditions."

Not terribly often: "In 2010, only 2.7% of those who worked full-time year-round were poor, while 29.8% of those who did not work at all and 20.4% of those who worked less than full-time were poor" (p.38)

People who work a lot harder are generally not poor, and poor people are generally those who do not work a lot. The exception is single moms, where they can work full time and still (12%) be poor.

kochmoney 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes. We know that poor people are much lazier than the Kochs, and if only they'd work hard, they'd have been born with a large inheritance to leverage, too.

Jimo 6 years, 2 months ago

Obviously you overlooked Table 2, which admits that the official definition of poverty gross understates the amount of income it takes to provide for the basic needs of a family. In short, take the maximum poverty income and double it to reach the bottom of self-supporting income levels.

Hence the concept of "working poor."

For a household of 4, that's $45k per year. For 2 people, that's at least $26k. To earn $26k, you'd need a post tax wage rate of $12.50 per hour. And that assumes 40 hours of work every week of the year, which isn't all that common for lower wage jobs.

And of course, this assumes that someone can even find a job, let alone a job that pays that rate in Nowhere, Kansas. Hence the need for poorer Kansas to work multiple jobs.

But hey, let's just pretend that this isn't a problem so you can remain smug.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

"Obviously you overlooked Table 2..."

Actually, I didn't; I simply disagree with their subjective doubling of a bad measurement to come up with another meaningless number. But I do admire their ability to use such numbers to prove that they need more money from other people.

If you want to measure actual poverty, include not only income but assets and services provided by the government. Since WIC, Vision, Section 8, General Assistance, TANF, Medicaid, Head Start, Free School Lunch Program, KLSP Lifeline and Linkup, KHPA Premium Assistance, Kansas Medical Assistance, various tribal programs, and EITC don't have any effect on poverty numbers (and they don't, not being income), then we are not measuring anything worth measuring.

kochmoney 6 years, 2 months ago

While we're at it, let's count tax deductions, retirement matches, paid vacation leave, paid health and dental, life insurance, and other job benefits, and then we'll divide it by all the time the average middle and upper class worker doesn't spend waiting in line. Otherwise, it might seem like you're being silly and making things up when it doesn't fit your preconceived narrative.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

Should the value of anti-poverty programs and services be counted when measuring whether a person is poor?

a) Yes. b) No. Choose one.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

That's sort of a funny question.

If they weren't poor, then they wouldn't qualify for "anti-poverty" programs, etc.

So, they're poor, and then they get some services to help them out - are they then no longer poor? Not if they're depending on those services, and couldn't do well without them.

Jimo 6 years, 2 months ago

So, in short: when you dislike reality, you disregard it.

Again, for a household of 4, that's $45k per year to escape poverty. Nothing you've said anywhere on this page deals with that reality.

The poor do not "need more money from other people". Rather, they need money from their own economic system - a system that would collapse immediately without their contribution. The money is theirs already.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

Fossick, I like they way you follow the lead of all the other right-wingers. You're argument is basically, "I disagree with your facts so I demand follow my gut instincts." You're no better than the nuts that dispute global warming or evolution.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

I don't follow their lead, I lead them. But in case you missed the point, my facts came directly form the report. You might have missed the (p.38), but that's called a reference, which means I'm actually quoting a fact and dealing with it.

But thanks for adding your opinion to the mix. If there's one thing this board lacks, it's unsupported opinion.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

I think police officers, highway construction workers (including private contractors) and firefighters have extremely dangerous jobs that are full time but don't pay very well. I think secretaries and retail sales clerks have even lower paying jobs that often require them to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Construction workers work harder than me at least physically harder. If you have a thinking job, try thinking before posting, fossick.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

"...but don't pay very well. "

We're not talking about "don't pay very well*," we're talking about poverty. Do try to keep up.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

Would you take a job that is that risky for $38,000? I sure wouldn't, but I'm very glad some people will. Also, do you think a single mom or dad with a few kids who makes $38,000 per year is above the poverty line? If you think that, you're kidding yourself. I wouldn't want to try to support a family on that. At the very best you would be living pay check to paycheck. It 'aint right. BTW, I'm not a police officer, nor am I a firefighter, nor am I a highway construction worker.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

If you are correct about police officer's in KS earning $38,000 on average (does that include Police Chiefs or just patrol officers???) than a single cop with 3 kids would be just below the poverty level...

2011/2012 HHS Poverty Guidelines

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

Another feather in Brownback's cap.

He tell's us he is concerned about unborn children. That's a lie. In reality, he only cares about the issue because he believes its the fast track to both re-election and heaven. And when they are born? Well, be wary, little ones, as our governor couldn't care less about your welfare, as evidenced by thousands of additional children who slipped into poverty during Brownback's first year in office. The guy is a piggish charlatan.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 2 months ago

The last time the Regurgicans care about you, you were still a fetus.

xclusive85 6 years, 2 months ago

While I know that you take every opportunity to bash on republicans, you should look at the dates of this data. 2009-2010. Brownback wasn't in office, was he? Didn't think so. I am not saying that things are getting better, because they aren't. You are also entitled to your opinion of our governor, Just wanted to point out the fact to you.

kawrivercrow 6 years, 2 months ago

Not only do we import it, we further subsidize it by fostering a subculture of people who inherently expect that their childrens' needs will be met by public funds.

Safety nets are meant to catch those who slip and fall, not those who jump because they know the net will catch them.

When it comes to poverty, an ounce of birth control is a pound of prevention.

Mixolydian 6 years, 2 months ago

Say what you will about Brownback, but the data described mostly covers the Sibelius administration. All this article tells us is, wow, the economy really started to stink back in 07/08. Not exactly breaking news to anyone.

Kind of a pointless article in that regard, but at least it ended with a wierd quote, "“We woke, we drank our coffee, and now it’s time to go to work,”

Hey, children are suffering let's do something about it....hold on, hold on, let me have my coffee first.

xclusive85 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes Jesse, we all know that would be republicans, but the first two comments on this thread mention Brownback specifically as being the cause of these numbers.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

It has very little to do with the economy. While unemployment has gone from 4% to ~7% in the past few years, the poverty stats in the report tell a different story: Single female headed-households: 33.2% live in poverty Single female headed-households with children under age 18 present: 41.3% Compared to: Adults 65+: 7.7% (What has changed? P. 34)

As fewer and fewer people get married and as more moms raise kids on their own, poverty gets concentrated more and more (primarily to moms and kids), and grows more and more. Individual poverty is primarily the result of the choices people make, good or bad. It has relatively little to do with Obama, Sebelius, or Brownback.

voevoda 6 years, 2 months ago

its_just_math, Please do not use the sacred title of Jesus Christ ("The Anointed One") as a term of political abuse. It is offensive to Christians, especially at this holy time of year. I will recommend that postings that contain this phrase be removed.

Armored_One 6 years, 2 months ago

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but is that any more offensive than the multitudes of "Christians" - I use the term facetiously - ramming laws through what is supposed to be a religion-free system that endorses their viewpoints?

I was raised Roman Catholic, and still adhere to the 10 Commandments, but I find it sickening to watch America, a land where religious freedom used to be a term worth repeating, slowly devolve into a theocracy.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 2 months ago

How's that hopenchange working out for you?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

Not nearly as well as the despair and stagnation that's at the heart of the Republican agenda.

kochmoney 6 years, 2 months ago

How's the angry populism coupled with foot shooting working out for you?

bballwizard 6 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

mloburgio 6 years, 2 months ago

Kansas ranks 50th in progress on insuring children A new report on availability of health insurance for children in Kansas could serve as inspiration for Gov. Sam Brownback. He very publicly expressed reluctance to assist uninsured Kansans by returning a $31 million federal grant rather than advance planning for a computer network intended to help families purchase or be provided coverage required by U.S. law.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

Wait a minute. An "association" of poverty advocates released a report saying that poverty is getting worse and that we have to spend a bunch more money* to fight it? I'm so surprised.

As soon as they start counting the value of current anti-poverty measures (food stamps, education, housing subsidies, school lunches, medicaid) as part of family income, then poverty measures based solely on income will be meaningful. Until then, it's simply lobbying.

  • Yes, I did read the report, thanks.

Armstrong 6 years, 2 months ago

Fossick, you aren't playing fair. It is much harder to play the victim when you throw in the current anti-poverty bennies and leave only income as the sole source of providing.
Cmon man.

voevoda 6 years, 2 months ago

More and more Kansas children are living in poverty, and the Brownback administration's primary goal is to cut tax rates for the very wealthy?

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

That's a very responsible attitude.

Does it mean, though, that we should punish children who have the misfortune of being born to less responsible parents?

bunnyhawk 6 years, 2 months ago

Hey folks! This is the mythical land of Kansas! Where the rich are rich because they deserve it and the poor are poor because they deserve it for being so darned poor. We're fast creating a state where Charles Dickens would feel right at home!!!! Keep voting for the GOP and your children and grandchildren can become deserving poor folks, too!!!!! God Help Us, Everyone!!!!!

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

Dick Cheney and a bunch of oil executives got together and decided what our oil policy should be. Should I trust their conclusions or should I cynically conclude that they had a vested interest in a predetermined outcome?
The same is true here.

kawrivercrow 6 years, 2 months ago

This dude is really just light and leafy and not much else. A real master of the loose-association non sequitur.

voevoda 6 years, 2 months ago

its_just_math, I have never called persons who apply "The Anointed One" as a term of political abuse "teabaggers." I agree, it is an offensive term, and I don't use it. You must be confusing me with someone else you regard as a "leftist." Now, stop blaspheming, its_just_math, or people might think that you're an atheist leftist.

beatrice 6 years, 2 months ago

Now, now "math." We are all very confident that your absolute hatred of our President has nothing to do with the Tea Party. Your hatred goes back to before he was President and before the rise of the Tea Party, am I right? I don't see your need to combine the two now.

It is very obvious to most of us why you hate President Obama. Really. It is. Always has been. But keep telling yourself we are wrong and that it is his policies that has you so upset. Who knows, you might even convince yourself that you aren't who we know you are. We also see you have updated your avatar. Nobody is surprised at your choice.

pace 6 years, 2 months ago

Reading the trashy comments on this discussion sickens me. I am ashamed that most of the trash teas are probably from Kansas. Shame, also stupid, given the information available in the article and to any person who isn't foxified.

pace 6 years, 2 months ago

My advice, don't ever click on one of Math's links. I would not. If one is intrigued by some wild remark or claim. Do not click on his/her links. Just look it up on your own. If you use Linux you might be ok.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

Seriously? Outside of Lawrence, there are not all that many liberal Democrats in Kansas. If they have welcome wagons set up around the Colorado border, I haven't seen them.

But to answer the question, there is probably some. According to the report, the Hispanic* population is up ~60% in the past decade, and Hispanic poverty, while lower than that of Blacks, Native Americans, single women, and single moms, is higher than the overall average. That said, illegal immigrants by their very nature do not usually report their income to Uncle Sam, so its also likely that they are overrepresented in the poverty stats as well.

So while illegal immigration conceivably have some negative effect, the fact that Hispanics make up barely 10% of the Kansas population and 3/4 of them are not in poverty makes that impact limited.

  • Not the same as illegal immigrants, but will have to serve as a proxy

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

Jafs: "That's sort of a funny question. If they weren't poor, then they wouldn't qualify for "anti-poverty" programs, etc."

But it's a necessary question. The problem with our current measurement of anti-poverty programs is that, no matter how good those programs are, they do nothing for our poverty numbers. For example, the report notes that poverty among the elderly is ~7%, and this is because of Social Security. Which is half true: poverty among the elderly is %7 because Social Security is counted as income for the purposes of poverty measurement. But we give many poor just as much in services as the elderly get in SocSec. Why is it not similarly counted?

Imagine a program for the poor whereby we give each poor person a home, medical care, food, entertainment - everything they could want. Would that person still be poor? Most people would say no. According to our stats, yes, because they don't have income. It's ludicrous. We spend trillions of dollars providing goods and services for the poor and yet by our measurements they are all still as "poor" as if we did nothing.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

People aren't poor if they can provide for their own needs, without government (or other) assistance.

As long as people need (and qualify) for assistance, they are still poor.

Is somebody not poor because they get help feeding their children, or help heating their house? I think not.

If you're saying that poor people are being sufficiently helped, that's another discussion.

Social Security is, in theory, a retirement plan that people have paid into, and reap the benefits of, which is a bit different from simple welfare type programs, which help people based on need.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

What if it's not the government providing the goods and services? Suppose I have zero income but some rich uncle (Sam's his name) puts me up in a grand mansion, provides food and clothing. Suppose he hires servants to cook and clean for me. Suppose my uncle stocks the liquor cabinet and sends my kids to a private school. I spend my days out by the pool and my nights are filled with parties. I still have zero income. Am I still poor?

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

That's an interesting question.

I would base these programs on need, rather than income, so I'd have to determine if you had a need for assistance.

Obviously the answer to that would be no.

If it's just a matter of defining the terms, we could define them in a number of ways, some of which would conclude that you are in fact poor (for example, if you have neither assets nor income of your own), while others would not.

The important question for me is whether our social programs are working the way we want them to work - if people are getting help heating their house, but still need that help over time, is that what we want or not?

In theory, eradication of poverty would mean that the government no longer needed to provide assistance of any kind.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

But, it seems like a mistake to me to conclude that because people are receiving various kinds of assistance (based on need), that they're not poor any more.

If their need is ongoing, then they're still poor.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

"Fossick" mentions that assistance given to poor people is not calculated when determining a person's wealth. Assuming that's true (I am not sure one way or the other), and then a person receives assistance in the form of (one or more of the following, Section 8, food stamps, non governmental charities, etc.), at some point the value of those services pushes the person above what we would all conclude is the poverty line. Even "free for them" medical care can be included.
What Fossick is saying and what I would agree with is that once we include the value of those things, the poverty level is substantially lower than if those services are not included. Why should we not include the value of those services when defining poverty?

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

Because the fact that somebody is receiving assistance they need doesn't mean they're not poor.

If they weren't poor, they wouldn't need the assistance, and they wouldn't be getting it.

I can't think of a clearer way to say it.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

It's not at all clear when you don't define the word. Suppose a single person earns just under $11,000/yr. (I think the official poverty level is $10,800). Compare that with a person who earns just over that amount. Now comes the million variables. The person earning less gets Section 8 housing, food stamps and goes to the church for dinner 7 nights a week. The other person does not. The lower wage earner lives in an area with a low cost of living. The other, lives in New York or San Francisco. The lower wage earner qualifies for free medical and dental. You guessed it, the higher wage earner does not. Who is poor? Before you answer that they both are, let me throw a monkey wrench into a potential argument. If the poverty level is $11,800 and one is just slightly above and one is just slightly below, simply raising the number won't solve the problem. There will always be people slightly above and slightly below whatever number you choose.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

My definition of poor is somebody who can't afford the basic necessities of life on their own, and live simply but decently on their income.

You're right about the wage levels - any cutoff will have the characteristics you mention.

The definition of poor should probably change with changes in the costs of living in various places in the country.

And, my estimation is that it should be higher than current levels.

geekin_topekan 6 years, 2 months ago

While driving through western Kansas one winter early evening, the only radio I could get; Teen daughter: Dad, why don't we give more money to the poor?" Dad: "Honey, I know you are good hearted because you believe in Jesus, but giving money to the poor is a waste" Teen daughter: "But aren't things like the space program going away? WOn't that make more money available to the poor?" Dad: (laughing) "Honey, only 2 cents on the dollar would actually reach the poor even if the money saved were directed exclusively at programs offered to them. The only thing that we can do is show the poor how Jesus can help them to help themselves" Teen daughter: " Jesus has provided us, our family, with a good life. Would he work for the poor also?" Dad: "Honey, you are a good hearted person with a roof over your head, a stable home and family life and it comes from Jesus" Teen daughter: "So, all we can really do for the poor is to pray for them?" Dad: "It works for you doesn't it kiddo?" Teen: " I am going to pray for the poor and ask Jesus to help them to help themselves"

The Chinese and N. Korea have propaganda piped over the waves 24/7. So do we apparently.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, because everyone knows that "God helps those who help themselves" is in the bible [/sarc]

budwhysir 6 years, 2 months ago

I think that when the economy is on the decline, reports of poverty on the rise would be fairly easy to write and many of the points contained in a report like this could be skewed to read that poverty is on the rise while the whole issue is the economy... Now that I have opened that whole can of worms for everyone to throw a little mud my way, think I will sit back and have some coffee.

Sunny Parker 6 years, 2 months ago

You'll never convince me that Paris Hilton and Kim kardashian deserve the fame and riches they have. This can't be a serious comment. Of course they 'deserve' every red cent they have! You don't deserve to take it from them.

Libs hate rich people..

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

Sunny, I don't hate rich people. In fact, I hope one day to become one of the rich people. I work really hard. I am pretty well educated. I'm making progress toward that goal. My comment about Paris and Kim was in response to a comment someone else made about how the rich people earned it. They didn't earn it on their own. If I make it, I won't have done it on my own either. I attended public schools K-12 and then KU for a BA and master's degree. At a minimum, the taxpayers helped subsidize my education. Paris and Kim just hit the lottery by virtue of the family they were born into. Then, they were able to keep more of their money because rubes like you have fallen victim to the "if we just tax capital gains at a lower rate, the economy will be better scam." You also have fallen victim to the nonsensical claims about a "death tax." You also have fallen victim to the ridiculous rule that limits Social Security taxes to the 1st $100K (approx) in earned income and doesn't tax other forms of income. Collectively, these tax policies favor the rich at the expense of the middle class. I don't want to convince you're a lost cause

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

Jafs: "If you're saying that poor people are being sufficiently helped, that's another discussion."

It certainly is another discussion, but that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying we cannot even begin to talk about it until we are honest with our measurements. And we are not being honest currently.

Jhawkinsf: "What Fossick is saying and what I would agree with is that once we include the value of those things, the poverty level is substantially lower than if those services are not included."

We have a bingo. If the (mythical) Jones family earns a salary less than the poverty level, but has expenses that are covered in large part by the government, that family is not "in poverty;" they simply have a low income. Poverty means that they do not have basic needs (food, shelter, heat, education) met - there are very few in America for whom that is the actual case.

Americans ought to be proud that we have the richest poor people in the world. Instead we mope around as if we are Tanzania or Rumania or someplace where poor people are actually starving, rather than merely being deprived of 3g phone service.

Fossick 6 years, 2 months ago

Jaywawkfan1985: "If you are correct about police officer's in KS earning $38,000 on average (does that include Police Chiefs or just patrol officers???) than a single cop with 3 kids would be just below the poverty level..."

A) Seriously dude, grammar. B) $38k is the average, bottom of the rung, KCK cop's wage. Police Officers "A" make $45k, Police officers "Lateral" make $57k. Pretty sure the chief is in 6 figures. The point is (as the report says, see p.38), less than 3% of the people who work full time are poor. Police officers are 97% unlikely to be part of that 3%, however dangerous their jobs are. If you wish to argue against the report's numbers, I shan't complain. C) People who are poor are poor because they either don't work full time or because they are a single mom with kids - again, read the report. The political blame game, while predictable, is just as laughable.

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