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August 28, 2007


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Two links to throw in: First, a former Bush economist agrees that the recovery this time has produced less income growth versus the previous peak than others:


This happened to a lesser extent in the Clinton expansion; it might happen again in the next expansion too. Can government policy do anything about this? I don't really know.

Second, the hungry kids thing is a misnomer, as the poor have more of their children overweight than do the better-off:


The title of your post is an emotional appeal and detracts from the rest of your piece.

Lastly, I wonder about the direction of causality of your statement "Access to affordable health care is closely related to keeping families out of poverty." Can't the data also support the hypothesis that families in the process of exiting poverty purchase health insurance, rather than families receiving (from government or someone else) affordable health care are better able to exit poverty? Which do you think it is?

Charlie Quimby


You’re correct about the headline, of course. It comes from a part of my brain I try to honor even when I’m being analytical. I’ve heard you get emotional, too. I just don’t recall it being about hungry kids :) ...

Perhaps you’d like this headline better: “What’s the right percentage of malnourished children?” But I do not believe hungry kids are yet a misnomer in America, and I don’t think you do, either.

On the causality question and your hypothesis, note I said affordable “access,” not “receiving” and I was careful to say "closely related." My short answer to your question would be: Both — and then some.

I was getting to a slightly different point. Poverty is a two-way street. People aren’t all starting at the bottom and trying to exit. They arrive there in a variety of ways, and health distress for someone living paycheck to paycheck, even with a health plan, can send them downward. I will spare everyone the emotional examples.

Thanks for your comments. They’re good for us and for everyone who’s concerned about government and its discontents. You’re always welcome here.

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