WASHINGTON — In the midst of a new report describing record poverty levels of American children, President Barack Obama talked about the vast improvement of the American economy Tuesday at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee dinner in New York.
“When I came into office, we were going through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And over the last six and a half years, not only have we taken the unemployment rate from 10 percent down to 5.4, creating close to 13 million jobs, over five years of consecutive job growth — an all-time record; not only did the stock market double, helping people with 401(k)s make sure that their retirement accounts hadn’t been completely devastated; not only have we provided 16 million people with health care who didn’t have it before, and, by the way, driven health care inflation down to its lowest level in 50 years; not only have we doubled the production of clean energy, increased solar energy by 20 percent, reduced the pace of our carbon emissions, doubled fuel efficiency standards in cars, produced more traditional energy than ever before so that we’re weaning ourselves off of foreign oil and doing something about climate change, which is going to be a critical issue for Drew and Rachel’s daughter, and all our children and our grandchildren; but we did all that while cutting the deficit by two-thirds,” Obama said.
“We’ve ended two wars. We have reestablished our alliances around the world in ways that make them stronger than they ever have been before. High school reading, high school graduation, college attendance — on almost every metric, the country is significantly better off than we were when I came into office.”
However, a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation says a higher percentage of children live in poverty now than during the Great Recession.
According to the report, 22 percent of children in the United States lived below the poverty line in 2013 as opposed to 18 percent in 2008. A family with two adults and two children with an income of $23,624 is the U.S. Department of Human and Health Service’s official poverty line.
“The fact that it’s happening is disturbing on lots of levels,” Laura Speer, the associate director for policy reform and advocacy at the Casey Foundation, told USA Today. “Those kids often don’t have the access to the things they need to thrive.”
The foundation says its mission is to help low-income children in the U.S. by providing grants and advocating for policies that promote economic opportunity.