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New methods needed to measure poverty

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In a recent addition of the Watertown Daily Times, the number of people that are receiving food stamps was displayed on a graph indicating how the number has grown over the years. The line advanced sharply upward in recent years.

If you consider federal guidelines for poverty, it would seem that at least 50 million people in our country are below the poverty level. That does not include those who are a little above it that have income and assets that enable them to pay their bills but have nothing in reserve to cope with a crisis. Many of these same people have no health care or can’t afford to buy any kind of insurance, save that for their car if they have one.

Our economy is supposed to be looking brighter, yet the number of people in poverty and near poverty continues to grow. Has anyone but me questioned why we use such things as the Dow Jones Average to measure how the people in our country are doing financially?

Shouldn’t we be using the reduction in the number of people who are struggling financially to do this? This figure would represent millions of people instead of billions of dollars.

Doug Anderson

Watertown

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