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New report: Missouri’s economy still isn’t working for everyone

“Nearly six years after the recession began and more than four years after it officially ended, our economy has not turned around for the vast majority of Americans. It is past time to set the nation on the right course.”

GRO-Grass Roots Organizing and the Coalition on Human Needs have released a new report using newly released data from the Census Bureau highlighting the fact that, although the worst of the 2008 recession seems to be over, the economy is still not working for Missourians and it’s facing actions from Congress that will make it even worse.

Unemployment rates are higher now than they were in 2008, the number of people living in poverty or near-poverty is growing, and poverty is even common in those who are lucky enough to have jobs. With rent increasing and more and more rental vouchers being denied, many people are falling into the category of being “overburdened” by rent costs, which also affects the growing number of people who are finding it hard to afford food. “This is a portrait of a nation and a state in deep distress.”

One of the most important points made in the report is the fact that Congress is cutting the programs that are actually helping the economy and the people. The House cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on September 19th and has cut unemployment insurance, both of which have been shown to keep people out of poverty. Cuts have also been made to the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, which has been proven to help children become higher-earning adults. Resources for the unemployed have been cut which, along with the loss of unemployment insurance, only causes more people to slide into poverty. The House’s leadership is also still trying to defund the Affordable Care Act, which is allowing those, especially children and young adults, who did not previously have a way to obtain healthcare to do so.

These cuts, including the sequester cuts, are being made to the programs that the people who are hurting worst need most. While this is happening, Congress wants to protect the Pentagon from sequester cuts and shift the burden onto these helpful programs. The report calls on Congress to “stop the shortsighted, counterproductive cuts,” “enact new revenues from the top two percent of earners and corporations,” and “make sensible Pentagon cuts and look for other efficiency savings.” Senator Carl Levin from Michigan just introduced the bill (1533) Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act to close the most egregious of corporate tax loopholes.

Read the full report here.

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