The number of Americans now eligible to protest the Republican National Convention has grown to 45 million, according to one estimate. That total, which doesn’t include the middle class, is believed to exceed the number of anarchists threatening the safety of convention delegates this week in New York City.
Government figures released late last week indicate that the number of people without health insurance grew last year to 45 million, or 15.6 percent of the population. The number of people insured through an employer fell to 60.4 percent, the lowest in a decade.
President Bush‘s courtship of gal voters may be hampered by the additional news that America’s women, for the first time since 1999, saw their earnings decline. Household chores are believed to be rising, too: Last year ended with 12.9 million American children living in poverty.
The GOP’s base of white Southerners may not be aware of this, but, as the Post put it, “white adults, primarily in the South, accounted for most of the increase” in the number of people lacking health insurance.
GOP press releases have already been handed out to counter that kind of grim economic data.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proudly proclaimed on August 23 that “more Americans” are “achieving self-sufficiency”:
Eight years after the signing of the historic welfare reform law, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced today that caseloads in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program dropped 3 percent for individuals and 1.8 percent for families during 2003.
On the other hand, as the watchdog Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, the HHS press release didn’t note that the proportion of single mothers who are employed fell in 2003, and the unemployment rate among single mothers rose sharply.
In addition, caseloads in other low-income programs, like food stamps and Medicaid, are climbing.
The center’s Sharon Parrott said:
Contrary to Secretary Thompson’s statement, the decline in TANF caseloads does not appear to mean that more families are leaving welfare for work. The decline in employment rates among single mothers suggests that more families may have fallen deeper into poverty in 2003 because they neither had a job nor received cash assistance.
In other words, HHS is proud to announce: We’re helping fewer people!
Look at the bright side, you poor people: If you’re not working, and no one’s helping you, you might have the time to visit New York City this week to speak with the GOP delegates about how your life is going. Ever heard of Coxey’s Army?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 1, 2004