Not Exactly Bragging Rights

A recent analysis by the Bloomberg Administration found that New York’s poverty rate held steady since 2000. That makes the Big Apple the only large U.S. city not to see a spike in that rate.

New York’s Center for Economic Opportunity released the survey last Thursday. It used U.S. Census Bureau data from 2000 and 2012, and determined that the nation’s largest city had maintained a 21.2 percent poverty rate during the intervening 12 years.

It also found that poverty rates in the country’s 19 other largest cities increased, on average, by 36 percent. That’s just an average, however. Rates of increase ranged from 3 percent in El Paso, Tex., to 88 percent in Indianapolis.

That’s right: while we’ve been focusing on bright shiny objects like cricket fields and Super Bowls, we’ve had an 88 percent increase in poverty.

If Mayor Ballard has addressed this issue, I haven’t heard about it.

As a friend of mine recently pointed out, Ballard rarely bothers to visit the Statehouse. He was willing to lobby  for elimination of the at-large council seats, a partisan move that increased his political power, but he’s been conspicuously absent on a whole range of issues having a direct impact on the economic well-being of Marion County residents. His support for public transportation was both tepid and a long time coming, despite the fact that–among other things–transportation is desperately needed to improve poor folks’  access to employment opportunities. He’s said nothing about the importance of expanding Medicaid. Yet lack of access to medical insurance is a major cause of poverty, and the recent hospital layoffs that increase local unemployment are a direct result of Pence’s unconscionable  refusal to expand Indiana’s Medicaid program.

Ballard has also said nothing about the recent, draconian cuts to the Food Stamp program despite the fact that the economic impact of Food Stamp dollars flowing to Marion County is equivalent to holding a Super Bowl every four months.

I guess we know where his priorities lie.


  1. I didn’t know the Mayor was responsible for poverty, I thought poor people and their poor ways bared more of the responsibility. God forbid we should take control of our own destinies.

  2. Hopefully, Abdul’s name has been auto-added to the list of Republicans containing Romney, Palin, Buchanan, Ryan, Cruz, et al, whose solution to poverty and joblessness was to tell people to go out and get a job. The jobs they are preventing or sending out of the country.

  3. “Control our own destinies”. Abdul, how about when people are working and are still poor, such as those who work for Walmart and fast food places, because their employers won’t pay them a living wage?

  4. All need be done is to relocate to a GOP fixed district and vote the Bastard out! If the kids of the 60’s could face Bull Conner and his dogs and fire hoses, can’t those of today face a six month relocation?

  5. Hmmm, both my parents grew up poor and in the face of some of the most staunch segregation people could imagine. I don’t recall them whining, but manning up.

  6. The whole community would be better off if people had public transportation to jobs, church, school, and medical care. More families would have a higher standard of living and more businesses would have more customers.

    Two-parent poor families are financially better off than single-parent families. So many children in IPS are from single parent households and depend solely on the food they receive at school for nourishment. Teachers and principals privately collect food to try get families through the holidays. Malnourished bodies and brains make top performance at school a distant dream.

    I’ve noted claims of middle and upper class folks who say they can buy steak on a food stamp budget. But those same folks had an insured, fueled and maintained automobile to get to the store. They have extra money to buy the items food stamps won’t cover such as bath soap, deodorant, laundry detergent, house cleaning supplies, toilet tissue, and similar other necessities.

    My church is overwhelmed with folks seeking assistance, and I’ll we are not alone. Our sermon today indicated that private giving – important and welcome as it is, is no match for organized justice and that Jesus healed all the sick – not just those who could pay for care.

    Indiana politicians have given the business community every large item on their wish list – eliminating the inventory tax, capping property taxes, enacting daylight savings time, passing right-to-work, eliminating regulations, and implementing multiple business tax breaks – many of which require no evidence of a job created in order to qualify for the tax break. I’ve often wondered how much of those tax breaks were used to load the trucks with equipment and relocate jobs to Mexico or Asia. Despite all these breaks for business, Indiana’s unemployment rate exceeds the nation’s. If tax breaks, deregulation, and anti-union legislation were the keys to job creation, Indiana would be leading the nation in jobs. Instead, it seems we’re leading families and our state to the bottom of the economic heap.

  7. Back in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s you could get jobs that required no skills. Now the market is saturated with people that have tremendous job skills that still cannot get a job that is up to their pay scale. The competition is fierce for jobs and you need to network to get a job now. I was hired for every job I applied for on site from 1976 to 1990. Not now for every decent job there are at least 100 good applicants.

    Lets hope the legislature can see in there hearts to help expand the bus (not light rail which only moves 3 percent of the population in a fixed location) system so we can be like Chicago, Milwaukee, San Francisco in that you can get a bus every 15 minutes to a 1/2 hour instead of every hour (if your lucky) so people in the inner city can get to work in a quicker shorter time.

  8. Hey Abdul, wish you would take that individualistic approach towards all the corporate welfare in the name of economic development in Marion County. All these financial machinations in the name of prosperity, yet poverty is increasing. You seem to be contradicting yourself and using conservative ideological touchstones only when they suit your argument.

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