The Census Bureau recently created a new supplemental poverty measure, which defines the poverty threshold as the amount of money that the poorest third of Americans spend on food, clothing, shelter, and utilities. Journalist Robert Samuelson [2010] proposed the following thought experiment: Suppose that all Americans doubled their incomes tomorrow, and suppose that their spending on food, clothing, shelter, and utilities doubled as a result. What would happen to the number of people in poverty ac-cording to this new supplemental measure? Does this strike you as a desirable measure?

  • CreatedMarch 25, 2015
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