To Beat Poverty, Start by Measuring it Better

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Math, unfortunately for some of us, matters. And numbers, unfortunately for all of us, can mislead. 

For example, President Biden’s recent $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” was sold as a COVID-19 relief bill. But the bill provided less than $200 billion to actually fight the virus. Billions more will go toward new stimulus payments and expanded child tax credits in the months and years ahead. 

Supporters call these provisions the new War on Poverty. And, just like the old War on Poverty, our eyes will look at the poverty rate as a scorecard. In the tornado of conjecture, opinion, and outright spin that has already begun, when we see quantifiable metrics like the poverty rate, we’ll grab them like helmets that can protect us in the whirlwind.