In 2011, the Census Bureau, after sixteen years of study, released a new, more comprehensive calculus to better gauge poverty in America. This "Supplemental Poverty Measure" (the "SPM") calculates the poverty threshold by estimating not only the cost of food, but also expenses related to clothing, shelter, utilities, and medical costs." Further, the SPM makes adjustment for cost of living, depending upon where the family resides, and also takes into account governmental support, such as food stamps and tax credits, to determine income. Logically, more accurate data on poverty distribution by region, and a more precise measure of the effects of antipoverty programs like cash benefits, food assistance, and housing aid, should benefit a lawmaker seeking to make informed decisions on how to recalibrate the existing social safety net." Yet, the pushback against the SPM has been intense." The failure of efforts to reform or replace the existing poverty formula underscores how contentious poverty issues can be.
Christie Marra & H. T. Perry,
Giving Voice to the Underserved: A Review of How Lower-Income Virginians Fared in the 2012 Virginia General Assembly,
Rich. J. L. & Pub. Int.
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