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Experts: Unimproved Child Poverty Rates Ignored by Presidential Candidates

Child poverty rates have not improved much since the Great Recession, an issue so far unaddressed by Presidential candidates. (Pixabay)
Child poverty rates have not improved much since the Great Recession, an issue so far unaddressed by Presidential candidates. (Pixabay)
July 25, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The percentage of children living in poverty has not improved much since the Great Recession. In Iowa, the poverty rate for children reached 17 percent in the years between 2010 to 2014, the most recent year data was collected.

According to data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, rates have yet to return to pre-recession levels of 14 percent. Julia Isaacs, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, said this is unusual.

"It's typical for the poverty rate to remain high a year or two after a recession,” Isaacs said. "But to have it remain high three or four years after a recession is less typical."

The issue has been virtually ignored during the presidential campaign season so far, according to the bipartisan children's advocacy organization First Focus.
Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, said that in the first 10 presidential debates, only 1 of 501 questions asked of the Republican and Democratic candidates were specific to children.

"Even in the last campaign,” Lesley said, "both Romney and Obama issued statements during the end, talking about things they would do to address it."

He said It's still not too late to introduce the issue during the 2016 presidential race.

"If they would engage in the conversation I think they would find a very receptive audience among the public,” Lesley said. “But because kids don't vote, they don't have PACs, they're not donating to campaigns, they're not on top of mind, and so it's a huge problem that we face."

The federal poverty level is defined as a family of four living on an income of about $1,000 or less per month.

Bob Kessler, Public News Service - IA