Is Obama Not Spending Enough on the Poor?

Liberal reporter Eric Eckholm pushes another left-wing study exaggerating the fragility of the "fraying" safety net.

Is it true that the "Safety Net Is Fraying for the Very Poor" in the United States? That's the headline over Sunday's story by Eric Eckholm, who brought his usual liberal slant to the issue.

The piece's text box suggested the massive Obama stimulus was worthy but not sufficient: "The stimulus package contains aid money, but what happens when it expires?"

Eckholm is consistent in his use of disguising the liberal leanings of the groups he champions, and this story typically failed to identify the left-wing pro-labor Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (an Eckholm favorite), merely calling it a "private group in Washington."

Government "safety net" programs like Social Security and food stamps have pulled growing numbers of Americans out of poverty since the mid-1990s. But even before the current recession, these programs were providing less help to the most desperately poor, mainly nonworking families with children, according to a new study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a private group in Washington.

The recession is expected to raise poverty rates, economists agree, although the impact is being softened by the federal stimulus package adopted this year, which temporarily expanded measures like food stamps, child tax credits, unemployment benefits and housing and tuition aid.

In view of the gloomy employment report last week, economists are debating whether to increase stimulus funds over all. But in a side argument, poverty experts are also asking whether elements of the package aimed at the most vulnerable Americans should be extended beyond their scheduled expiration in two years or even made permanent.

If spending on the poor is now "stimulus," then what exactly doesn't qualify as stimulus?

Eckholm, who worked as a political appointee during the Carter administration, quoted two liberal economists supportive of spending more on the poor and alsoquoting the author of the left-wing report, while relegating one mildly opposing view to the last two paragraphs.