The editorial’s overall argument—that antipoverty spending has been slashed—is also incorrect. Antipoverty spending leaped by 39 percent from 2001 to 2005.And TNR editors respond:
Overall, federal poverty spending has increased because the number of poor Americans has grown. The statistic to consult here is real per capita spending on the poor—that is, what the average poor person receives in benefits. According to a recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, that number has increased, on average, by a mere 1.9 percent per year under Bush. Once you further adjust for spiraling health care costs, the volume of services received by the average poor person shrinks even further.