Social Security is frequently on the chopping block when it comes to talking about social programs that could be “fixed.” But did you know how many more people would end up in poverty without it? Take a look at this chart and then think about it the next time a conversation arises about cutting it back or turning the program into a stock investment tool. Wall Street can keep its hands off, thankyouverymuch.
What it means:
The SPM (Supplemental Poverty Measure) considers many factors beyond simply the poverty rate, such as what it actually costs to live (the price of medicine and copays, housing, food, utilities, etc.) and how those costs affect disposable income. It also considers income provided through safety-net programs, such as Social Security and food stamps, that helps with some of these costs.
Basically, the red bar indicates what the poverty rate is with all of these programs, and the blue bars show us what the poverty rate would actually be without those.
This graphic is from the Economic Policy Institute. Thumbnail image via Wikimedia Commons.