Thursday, April 13, 2006

Statistics: Inflation Calculator

I stumbled across this really useful online tool. Enter in an amount of money, an initial year, and the final year, and it calculates the answer for you. Viola, instant inflation calculator for any years between 1800-2005.

So, the average (it varies by state) maximum welfare benefit in 1970 was about $193.
The average maximum welfare benefit in 2003 was about $412. Welfare benefits have more then doubled, right?

No, in reality, $193 in 1970 would be worth about $925 in 2003. So welfare benefits have actually decreased by over 50% in the past 30 or so years.

And hey, poverty has gone up, what a surprise! But don't worry, welfare caseloads have gone down, and that's the real policy goal right now. Probably because its not worth it to jump through all the bureaucratic hurdles just to get a maximum of $412 a month for your family.

Now, I'm not proposing that welfare programs solve the problem of poverty. But there is pretty overwhelming evidence that welfare programs reduce poverty, and at the very least make living in poverty more bearable.

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