Wednesday, September 03, 2003

A Modest Proposal

The NY Times helps connect the dots:

Things are looking bad.

Census Shows Ranks of Poor Rose in 2002 by 1.3 Million

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 — The number of Americans living below the poverty line increased by more than 1.3 million last year, even though the economy technically edged out of recession during the same period, a Census Bureau report shows.

The spike in economic hardship hit individuals and families alike. The report indicated that the total percentage of people in poverty increased to 12.4 percent from 12.1 percent in 2001 and totaled 34.8 million. At the same time, the number of families living in poverty went up by more than 300,000 in 2002 to 7 million from 6.6 million in 2001.

The number of children in poverty rose by more than 600,000 during the same period to 12.2 million. The rate of increase in children under age 5 jumped a full percentage point to 19.8 percent living below the poverty line from 18.8 percent a year earlier

What is to be done?

Considering that over 80,000 jobs have been shed for each month of his incumbency, President Bush's announcement that he is creating a new undersecretary of commerce post devoted to job creation is notable for its feebleness. The only detail yet clear is that the post is to be devoted to the "needs of manufacturers," and that is hardly a confidence builder for the 9 million trying to find work plus the millions more who have given up.

Maybe we should just let nature take its course. One way:

Emergency Rooms Get Eased Rules on Patient Care

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 — The Bush administration is relaxing rules that say hospitals have to examine and treat people who require emergency medical care, regardless of their ability to pay.

Under the new rule, which takes effect on Nov. 10, patients might find it more difficult to obtain certain types of emergency care at some hospitals or clinics that hospitals own and operate.

Or another

E.P.A. Relaxes Restrictions on Sales of Contaminated Land

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 — The Environmental Protection Agency has relaxed restrictions on selling some land contaminated with PCB's for redevelopment, reversing a 25-year-old policy.


PCB's, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are toxic substances that take a long time to break down in the environment. They are known to cause neurological and immunodeficiency development disorders in children.