Bloomberg, Champion of the PoorRoundup: Historians' Take
tags: Michael Bloomberg
Michael B. Katz is a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of “The Undeserving Poor.”
DURING New York City’s mayoral race, criticism of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for neglecting the poor ignored his bold and unprecedented antipoverty measures. He may not have eliminated inequality or reversed the impact of the Great Recession — over the last two years, the poverty rate has crept up to 21.2 percent from 20.1 percent — but failure to acknowledge what he did in fact accomplish is not only unfair but also shortsighted. Usually depicted as a champion of the rich, Mr. Bloomberg mounted an antipoverty program at a moment when poverty as an issue was off the national radar and even politically toxic.
In March 2006, the mayor appointed a 32-member blue-ribbon commission to advise him on antipoverty strategy, at a time when no other mayor of a major American city had made poverty a priority. Mr. Bloomberg’s commission developed an alternative measure of the poverty line, prompting the United States Census Bureau to do the same, which calculated that more New Yorkers were poor in 2009 than the official measures suggested — 19.9 percent compared with 17.3 percent. The commission recommended directing the city’s resources to three groups that were especially at risk: the working poor, young adults between the of ages 16 and 24, and families with children below age 6....
comments powered by Disqus
- Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation among documents sold for $6.2m in New York
- Family shines light on American POW killed by Hiroshima blast
- In Hiroshima 71 years after first atomic strike, Obama calls for end of nuclear weapons
- Artist Corrects Inaccuracies At The George W. Bush Library With Augmented Reality
- “Unprecedented” discovery of mysterious structures created by Neanderthals
- History Relevance Campaign meets at the Smithsonian
- Bernard Lewis Turns 100
- David Lowenthal, author of "The Past Is a Foreign Country,” says it’s folly to scratch the names of slaveholders off buildings
- Jean Edward Smith, biographer of FDR and Ike, has a new biography coming out … of George W. Bush
- Flora Fraser, biographer of George and Martha Washington, wins $50,000 George Washington Prize