ARRA Keeping More Than 840,000 Californians Out of Poverty

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has kept 844,000 Californians out of poverty during 2009, according to a new report from our colleagues at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). The analysis looks at the impact of seven ARRA provisions, including increased unemployment insurance and food stamp benefits and the expansion of three tax credits for working families. In addition to keeping families out of poverty, these provisions reduced the severity of poverty for another 5.9 million Californians whose incomes fall below the poverty line.

The CBPP notes that these estimates are conservative, partly because the provisions examined in the report cover only about one-quarter of total ARRA spending. The ARRA’s other spending provisions also help to lessen the extent of poverty either through direct job creation or through increased spending that boosts consumer demand and thereby saves or creates jobs.

The CBPP’s bottom line: “In addition to boosting economic activity and preserving or creating jobs, [ARRA] is softening the recession’s impact on poverty by directly lifting family incomes.”

— Scott Graves

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