Friday, December 27, 2019

Holiday Poverty Estimates for Johnstown and Cambria County

In addition to the school district estimates that I posted about two weeks ago the Census bureau has produced estimates for every county and municipality in the US just in time for the holidays.  For Johnstown the poverty rate increased to 38.7% while it decreased slightly for Cambria County, Pennsylvania and the US. This is according to the federal definition of poverty which is about $30,000 for a family of four.

The census bureau also produced median household income estimates for the same counties and municipalities in the US for 2018.  For Johnstown there was a slight increase of $658 in the median income which is still well below the county, state, and US medians. This increase was within the $1,770 margin of error so we must conclude that there is really negligible change in the median income.

The median for Cambria County did decrease in 2018 by $844 in 2018 while the state and US medians increased by $1,786 and $1,601 respectively.  The PA and US increases were outside their margins of error while Johnstown's and Cambria's were not.

On Christmas Eve PBS Frontline rebroadcast a documentary on the effect of poverty on children in the US.  It's not just a Johnstown problem.  Unfortunately they do not allow me to embed it here but you can watch it at the link here.  Merry Christmas to all.

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Sunday, December 22, 2019

GOP Congress Enthusiastic About Protecting Trump? Actions Speak Louder Then Words

Much has been said about the Impeachment of Donald Trump.  On Wednesday there was 11 hours of debate.  One GOP Congressman even compared the proceedings in the house to the trial of Jesus before Pontius Pilate.  All GOP Congressmen and did vote against impeachment with three Democrats.  

The graph above shows that the vote on the second article was a five minute vote with 229 voting yes 198 voting no and one Democrat voting present (Tulsi Gabbard).  After the first minute of the vote the percentage of Democrats (blue line) casting their vote was higher than the Republicans (red line) for the five minutes.  The vote was held open for an additional eleven minutes to make sure that as many as possible voted.  Tulsi Gabbard voted present at the 1:18 mark.  You can see the progress of the vote in the clip below.

For comparison the next day the House voted on the State and Local Taxes Act.  It was passed 218-206 on another mostly party line vote.  Like the Article II vote, it was a five minute vote but the percentage of Republicans voting was much closer to the Democrats for the five minutes.  The vote was held open for  only one minute and 22 seconds as you can see in the video below.

The slow response to the impeachment articles also occurred in the vote on the first article (a 15 minute vote).  It was held open for nine minutes and 59 seconds after the 15 minutes had elapsed.  36 GOP members or 18% had not voted at the end of the 15 minutes compared to 13 Democrats or 6%.  The Article II vote was held immediately after the first.

This slow response to the vote suggests a lack of enthusiasm for voting no on the articles of impeachment.  This wasn't evident in the GOP SALT vote in the house the next day.  Actions do speak louder than words.  Former Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has said that if the impeachment vote were a secret ballot in the Senate, at least 35 of his former GOP colleagues would vote to convict and remove him from office.  The GOP rank and file is another story.

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