Once-a-Year Clinic is the Only Affordable Healthcare for Many

Now This Politics Video

Once-A-Year Clinic Is Only Affordable Health Care Option For S…

There is no excuse for this in 2017

Posted by NowThis Politics on Sunday, September 17, 2017

Gillnets Push Species to the Brink of Extinction

EcoWatch

WATCH and SHARE to help spread awareness on the destruction of overfishing.Read more: http://bit.ly/2fn5CTpvia Zinc

Posted by EcoWatch on Monday, September 18, 2017

Gillnets Push Species to the Brink of Extinction

By Raffaella Tolicetti

With reproductive instincts pushing them towards the Colorado River Delta, thousands of corvina fish are currently swimming with the tide along the coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean. Making their way to the estuaries, where fresh water mixes with the saline components of the seas, these corvina are unaware that many of them will not even get the chance to lay their eggs in the very particular habitat they depend on to reproduce.

Classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, corvina have been victims from overfishing since the 90’s. Law enforcement agencies struggle to monitor their catch, despite a regulation that limits the amount of fish that can be removed from the sea.

"It's urgent that we act. There are less than 30 vaquita left. We are running out of time." — Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Posted by EcoWatch on Sunday, February 26, 2017

Covina are a marvel of nature. Their spawning rhythm is synchronized with the moon and tide cycles, transforming the calm seas of the Gulf of California into a rollicking theater as they emit their distinctive croaking sounds to communicate spawning readiness and begin to organize their formations.

Unfortunately, this spectacle also signals the fishermen, who lay nets by the thousands, waiting for this exact moment to begin catching corvina by the tons.

These fish are surrounded by an army of small boats (745 of which are legal, but the government agencies estimates that at least 1,000 pangas go out fishing) and have no chance against the nets that will catch any moving animal in the area.

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How can fishing during spawning season be justified? Studies show a constant decrease of the average fish size, with more and more juveniles caught, as the adults don’t have time to reproduce.

The results of this large scale fisheries is not only the devastation of a fish population, but other animals who are also at risk and targeted by this frenetic activity, including the shy and elusive vaquita marina. This small porpoise only lives on the coast of San Felipe, in the Gulf of California, and is considered the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Its habitat has been fragmented by gill nets, to the point of bringing the numbers of vaquita down to only 30 individuals. This species is now on the verge of extinction.

Gill nets, which have been forbidden in the upper part of the Gulf since 2015, are mainly used to fish another endangered, endemic animal of the Gulf: the totoaba bass, sought for its bladder, and not for its meat. This bladder is sold at high value on the black market in China and Hong Kong, and the rest of this predator is thrown back, bleeding, in to the sea.

These banned gill nets are the cause of death of many animals that get trapped in them, including the vaquita. Last year the only sightings of this marine mammal were three dead individuals whose cause of death was determined by scientists as being due to entanglement in gill nets, which traps them and prevents them to come up to the surface for air. They literally suffocate to death.

Efforts are being made in order to keep the refuge a safe place from the nets. It is therefore imperative that adequate law enforcement measures are put in to place, including, reporting illegal activity in the area and apprehending those engaged in it. Sea Shepherd is committed to keep patrolling and monitoring the refuge, and to remove every illegal net encountered.

The Gulf of California is a stunning place where the desert is bathed by a beautiful sea, often described as the aquarium of the planet. If our relationship to it doesn’t change immediately, it will soon be turned into an open-air cemetery, reminiscent of a world that once was, and is no more.

Raffaella Tolicetti is the ship manager on the M/V Sam Simon. The M/V Sam Simon and the M/V Farley Mowat are in the Gulf of California for Operation Milaro III.

 

In America, “we spend more money responding to floods than preventing them.”

In America, “we spend more money responding to floods than preventing them.” Corporate interests bankroll politicians for deregulation which makes everything worse. The Dutch don’t let this happen. We shouldn’t either. We can learn a lot from how the Netherlands prevents floods.

We can learn a lot from how the Netherlands prevents floods.

Posted by ATTN: Video on Sunday, September 17, 2017

300 Global Companies Commit to Science-Based Climate Targets Ahead of Climate Week NYC

TriplePundit    people, planet, profit

300 Global Companies Commit to Science-Based Climate Targets Ahead of Climate Week NYC

by Leon Kaye, Climate & Environment       September 18, 2017

http://cdn.triplepundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/A-coal-fired-power-plant-in-Indiana.jpgA coal-fired power plant in Indiana       Image: Don Sniegowski/Flickr

As the annual Climate Week NYC launches today, more companies are announcing their commitment to carbon emissions reduction targets.

And they are doing so through using the guidelines set by the Science Based Targets initiative, which provides a framework that its supporters say can help companies stay competitive while doing their part to mitigate climate change.

The number of companies committed to climate action while incorporating this initiative has roughly doubled from just over a year ago, when 155 companies had pledged to do what they could in order to limit the world’s temperature to less than a 2°C increase this century.

Companies now onboard include Adobe, Merck, Nike, United Technologies and the Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica. At least 50 of the companies that have announced a science-based emissions reduction plan to date are headquartered in the U.S.

These companies join the likes of Mars Inc., which earlier this month it would invest $1 billion over the next several years on plans such as climate change mitigation and sustainable supply chain programs. The food conglomerate recently had its targets approved by a team of experts from this initiative. The apparel manufacturer and retailer H&M announced a long-term “climate positive” plan this spring and say it is committed to this global program. And both spinoffs of the former HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company and HP Inc., have already set targets aligned with the Science Based Targets Initiative.

A study released earlier this year estimated that almost half of all Fortune 500 companies recognize climate change risks and have developed a plan for climate change mitigation or more aggressive clean energy adoption – just another way the business community is rebuking the current presidential administration. Many companies realize that nationwide climate change goals cannot occur without the private sector’s leadership; and in the U.S., many have continued their sustainable-business-as-usual plans despite the federal government’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accords.

The Science Based Targets initiative is a partnership between NGOs including CDP, World Resources Institute (WRI), WWF and the United Nations Global Compact. Companies who decide to align with this program have two years to develop a science-based emissions reduction plan, which in turn are evaluated by the team of experts who work with this initiative. The initiative only approves such plans that meet strict criteria, which to date include 71 various targets. Furthermore, companies who decided to set these science-based targets must have a plan that not only reduces emissions within their own operations, but also across their entire value chains. The initiative is one of several programs that is affiliated with the international We Mean Business coalition.

According to the WRI, the companies that have so far aligned themselves with the Science Based Targets initiative comprise an estimated $6.5 trillion in market value – an amount roughly equal to the NASDAQ stock exchange or the combined GDPs of Germany and the United Kingdom. These companies also emit 750 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, comparable to 158 million cars driven for one year, says the WRI. The companies are from 35 countries and span a wide range of sectors including apparel, chemicals, consumer packaged goods, finance, hospitality, manufacturing and technology.

Warm waters off West Coast has lingering effects for salmon

ABC News Good Morning America

Warm waters off West Coast has lingering effects for salmon

By phuong le, associated press     September 17, 2017

http://a.abcnews.com/images/Lifestyle/WireAP_2a5585dd2ad44694826d7a266ac003b2_12x5_992.jpgThe Associated Press. In this photo taken Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, salmon, identified by biologists as a coho, left, and a Chinook, swim past viewing windows at a fish ladder where salt water transitions to fresh at the Ballard Locks in Seattle. The mass of warm water known as ‘the blob’ that heated up the North Pacific Ocean has dissipated, but scientists are still seeing the lingering effects of those unusually warm sea surface temperatures on Northwest salmon and steelhead. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The mass of warm water known as “the blob” that heated up the North Pacific Ocean has dissipated, but scientists are still seeing the lingering effects of those unusually warm sea surface temperatures on Pacific Northwest salmon and steelhead.

Federal research surveys this summer caught among the lowest numbers of juvenile coho and Chinook salmon in 20 years, suggesting that many fish did not survive their first months at sea. Scientists warn that salmon fisheries may face hard times in the next few years.

Fisheries managers also worry about below average runs of steelhead returning to the Columbia River now. Returns of adult steelhead that went to sea as juveniles a year ago so far rank among the lowest in 50 years.

Scientists believe poor ocean conditions are likely to blame: Cold-water salmon and steelhead are confronting an ocean ecosystem that has been shaken up in recent years.

“The blob’s fairly well dissipated and gone. But all these indirect effects that it facilitated are still there,” Brian Burke, a research fisheries biologist with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center.

Marine creatures found farther south and in warmer waters have turned up in abundance along the coasts of Washington and Oregon, some for the first time.

“That’s going to have a really big impact on the dynamics in the ecosystem,” Burke said. “They’re all these new players that are normally not part of the system.”

Researchers with NOAA Fisheries and Oregon State University Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies have been surveying off the Pacific Northwest for 20 years to study juvenile salmon survival.

In June, they caught record numbers of warm-water fish such as Pacific pompano and jack mackerel, a potential salmon predator. But the catch of juvenile coho and Chinook salmon during the June survey — which has been tied to adult returns — was among the three lowest in 20 years.

Burke and other scientists warned in a memo to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries administrators last month that poor ocean conditions may mean poor salmon returns to the Columbia River system over the next few years.

“There was hardly any salmon out there,” Burke said. “Something is eating them and we don’t know what and we don’t know precisely where,” he added.

Seabirds such as common murres could be the culprits. Researchers caught fewer forage fish, such as herring, anchovy and smelt.

When forage fish are low, avian predators may be forced to eat more juvenile salmon. Seabirds near the mouth of the Columbia River may have feasted on more juvenile salmon as they entered the ocean.

The North Pacific Ocean had been unusually warm since the fall of 2013 with “the blob,” but sea surface temperatures have recently cooled to average or slightly warmer than average conditions. Changes in the marine ecosystem are likely to be seen for a while.

The research surveys also pulled up weird new creatures that had not been netted before. Researchers have caught tens of thousands of tube-shaped, jelly-like pyrosomes, which are generally found in tropical waters. Their impact on the marine food web isn’t yet clear.

Fisheries managers are also seeing lower runs of steelhead to the Columbia River system this year.

Joe DuPont, a regional fisheries manager with Idaho Fish and Game, blames poor feeding conditions when juvenile steelhead went out to the Pacific Ocean last year.

Warm waters brought less nutrient-rich copepods, tiny crustaceans at the base of the food chain. Meanwhile, northern copepods richer in lipids, that young steelhead eat, were less abundant.

It’s the second year of consecutive low steelhead runs, said Tucker Jones, ocean salmon and Columbia river program manager with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence to point to an unhappy river experience and meeting ocean conditions that were far from hospitable,” Jones said. “The ‘blob’ especially changed the zooplankton food web structure that was out there,” he added.

Fisheries managers have put some fishing restrictions in place due to low forecast of steelhead expected back this season.

While the mechanisms for steelhead and salmon may be different, “large scale changes to the ocean are driving all of it,” said Burke.

Hurricane Harvey Flooding: EPA to Close Houston Lab Amidst Vital Recovery Work

Newsweek

Hurricane Harvey Flooding: EPA to Close Houston Lab Amidst Vital Recovery Work

By Janissa Delzo      September 16, 2017

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Hurricane Harvey—a Category 4 storm—made history as it pummeled Texas leaving behind extensive damage and more than 40 inches of rain. The catastrophic floodwaters are potentially carrying many harms, including bacteria, human waste, and deadly chemicals. To understand exactly what may be lingering in the water, employees at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 6 Lab in Houston are conducting water tests. But now that lab, which is expected to play a key role in the extensive recovery efforts, may be closing, the Houston Chronicle reports.

When the lease ends in 2020, the 41,000 square foot space that employs about 50 people is expected to shut down and it’s unknown what will happen next, officials of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) told the Houston Chronicle.

Environmentalist and labor union groups protested at a news conference on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. about the Trump administration’s pending decision to cut EPA funding by millions of dollars. The groups cited the important work that the chemists, biologists, and other lab employees are doing regarding Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, they stated that if the Houston lab closed, testing water and soil will be much more complicated, considering the next closest EPA regional lab is located in Oklahoma, 400 miles from Houston. In addition to the Houston-area, the lab also covers other parts of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

https://pbs.twimg.com/card_img/908382394662580224/iFu5jmS8?format=jpg&name=600x314

Houston EPA lab set to close. Some say the lab’s closure is among harmful impacts of the Trump administration’s drive to slice staff and mission in the agency.   houstonchronicle.com

At the news conference, John O’Grady, who works with AFGE representing EPA employees, voiced his concerns about the potential closing.

“We have a laboratory in Houston that is state of the art and is situated directly in an industrial petrochemical complex. And that laboratory is slated for closure. Why? How much money are we going to save with that?” he questioned.

In April the employees were told the building’s lease would not be renewed, Clovis Steib, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees local 1003, told CNN. Employees are still left in the dark about future plans, leaving many worried if they will have a job come 2020.

As the end of the lease gets closer in sight, “the folks in the Houston lab are in limbo; they’re waiting for the shoe to drop. It’s like being on death row,” Steib said.

The scientists at the lab play an important role in ensuring the safety of the millions of people displaced by Harvey, he explained.

“They will be a part of determining when it is safe for storm victims to return to the area, especially neighborhoods near toxic chemical plants and contaminated Superfund sites,” Steib said.

Water testing, organized by The New York Times, found concerning results of what’s lingering in it, including one area in Houston with fecal contamination that’s at a level more than four times considered safe. In the living room of one family’s home, the tests revealed the standing water had E.coli levels 135 times above a safe level. In the kitchen, there was also high levels of lead and arsenic, The Times reported.

Big Oil will have to pay up, like Big Tobacco

CNN

Sachs: Big Oil will have to pay up, like Big Tobacco

By Jeffrey Sachs          September 15, 2017

Story highlights

  • Jeffrey Sachs: Fossil fuel companies will soon face financial reckoning as courts hold them liable for damages caused by climate change
  • Big Tobacco is implicated in causation of health problems — Big Oil will also be a target for civil damages and compensation

Jeffrey Sachs is a professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN)Here is a message to investors in the oil industry, whether pension and insurance funds, university endowments, hedge funds or other asset managers: Your investments are going to sour. The growing devastation caused by climate change, as seen this month in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean, are going to blow a hole in your fossil-fuel portfolio.

http://i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170707103741-jeffrey-sachs-headshot-medium-plus-169.jpg

Jeffrey Sachs

Not only will the companies you own suffer as society begins to abandon fossil fuels in earnest, they will also be dragged through the courts here and abroad for their long-standing malfeasance and denial of what they have done to the world.

Climate change deniers, mainly politicians in the pay of the oil industry, protest that there is no proof that destructive storms and floods are the result of human-induced global warming. Who can say that a Hurricane Harvey or Irma wouldn’t have occurred in the past?

Such a defense — the cynical shrug — will not play for much longer, either in the court of public opinion or in courts of law in the United States and abroad. The risks of climate-related disasters are real and rising, and soon it won’t matter politically or legally that any particular event might have occurred even without human-induced global warming.

The issue is of probability, not certainty. Of course, there have been weather-related disasters in the past. But global warming makes us more vulnerable to these events. Scientists emphasize that hurricane damage, for example, may rise for three reasons: higher sea levels (due to warming) cause larger storm surges; warmer oceans add energy to hurricanes; and warmer air holds more water vapor that can cause torrential downpours.

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Trump is not changing view on climate change.

Insurance companies know that climate risks are rising, scientists know it, and an increasing number of investors know it. And more of the general public knows it, too.

In climate science, the link between specific events like Harvey and Irma and the general rise in risk due to global warming is called “attribution.” It’s a problem we grapple with in many contexts. When a miner gets lung disease, a homeowner with asbestos insulation develops a rare cancer, or a smoker succumbs to lung cancer, we can never be sure that the particular case was linked to coal dust, asbestos or cigarettes.

But the courts have been ready to read the probabilities, and hold companies liable for damages when the likelihood of causation is high enough.

The courts have also linked liability with the standard of care exercised by the defendant. When a company understands the risks but ignores them, or even worse, lies about them, the court or jury is far more likely to agree to a large claim.

The tobacco companies relentlessly misled the public about their products. Some oil companies have done the same about climate change. ExxonMobil, for example, knew internally for decades that its products contribute to global warming, according to a peer-reviewed Harvard University study published last month, but publicly downplayed the linkages and the resulting risks (Exxon denies this).

The Koch brothers, owners of refineries and oil pipelines, have manufactured doubts about climate science and spent vast sums to oppose decarbonization policies and to elect politicians to do the same.

http://i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170910194316-01-pope-francis-colombia-0910-medium-plus-169.jpg

Pope Francis slams climate change deniers.

But the science of climate attribution is rapidly becoming more sophisticated, leaving the oil industry more exposed than ever.

Consider, for example, the World Weather Attribution (WWA) project. This is an effort by a consortium of scientific institutions, including the University of Oxford Environmental Change Institute, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, the University of Melbourne and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

This project has recently shown, that human-induced climate change dramatically raised the likelihood of the record-breaking heat wave in western Europe this summer. The team found that climate change “made the intensity and frequency of such extreme heat at least twice as likely in Belgium, at least four times as likely in France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and central England and at least 10 times as likely in Portugal and Spain.”

The project is now analyzing whether human-induced global warming raised the likelihood of the rainfall brought by Harvey.

American politics has long been manipulated by Big Oil, with massive campaign financing as well as backroom lobbying not seen by the public. The federal government and oil states like Texas have been as derelict as the companies, and could well find themselves also as defendants in cases brought by Americans and others who are hit by climate disaster.

Many Caribbean islands were devastated by Irma, and their leaders are appealing for aid. Soon, the cries around the world will change to a call for “compensation” or “civil damages” instead of just aid.

When climate justice comes — and it will — those who have been in denial will pay a heavy price. And those who have invested in companies that behaved recklessly and irresponsibly will share the heavy losses on that day of reckoning.

You and I don’t deserve a tax cut

Yahoo Finance

You and I don’t deserve a tax cut

Rick Newman     September 14, 2017
Most people want to pay less in taxes. I sure do. But believe it or not, taxes in the United States are relatively low, and the case for cutting them is pretty weak.

President Donald Trump has started to barnstorm the country to drum up support for tax cuts. Republicans in Congress say they’ll release a blueprint soon, with the goal of passing a bill within months. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says tax cuts might even be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017, meaning some of us will get rebates for taxes already paid.

The presumption is that Americans are overtaxed and deserve relief. But if anything, Americans are undertaxed. This isn’t an argument for raising taxes or expanding a government that’s probably too big already. It’s just simple math.

There are two basic types of taxes: Those on individuals and those on businesses. Republicans plan to cut taxes for most individuals, to put more money in people’s pockets. There’s a fundamental problem with doing that, however. The federal government will take in about $3.6 trillion in taxes this year, but it will spend $4.1 trillion. Spending will exceed revenue by 17%, with the Treasury financing the deficit by issuing debt. By definition, Americans are already getting more in government spending than they’re paying for. So why should we pay even less?

Yeah, I know: Some supply-siders think cutting taxes will magically make the economy grow faster, generating more tax revenue, on net. If only. That was the idea when George W. Bush cut taxes in 2001 and 2003. It didn’t happen then and it won’t happen now.

Compared with other developed countries, the U.S. tax burden is low. The total tax burden — including federal, state, local and payroll taxes — on a typical American family with two kids is 14.1% of gross income, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That’s lower than the tax burden in 24 out of 33 other countries surveyed by the OECD. By comparison, the tax burden is 18.3% in Canada, 21.3% in Germany and 22.7% in the United Kingdom. Where are taxes lower? In Chile, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, South Korea, Mexico, the Slovak Republic, and Switzerland. In Spain, the tax burden is the same as in the U.S.

A real life example

I’ll make this personal. Last year, federal income taxes accounted for 20.5% of my total pay. Social Security and Medicare contributions raised the federal cut to 25.4%. Add in state and local taxes and my total income tax burden (not including property taxes!) was 32.5% of my gross pay. That’s a lot. Would I like it to be lower? Hell yeah.

Problem is, I can’t easily identify a big chunk of federal spending that should be slashed so I can keep more of my money. Social Security and Medicare benefit people like my mom. I’ve known people who relied on Medicaid and other relief programs while in between jobs or enduring some kind of hardship. With a nuclear North Korea, a bellicose Russia and all the other global problems, it doesn’t seem like a good time to slash defense spending. The rest of the federal budget is peanuts compared with these big programs. And I don’t think Washington should add even more to the national debt —which my kids and grandkids will have to pay off — so that I can spend a bit more borrowed money today.

Tax burden has eased over the years, but Americans still struggle

Americans tend to think taxes have drifted up over time, but the opposite is true. The average federal tax burden for the middle 60% of earners is 13.8% of income, according to the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office. That’s 2.8 percentage points lower than the historical average of 16.6%. So overall, American taxpayers already get more than they pay for, they pay less than most citizens elsewhere, and the tax burden has dropped over time. This is a weak case for tax cuts. Arguably, no case.

American taxpayers do have some legitimate gripes, however. First, they are not getting good government for the taxes they do pay. Congress can barely accomplish its most basic job — funding the government — and it seems incapable of addressing major problems such as illegal immigration, soaring health care costs, and worsening income inequality. If the government offered a money-back guarantee, no doubt millions of taxpayers would demand a full refund.

A lot of Americans are falling behind, as well. There’s voluminous evidence showing the rich are getting richer while much of the rest struggle to keep up with inflation. This isn’t happening because taxes are too high. It’s happening because a global, digitized economy heavily favors people with certain skills while punishing those who are less-educated. The solution to this is complicated, involving better education, more effective job training and probably also more grit and determination among the disaffected. Lowering taxes won’t do much, if anything, to help people who aren’t prospering prosper.

Corporate taxes are the real problem

There’s a better case for fixing the business tax code, which is riddled with distortions that create incentives for companies to stash money overseas and spend on the wrong things. The top corporate rate, 35%, needs to come down, if only because rates are now lower in most other developed countries. Most U.S. companies pay far less than the 35% rate, thanks to dozens of loopholes bought with lobbyist money. That produces this paradox: The United States has the highest corporate tax rate of any developed nation — 14.5 percentage points higher than the average for Europe — yet corporate taxes have dropped from 17% of federal revenue in 1970 to 10.5% today. Something is seriously broken.

There should probably also be lower rates for small and medium-sized businesses, which often pay taxes at individual rates that can be two or three times higher than the discounted rates corporations with armies of tax lawyers typically pay. In general, lower rates with fewer loopholes are better than high rates with all kinds of workarounds, even if there’s no net difference in the revenue raised. The best thing Congress could probably do is make the U.S. tax code as efficient as possible — the envy of companies everywhere — without cutting any tax revenue or adding to the national debt. And if Congress actually accomplished something, maybe we wouldn’t feel so bitter about the taxes we do pay.

Confidential tip line: rickjnewman@yahoo.com.   Encrypted communication available.

The census data has bad news for Black and Latinx Americans

ThinkProgress

The census data has bad news for Black and Latinx Americans

Across the country families are getting wealthier, but rosy coverage of new census figures is hiding an alarming fact.

E.A. Crunden        September 13, 2017

https://i0.wp.com/thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ap_110215017408.jpg?resize=1280%2C720px&ssl=1 AP Photo/David Goldman

New Census Bureau data shows an increasingly optimistic picture for white Americans — but far less so for Americans of color, many of whom still face stark income disparities.

Released Tuesday, the numbers appear to show good news across the board in several key areas. Median household income in the United States in 2016 was $59,039 — a more than three percent rise from 2015 and the highest ever recorded. Poverty also saw a dip, as did the number of people without health insurance. The Census Bureau said that data reflects both a return to pre-recession levels, with 2.5 million people no longer living in poverty, and a precarious drop in the number of uninsured Americans, now around 8.8 percent of the population.

But the figures also show a grim reality. While white families now earn an average income of around $65,041, that picture is far less rosy for other racial demographics. Hispanic families earn around $47,675 — considerably lower than the over-arching average, $59,039. Worse off are Black families, who earn a median of $39,490, more than $25,000 less than their white counterparts. (The top earners, bringing in around $81,431 per year, are families identified as Asian, a broad demographic including those with origins across much of the Asian continent but outside of the Middle East.) Those numbers are despite the fact that medians for both Black and Hispanic households grew at twice the rate of white households in 2016.

The Census Bureau told ThinkProgress that no reason could be given for the gaps, and commentary could only be offered on the figures and trends. But experts and economists highlighted the data on social media, pointing to the numbers as a disconcerting sign that the figures reinforce income inequality in a damning way, one that also cuts along gendered lines. Janelle Jones, an economic analyst with the Economic Policy Institute, noted on Twitter that “earnings actually DECREASED for black women and Latinas” while they rose for white women (women of all races are still out-earned significantly by their male counterparts):

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While the figures alone are striking, they aren’t the only indicator that the United States has a severe economic inequality issue. According to a new study by Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies, wealth trends for Black and Latinx families are dwindling, even as the United States becomes increasingly less white demographically. If the study is correct, the median wealth for Black families will be $0 by 2053; two decades later, Latinx families are expected to reach the same number.

“While households of color are projected to reach majority status by 2043, if the racial wealth divide is left unaddressed, median Black household wealth is on a path to hit zero by 2053 and median Latino household wealth is projected to hit zero twenty years later,” the report’s key findings note. “In sharp contrast, median White household wealth would climb to $137,000 by 2053.”

Related: Census data confirms connection between Obamacare and record-low uninsured rate. But states that did not embrace ACA provisions continue to see higher uninsured rates.

Wealth is about more than income — assets and ownership are an important component of how wealth is determined. But the study still points at an increasingly pressing issue. Projections indicate the United States will be majority non-white by 2044; if trends continue as they are now, that could mean serious repercussions for the U.S. economy, which will suffer along with many communities of color.

This is all part of an enduring legacy, Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, a senior fellow at Prosperity Now, told The Guardian.

“The middle class didn’t just happen by market forces, and the whiteness of the middle class didn’t just happen by market forces,” he said. “Both were intentional.”

Interpretations of Tuesday’s census figures have in many ways overlooked this reality. With much of U.S. focus directed on the country’s middle class, any growth within that group is seen as positive. But for Black and Latinx people, the story becomes more complicated, both because they are paid less than white counterparts, and because white families are more likely to have access to pre-existing wealth and assets.

“You find first-generation, even second-generation African-American and Latino households that have professional jobs and are making ‘middle-income money’ – but they have the wealth of a white high-school dropout,” said Asante-Muhammad. “They’re not truly part of a middle class – which would mean financial stability, money to weather challenging economic situations, or money to invest in the economic opportunities of their children.”

That reality is one that might not be addressed any time soon. In addition to reinforcing pre-existing racial income inequality, census figures also point at another jarring trend — the rich are getting richer more generally, while the poorest households have an even smaller income than before. That’s not a good sign for Americans of color already at a disadvantage, or a positive sign that dramatic shifts could be coming.

Even those welcoming the census data were quick to note that the figures reflect a reality prior to the election of President Donald Trump. The president’s policy proposals, which aim to roll back things like food stamp funding, and wide-scale legislative efforts, like unraveling the Affordable Care Act, could have a dramatic impact on the growth measured in 2016.

That’s something Americans should watch out for, Peter Atwater, president of Financial Insyghts, told the Washington Post.

“There’s a danger that this is as good as it gets,” he said.

While the world is being bombarded by extreme weather events, the Trump administration is attacking scientists and known science.

DeSmogBlog

While the world is being bombarded by extreme weather events, the Trump administration is attacking scientists and known science.

Extreme Weather Pounding the Globe and Trump Attacks Scientists

While the world is being bombarded by extreme weather events, the Trump administration is attacking scientists and known science. #ClimateChange

Posted by DeSmogBlog on Thursday, September 14, 2017