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Via Jon Cohn, a group of scholars at the Rockefeller Center, led by Jacob Hacker, have created a new measure called the Economic Security Index to complement the more traditional measures of poverty. Basically, it measures the number of people who have experienced a major loss in income (25% or more) — either due to a decline in income or large out-of-pocket medical expenses or both — and who lack adequate financial wealth to buffer the drop. By their projection, the number of Americans in this category is now over 20%, far higher than in any previous recession.

If you go to the ESI site, you can also play around with the index. How many people have lost a third of their income? Half? How are high school dropouts doing? How are different age groups doing? Different ethnic groups? It’s grim reading.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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