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Sometimes raw data can point you in two different directions at once. Take poverty, for example. CBPP has the details here, but the basic story is that over the past half century we’ve spent a lot of money on social welfare benefits for the poor and it’s made a big difference:

Social welfare programs have cut the poverty rate nearly in half, and that’s true across the board. It’s true for children, for the elderly, and for the working-age population.

On the other hand, if you look at a consistent definition of poverty among our peer countries, things don’t look so good:

Both of these charts are true. There’s nothing sneaky about either one. But taken together, do they mean we’ve done pretty well addressing poverty? Or that we’ve done disgracefully badly? It’s your call.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

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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