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Unemployed people speak with hiring representatives during a job fair in Beattyville, Kentucky, on July 28. Photo: Jon Cherry/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pandemic-related government aid programs are projected to cut poverty nearly in half this year from pre-pandemic levels, according to a report by the Urban Institute.

Why it matters: The Urban Institute projects the poverty rate will fall to 7.7% this year from 13.9% in 2018, which will amount to the largest reduction in poverty the U.S. has seen in such a small increment of time.

  • Federal stimulus checks had the largest impact on decreasing poverty, per the report. Had the checks not been issued, the report projects 12.4 million more people would be in poverty in 2021.
  • The benefits have had the most significant impact on Black non-Hispanic people, reducing their poverty rate by about 74%.
  • The government's annual spending on these programs is projected to cost more than $1 trillion, per the New York Times.

By the numbers: The decline is nearly three times the previous three-year record, per a report by researchers at Columbia University.

  • The combined benefits have had the largest impact on children, amounting to a decline of child poverty of 61%.

What they're saying: "The policy response since the start of the pandemic goes beyond anything we’ve ever done, and the antipoverty effect dwarfs what most of us thought was possible," Bob Greenstein of the Brookings Institution said, per the Times.

Conservatives, long critical of government aid, panned the projections.

  • “There’s no doubt that by shoveling trillions of dollars to the poor, you can reduce poverty,” Robert Rector, a researcher at the Heritage Foundation, said, per the NYT.
  • “But that’s not efficient and it’s not good for the poor because it produces social marginalization. You want policies that encourage work and marriage, not undermine it," he added.

Go deeper

Jul 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Infrastructure cap will force fuzzy math

President Biden answers reporters' questions after a speech Thursday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's (D-Ariz.) warning that she’s opposed to a budget reconciliation bill costing $3.5 trillion will force Senate Democrats and the White House to either trim the proposals in it or tinker with how many years they'll run.

Why it matters: Such gamesmanship will be necessary if lawmakers and the Biden administration want to keep the support of progressives and centrists. But it will lead to a bill with costs and durations as uneven as the Manhattan skyline.

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queirog has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report

Former President Trump hosting a boxing match in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 11. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet's 2018 reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The suit, filed in New York's Dutchess County, alleges NYT journalists "engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records" and that they "convinced" Mary Trump to "smuggle records out of her attorney's office and turn them over to The Times."