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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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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