Hillary Clinton, stung by an Obama mailer that painted her as a supporter of the North American Free Trade agreement, is responding in kind with a barrage of postcards saying, “Ohio needs to know the truth about Obama’s position on Protecting American Workers and NAFTA.” But the mailer gives less than the whole truth.
Stories by Brooks Jackson
Clinton said “every Democrat should be outraged” at two “false” mailers that Obama sent to voters in Ohio. We find that a mailer criticizing her position on trade is indeed misleading. One that attacks her health care plan we have previously described as straining the facts, though not exactly “false.”
Q: Are polls skewed because many people only have cell phones?
A: Poll-takers worry a lot about this. A recent study indicates that polling results aren't yet affected very much. We're not so sure.
Q: Is a minimum-wage worker officially in poverty?
A: A single person working full time at the minimum wage would be barely above the poverty line. A single parent would be below it.
I have always believed that the poverty line was below minimum wage. Is the poverty line usually less than minimum wage? Historically has this situation improved over time?
By comparison, the official Census Bureau poverty threshold in 2007 was $10,787 for a single person under age 65, with no dependents.
For a single parent with one child, however, the official poverty line was $14,291, and for a single parent with two children, it was $16,705. So anyone trying to support even the smallest of families on a single minimum-wage job would qualify as poor.
Until the most recent increase, the federal minimum wage hadn’t increased for nearly a decade, since Sept. 1, 1997, when it was set at $5.15 per hour. Then as now, the minimum wage would put a single, full-time worker’s income ($10,712) just above the poverty threshold for 1997 for a single person ($8,183), but it wasn’t enough for a single parent with one child to rise above the official poverty line ($11,063).
Under current law, the federal minimum wage is set to increase to $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008, and to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.
We haven’t tried to adjust any of these figures for the value of Food Stamps, Medicaid benefits or other state or federal programs for which a minimum-wage worker might qualify, depending on his or her circumstances. And the official measure of poverty is, of course, somewhat arbitrary. We should also note that some who work at minimum-wage jobs are spouses or children working for "pin money" in families where the principle breadwinner may have a much better-paying job.
But by and large, a full-time job at the minimum wage is hardly a sure ticket out of poverty.
U.S. Department of Labor. "Wages: Minimum Wage," Web site accessed 12 Feb. 2008.
U.S. Census Bureau. "Poverty Thresholds 2007: Poverty Thresholds for 2007 by Size of Family and Number of Related Children Under 18 Years," Web site accessed 12 Feb. 2008.
U.S. Department of Labor. "History of Changes to the Minimum Wage Law," Website accessed 12 Feb. 2008.
Q: Who are the superdelegates and can they change their votes once they are "committed"?
A: Democratic "superdelegates" may vote as they see fit.
Summary The Democratic National Committee proposes to spend unlimited amounts of money to "tell the real story" about John McCain before Republicans can "start smearing" the eventual Democratic nominee. But […]
Q: Can people be sued for false political advertising?
A: Targets of false ads rarely sue. Libel law makes it practically impossible for candidates to collect damages, even if they should win.
Q: During the Clinton administration was the federal budget balanced? Was the federal deficit erased?
A: Yes to both questions, whether you count Social Security or not.
Q: Does the official jobless rate fail to count people who have no unemployment benefits?
A: They are counted, too. The rate is based on a huge survey and counts those who are out of work whether they get benefits or not.
Clinton and Obama left their recent bitterness behind at the Democratic debate prior to a nationwide series of primaries and caucuses on Feb. 5. They emphasized their areas of agreement and looked more like running mates than rivals for the nomination. By the end, both were ducking a question about whether the other would be their pick for vice president, and afterward they practically embraced in front of the cameras.