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MICHIGAN TO PUT LIMITS ON BRIDGE CARDS
A bill expected to pass the state Senate and be signed into law would limit where welfare recipients could use their state-issued debit cards. The state House passed bills that would restrict the use of Michigan Bridge Cards, used like debit cards, for state food assistance and cash programs. The bill prevents Bridge cardholders from withdrawing cash from casino ATMs and from buying lottery tickets, alcohol and tobacco. Other bills in the package would require the state to deactivate a Bridge card when a recipient is in jail.

POVERTY RATE CLIMBS
The U.S. poverty rate hit a 27-year high in 2010, coming in at 15.1 percent, according to data released in September from the U.S. Census Bureau. Michigan’s poverty rate stood at 15.5 percent.  The report concluded that 46.2 million people were living at, or below, the poverty line in 2010, which is the highest number since recordkeeping began in 1952; the poverty rate in 2009 was 14.3 percent.

WELCOME TO YOUR PARENTS’ BASEMENT
In spring 2011, 5.9 million young adults, age 25-34, resided in their parents’ household, according to U.S. Census statistics on “doubled-up” households. That’s up from 4.7 million young adults who lived with their parents before the recession. Doubled-up households are defined as households that include at least one “additional” adult: a person 18 or older who is not enrolled in school and is not the homeowner, spouse or cohabiting partner of the homeowner.

WAKING UP FROM THE AMERICAN DREAM
Parents who hope their children grow up to be better off than they are might want to think again, according to “Downward Mobility from the Middle Class: Waking up from the American Dream,” a new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The idea that children will grow up to be better off than their parents is a central tenet of the modern-day American Dream, but the study finds that a middle-class upbringing does not guarantee the same status as your parents over the course of a lifetime.

The study concludes that one-third of Americans raised in the middle class will fall short of remaining there as adults. According to the findings, marital status, education, test scores and drug use have a strong influence on whether a middle-class child loses economic ground as an adult.

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