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How goes the war on poverty? In Arkansas, maybe not so well

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. Since then, the economy has been through any number of ups and downs, the latest down being the recent Great Recession. So the question some are asking is, how goes that war?

One organization that seeks to provide the answer to that question has just come out recently with a state-by-state accounting. It's called the 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard. The report, titled Treading Water in the Deep End, is the work of the Corporation for Enterprise Development -- a nonprofit organization focused on helping low- and middle- income consumers improve their economic security. 

According to the CFED, the nation as a whole is doing better. President Andrea Levere says that across the broad spectrum of measures there's been improvement. She particularly cites upticks in employment and lower foreclosure rates. She also says credit card debt data indicates improvement, though we know that there are some analysts who disagree on that point.

State by state, the CFED says things vary widely. Sadly, Arkansas does not fare too well.

The CFED's key measure is of what it calls Liquid Asset Poverty. It attempts to gauge how many households might survive for three months at the federal poverty level if they suffered some unforeseen crisis such as a job loss or disabling medical issue.

By that measure, a family of four would be liquid asset poor unless they had $5,887 in savings. The CFED says 52 percent of Arkansas households would be at or below the threshold. In the overall state rankings, Arkansas comes in near the bottom at 43, though it ranks 16th among states with policies aimed at improving citizens' financial security and opportunity.

Economic security is something we all desire. Unexpected circumstances can suddenly leave you unable to keep up on debt obligations. Countering creditor pressure is something that can be achieved. Consult with an attorney to learn how.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Best and worst states for financial security," Richard Eisenberg, March 4, 2014

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