Directions:There are 2 passages in this section.Each passage is followed by some questions or unfinished statements.For each of them there are four choices marked A),B),C) and D).You should decide on the best choice and mark the corresponding letter on Answer Sheet 2 with a single line through the centre.
Questions 52 to 56 are based on the following passage.
Who's poor in America?That's a question hard to answer.Hard because there's no conclusive definition of poverty.Low income matters,though how low is unclear.Poverty is also a state of mind that fosters self-defeating behavior-bad work habits,family breakdowns,and addictions.Finally,poverty results from bad luck:accidents,job losses,disability.
Despite poverty's messiness,we've measured progress against it by a single statistic:the federal poverty line.Bythis measure,we haven't made much progress.But the apparent lack of progress is misleading for two reasons.
First,it ignores immigration.Many immigrants are poor and low-skilled.They add to the poor.From 1989 to 2007,about three quarters of the increase in the poverty population occurred among Hispanics （西班牙美国人）-mostly immigrants and their children.
Second,the poor's material well-being has improved.The official poverty measure obscures this by counting only pre-tax cash income and ignoring other sources of support,including food stamps and housing subsidies.Although many poor live from hand to mouth,they've participated in rising living standards.In 2005,91% had microwaves,79% air-conditioning,and 48% cell phones.
The existing poverty line could be improved by adding some income sources and subtracting some expenses.
Unfortunately,the administration's proposal for a "supplemental poverty measure" in 2011 goes beyond that.The new poverty number would compound public confusion.It also raises questions about whether the statistic is tailored to favor a political agenda.
The "supplemental measure" ties the poverty threshold to what the poorest third of Americans spend on food,housing,clothing,and utilities.The actual threshold will probably be higher than today's poverty line.Many Americans would find this weird:people get richer,but "poverty" stays stuck.