The Left should really consider adopting a mascot for their cause.
And their motto?
“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
And of course, you must have heard by now the latest catastrophe du jour:
47 Million Americans Live Under the Poverty Line!
Did you know 47 million Americans live under the poverty line and that figure has risen every year for the past four years? There are more Americans in poverty than at any other time during the past 52 years.
What about the fact there are the same amount of jobs in total in the US economy today as there were in 2000, and yet the population is 38 million larger? These are significant figures because the US economy is not creating jobs and, without jobs, these figures get worse. If they get worse, something will give.
This sounds utterly disastrous. I, who had been growing ever more cynical day by day slipped for a moment, immediately fell for it, hook, line and sinker. “Well, why aren’t we doing enough for the poor? We are one of the richest nations and we have 47 million living in poverty?” were the thoughts running through my head. I had no idea there were so many malnourished children living in the backs of cars… I was starting to feel guilty for my own middle-class cushy lifestyle. “How dare I look at the latest fall fashion, think of updating my wardrobe when there are millions of adults and children starving?” But then I decided to do a little digging…
* A little aside about David McWilliams — he lives in Ireland which is one of the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain). It is ironic that he is complaining about the poverty here in the U.S. when Ireland due to it’s liberal spending policies is currently embroiled in a devastating economic crisis of it’s own and may require a bailout from the European union or the IMF.
Under the guidelines of census poverty measurement, a family of four with a cash income of under $21,944 is considered poor. But there is something very wrong, and I would daresay deceptive with this standard of measurement because the Census Bureau ignores almost the ENTIRE welfare state. A family of four making $21,943 and receiving $36,000 in welfare benefits is considered poor by the government!
This year, government will spend over $900 billion on means-tested anti-poverty programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care and included in that total.) This means-tested welfare spending comes to around $9000 for each poor or low-income American – virtually none of which is counted by census officials for purposes of calculating poverty or inequality. The missing money is greater than the gross domestic product of most other countries.
In a recent Rasmussen poll,
Sixty-three percent (63%) of American Adults think a family that is adequately fed and living in a house or apartment that is in good repair is not in poverty.
Most people would agree that the image of poverty we have in our mind is a homeless family living in the back of van and struggling to put food on the table. Well the truth is that only 1% of the U.S. population is homeless. And I feel terrible for that 1%, but to pull out numbers like 47 million is indeed nothing more than irresponsible journalism.
Here are some startling facts about our “poor”:
1. 80% of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36% of the entire U.S. population had AC.
2. 92% of poor households have a microwave; 2/3 have at least one DVD player and 70% have a VCR.
3. Nearly 75% have a car or truck; 31% have two or more cars or trucks.
4. 4 out of 5 poor adults assert they were never hungry at any time in the prior year due to lack of money for food.
5. Nearly 2/3 have cable or satellite television.
6. 50% have a personal computer; 1 in 7 have two or more computers.
7. More than 50% of poor families with children have a video game system such as Xbox or PlayStation.
8. 43% have Internet access.
9. 1/3 have a widescreen plasma or LCD TV.
10. 1 out of 4 has a digital video recorder such as TiVo.
So where’s the beef?
Read Poverty: Part 2 — The Shrinking Middle Class Myth here.