Friday, October 17, 2014

I call BS on the latest poverty statistics

According to CNN Money:

Over 48 million Americans live in poverty, according to a special report by the Census Bureau Thursday. It provides an alternative look at the worst off people in the nation than the official numbers that come out in September.

Government programs such as food stamps do help some people, especially children, but even so 16% of American children are living in poverty, according to the supplemental report.

. . .

The official poverty line was $23,283 last year for a family of four. Today's Census report -- known as the supplemental poverty measure -- takes into account living costs in different parts of the country as well as what government benefits people receive.

The supplemental poverty line varies between urban and rural America. For example, the poverty level in major metropolitan levels is $30,000 or even higher in some locations because people have to pay more for food, shelter and transportation.

There's more at the link.

I have no hesitation whatsoever in calling this report BS.  It's not about poverty;  it's about what touchy-feely whiny moonbats think of as 'poverty', which in the context of the USA is essentially 'having less than others'.  It's 'comparative poverty' rather than actual poverty.  Anyone in these United States - I repeat, anyone - can get a meal if they need it, from official or charitable sources;  can find a place to sleep in a homeless shelter;  can find clothes at charities such as the Salvation Army;  and can find ways to improve their lot if they're willing to work hard.  Government assistance in the form of welfare payments, food stamps, housing assistance and many other programs is relatively freely available.  I'll be very surprised if the majority of the 48 million people identified as 'living in poverty' don't have a home, furniture, TV's, cellphones, and food in the kitchen.

The Census Bureau's 'poverty line' figure of $23,283 for a family of four comes out to almost $16 per individual per day.  Contrast this with much of the Third World.  According to the World Bank:

  • According to the most recent estimates, in 2011, 17 percent of people in the developing world lived at or below $1.25 a day. That’s down from 43 percent in 1990 and 52 percent in 1981.
  • This means that, in 2011, just over one billion people lived on less than $1.25 a day, compared with 1.91 billion in 1990, and 1.93 billion in 1981.

Even if the current rate of progress is to be maintained, some 1 billion people will still live in extreme poverty in 2015—and progress has been slower at higher poverty lines. In all, 2.2 billion people lived on less than US $2 a day in 2011, the average poverty line in developing countries and another common measurement of deep deprivation.

Again, more at the link.

Now that's poverty.  I've traveled extensively in sub-Saharan Africa and I'm here to tell you, it's ghastly to see people trying to survive under such conditions.  By comparison, the so-called 'poor' in the United States are immeasurably better off.  In fact, I reckon many of the truly poor in Africa, living on $1.25 or less per day, would cheerfully commit mass murder for the opportunity to live on $16 per day in the USA.  They'd regard that as unimaginable riches.  Don't believe me?  Just go over there and make the offer . . . but be prepared to be trampled to death in the resulting stampede.



Evyl Robot Michael said...

You help put things into perspective.

Anonymous said...

IIRC, "poverty" is defined as a certain percentile- so it can never be eliminated. Some standard of living would be a lot more accurate measure- our "poor" have a standard of living that Kings of 100 years ago would envy.

Charlie said...

There is NOBODY in the USA who has as little as many in Africa and India have.

Poverty in the US means you only have one television...

Tom Bridgeland said...

I live in this 'poverty', with my two teen kids, and spouse. However, this is planned poverty. We saved a chunk, and now I am back in school. Hopefully, in another year I'll be officially middle class. So far we have avoided any charity, and plan to continue.
I saw real poverty in Central America when I lived there. No one except a handful of crazy people who can't take care of themselves lives in what I'd call poverty in the US.