Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Poverty Of Perspective

Here is the plight of the "poor" in America:

* 43% of the poor own their homes, and the average home is a three-bedroom house with a garage and 1.5 bathrooms

* Over two-thirds of households have two rooms per occupant, which belies the notion of overcrowding

* 80% of the poor have air conditioning

* Almost 75% own one car; 31% own two or more

* The average living space for the American poor is larger than the average space for all people in Paris, Vienna, and London, among other cities in Europe
Not to anecdotalize or anything, but my house is a three-bedroom with a garage we converted into a utility room and den, and but a single bathroom; it has two rooms per occupant of you count the kitchen/dining area as separate rooms; it has no air conditioning; and we do own two cars, but they're nineties-era pieces of crap with a combined mileage that would overshoot the moon. Is my family "poor"?

Not judging by our income or net worth; which just means that we're cheap. However, if you DID judge by income, we were poor in 1995 when I was unemployed for fourteen months, but the years before and years since we were smack in the middle of the Middle Class. All of which goes to show that economic strata are anything but static; the bulk of America's "poor" don't have the first clue as to what REAL poverty is like; and the "official" definition of "poverty" has elasticized to the point of meaninglessness.

Adds the Admiral:

Rather than Two Americas, what we find is that the poor resembles the middle class in living standards. Even nutrition appears similar to the middle class. Both groups get more than their daily needs, although the poor report more short-term shortages than the middle class, but only 2% of the poor report that they "often" do not have enough to eat.

That 2% of the bottom 20% of income earning households represent the real poverty in America. It exists, without a doubt, but on a much smaller scale than the political class would lead people to believe.
Think a government report conceding that the "poor" only constitute 0.4% of American households would turn a lot of heads? Not to mention piss off the libs, whose four-decade Great Society racket would be exposed as the cynical, exploitive, and yes, racist scam it's always been?

Well, there is such a report, and though it isn't nearly that honest, it doesn't have good news for the "two Americas" crowd:

The nation’s poverty rate fell in 2006 for the first time this decade, the Census Bureau reported today, even as the percentage of Americans without health insurance coverage hit a record high.

The results were not consistent across racial or age groups. For Hispanics, the poverty rate fell by 1.2 percentage points to 20.6%, while for whites, blacks and Asians, it remained statistically unchanged.

For elderly people, the poverty rate was among the lowest since 1959, when the government began collecting such data.

Pop multiple-choice quiz: Will the Left (1) concede these numbers as a vindication of the Republican pro-growth policies of the past generation and stop their classist agitating for bigger government and higher taxes, or (2) ignore it altogether as they are the good news out of Iraq, or (3) dismiss it as more "Bush lies" and whine even louder about "income inequality" (which is what libs always bleat about when they don't have an actual recession to blame on the GOP)?

Hey, at least this is a rhetorical question with more than a single viable correct answer.