Being Poor In America

As the President continues with his ideological (and illogical) insistence that private jet owners — you know, everyone with an income topping $250,000/year — pay even more in taxes to pay for payments to those less fortunate, NRO’s Robert Rector reminds us of the state of poverty in the United States:

The most recent government data show that more than half of the families defined as poor by the Census Bureau have a computer in the home. More than three of every four poor families have air conditioning, almost two-thirds have cable or satellite television, and 92 percent have microwaves.

How poor are America’s poor? The typical poor family has at least two color TVs, a VCR, and a DVD player. One-third have a wide-screen, plasma, or LCD TV. And the typical poor family with children has a video-game system such as Xbox or PlayStation.

* * *

Liberals use the declining relative prices of many amenities to argue that it is no big deal that poor households have air conditioning, computers, microwaves, and cable or satellite TV. They contend that even though most poor families have a house full of modern conveniences, the average poor family still suffers from real deprivation in basic needs such as food and housing.

Really? Let’s look at housing.

The typical news story about poverty features a homeless family with kids sleeping in the back of a minivan. But government data show that only one in 70 poor persons are homeless.

* * *

How about hunger? . . . During the full course of the year, only one child in 67 was reported “hungry,” even temporarily, because the family couldn’t afford enough food. Ninety-nine percent of children did not skip a single meal during 2009 because of lack of financial resources.

As Rector also notes, that doesn’t mean the American poor are living in the lap of luxury.  But when they have more housing square-footage than non-poor Europeans and obesity is a far greater problem than hunger, the term poor has taken on a very different meaning thanit once had. 

Couldn’t we do a whole lot more to feed the 1% who go hungry, shelter the 1 in 70 that are homeless, and invest in infrastructure, defense, environmental protection, public lands, and other essential government responsibilities, all without crippling the country with debt, if certain politicians were not obsessed with fleecing the most productive among us to make transfer payments to “poor” persons that can afford video games, plasma TVs, and microwaves?

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Published in: on July 26, 2011 at 10:33 am  Leave a Comment  

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