New “poverty” measurement

The War on Poverty, started with LBJ’s Great Society (you could argue that it began sooner), has been a total disaster. (more here) The actual total of dollars wasted since the 1960’s is elusive but some estimates put it at over $7 Trillion and counting – adding $1 Trillion a year. (more here) After wasting oceans of money, the poverty rate has been essentially flat (around 12% according to government figures) since 1966.

You would think that after 45 years, someone, somewhere, would take a look at this and say that we really need to re-examine this disaster. If you think that someone would be our dear comrade leader, you’re exquisitely delusional. No, our dear leader is about to ensure that this war goes on in perpetuity. (story here)

This week, the Obama administration announced it will create a new poverty-measurement system that will eventually displace the current poverty measure. This new measure, which has little or nothing to do with actual poverty, will serve as the propaganda tool in Obama’s endless quest to “spread the wealth.”

Under the new measure, a family will be judged “poor” if its income falls below a certain specified income threshold. Nothing new there, but, unlike the current poverty standards, the new income thresholds will have a built-in escalator clause: They will rise automatically in direct proportion to any rise in the living standards of the average American.

The current poverty measure counts absolute purchasing power — how much steak and potatoes you can buy. The new measure will count comparative purchasing power — how much steak and potatoes you can buy relative to other people. As the nation becomes wealthier, the poverty standards will increase in proportion. In other words, Obama will employ a statistical trick to ensure that “the poor will always be with you,” no matter how much better off they get in absolute terms.

And, just for the record, who are “the poor” in America?

The government’s own data show that the typical American defined as poor (according to the traditional, pre-Obama poverty measure) has two color televisions, cable or satellite service, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He also has a car, air conditioning, a refrig­erator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry, and he had suf­ficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs. While this individual’s life is not opulent, it is far from the stark images conveyed by the mainstream media and liberal politicians.

Clearly, “poverty” as currently defined by the government has little connection with “poverty” as the average American understands it. The new Obama poverty measure will stretch this semantic gap, artificially swelling the number of “poor” Americans, and severing any link between the government’s concept of poverty and even modest deprivation.

Sure there are people who are destitute in America and no one, including the hateful conservatives, wants to deny assistance to the truly needy. But with the majority of “poor” living as good or better than the average European, the line between assistance and wealth redistribution is blurred substantially.

BOHICA folks – the march to socialism goes on…


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