Poverty today – NOT!

I’m disgusted to read about how the Census Bureau defines ‘poor’. National Review Online reports:

Census officials continue to grossly exaggerate the numbers of the poor, creating a false picture in the public mind of widespread material deprivation, writes Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Robert Rector in a new paper.

“Most news stories on poverty feature homeless families, people living in crumbling shacks, or lines of the downtrodden eating in soup kitchens,” Rector says. “The actual living conditions of America’s poor are far different from these images.”

Congress is tying itself in knots figuring out how to cut spending and bring down a $14 trillion national debt. Lawmakers might well take a much closer look at the nearly a trillion dollars spent each year on welfare even though many recipients aren’t what the typical American would recognize as poor and in need of government assistance.

. . .

Data from the Department of Energy and other agencies show that the average poor family, as defined by Census officials:

  • Lives in a home that is in good repair, not crowded, and equipped with air conditioning, clothes washer and dryer, and cable or satellite TV service.
  • Prepares meals in a kitchen with a refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave as well as oven and stove.
  • Enjoys two color TVs, a DVD player, VCR and — if children are there — an Xbox, PlayStation, or other video game system.
  • Had enough money in the past year to meet essential needs, including adequate food and medical care.

. . .

See the full Heritage Foundation paper, including downloadable charts, here: “Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox: What Is Poverty in the United States Today?

There’s more at the link. I urge you to read the full report linked above, particularly the charts on the amenities possessed by poor families.

To add insult to injury, the New York Post reports that free cellphones for the ‘poor’, paid for (involuntarily) by other cellphone customers, are now regarded as a ‘civil right’.

Pennsylvanians on public assistance now have a new ‘civil right’ — free cell phones. Meanwhile, the rest of us get to pay higher cell bills as a result.

Recently, a federal government program called the Universal Service Fund came to the Keystone State and some residents are thrilled because it means they can enjoy 250 minutes a month and a handset for free, just because they don’t have the money to pay for it. Through Assurance Wireless and SafeLink from Tracfone Wireless these folks get to reach out and touch someone while the cost of their service is paid for by everyone else. You see, the telecommunications companies are funding the Universal Service Fund to the tune of $4 billion a year because the feds said they have to and in order to recoup their money, the companies turn around and hike their fees to paying customers. But those of us paying for the free service for the poor, should be happy about this infuriating situation, says Gary Carter, manager of national partnerships for Assurance, because “the program is about peace of mind.” Free cell service means “one less bill that someone has to pay, so they can pay their rent or for day care…it is a right to have peace of mind,” Carter explained.

Again, there’s more at the link.

If Congress and the Senate are looking for ways to cut a few trillion dollars out of the budget, these reports give me a few ideas as to where they can insert the knife and start the surgery . . .



  1. If I were to define "poor" by those cashing in on assistance money at the local grocery, it would be those spending the therefore saved personal money on a second register transaction for booze and cigarettes while holding a smartphone in the other hand. I see it almost every time I'm in the store.

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