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  • The Left Misses the Point on Poverty in America

    It turns out that if you question how the U.S. government defines poverty in America, the left doesn’t like it.

    Last week, Heritage’s Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield released a new report showing that according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, those defined as “poor” enjoy amenities you might not expect–air conditioning, cable TV, and Xbox game systems, among them.

    Though to most people, “poverty” implies material deprivation (meaning that people are homeless, hungry, or otherwise have a destitute standard of living), Rector says the reality is that the average poor American has a home that’s in good repair, isn’t overcrowded, and is larger than the average European’s living space. The average poor family isn’t hungry, either, Rector writes: ”The average intake of protein, vitamins, and minerals by poor children is indistinguishable from children in the upper middle class, and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms.”

    But that news hasn’t been received well among the left, who used the analysis to attack conservatives, falling back on their boilerplate argument that those on the right just don’t care about the have-nots. And they also ignore Rector and Sheffield’s main point: that the poor aren’t as poor as people think, and that exaggerating their living conditions doesn’t make for sound policy. In the above video, Fox News contributor Bob Beckel exclaims:

    “What is this? Picking on poor people day? They’ve got TVs. What’s the big deal? What do you want them to do? Not have TVs? . . . What happened to humanity? Where is your decency?”

    And at the The Daily Kos, one liberal blogger stripped Rector and Sheffield’s analysis of all its insight, portraying it as a clarion call against helping the poor. But taking an honest look at how the poor are portrayed and what the statistics say about the reality of their lifestyle isn’t “picking on poor people.” It’s a matter of acknowledging the truth instead of distorting reality to achieve public policy goals.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to The Left Misses the Point on Poverty in America

    1. imdownunder says:

      I remember a liberal I knew saying that the Amish were guilty of child abuse because their children couldn't have all the same things other kids have. Like runners with flashing heels. Liberals are so dumb.

    2. the American party says:

      Where's Mr. Beckel's decency to inspire the "have nots" to 'have" using their individual potential like Americans do? Like Mr. Beckel does? or did? Where's Mr. Beckel's decency to respect human dignity of life to be self reliant and carry out their responsibilities necessary in America? Like Mr. Beckel does? Why does Mr. Beckel see so little in people not to expect their ability to be self reliant and work for what they want to "have?" Very insulting…
      This is America where EArth, Wind and Fire made it big to "shine their star for them to see what their lives could truly be…"

    3. Guest says:

      And the real issue, that the left ought to care about is this: When we spend a bunch of money on the "poor" people with TVs and stereos, we are almost certainly doing a lousy job of helping the much smaller group that actually need help.

    4. Glen says:

      Another insight to consider: Why haven't they raised the poverty level in many years? No one can live on this amount and not be considered poor. I think it would be great for you to do an article on this situation.

    5. jpo says:

      the only country where some of poor are very fat.

      • Guest says:

        They are overweight because the only food they can afford is fast food or something from the gas station around the corner. How many grocery stores have you seen in low-income neighborhoods?

    6. will says:

      Cred card debt. .period.

    7. Bex says:

      This report is completely ridiculous. This is just a report trying to "rationalize" republicans greed.

      • Jeff, Illinois says:

        Amen !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        This is like saying that if you were a caveman who had two sticks to rub together to make fire, the caveman who had one stick should not be considered in poverty. Only those with no sticks . .

    8. RedBaker says:

      Bex – that's deep insight from a liberal Thanks.

      • Jeff, Illinois says:

        RedBaker – this is even deeper insight of how a conservative thinks . . Thanks . .
        That you can't recognize an extremely overgeneralized view being espoused by the article/video . . to make some assanine point . . !!!!

    9. O_Henry says:

      Compared to much of the rest of the world, there is no poverty in the USA. I have worked in urban/inner city areas for years in situations that daily had me inside the homes of those considered impoverished. All of those homes had both hot and cold running water. All of those homes had at least an 80 amp electrical service and in more recent years a 100amp electrical service. All of those homes had telephones, televisions, microwave ovens, and refrigerators. How on earth can this standard of living be considered “poverty?” The standards used by the UN and other NGO’s look at poverty as inadequate basic shelter, food for survival, and clothing appropriate to the elements? All of these things are easily readily available to the poorest of the poor in the USA.

    10. Broke Republican says:

      Why is the greed argument always thrown out when someone is asked to take responsibility for their own life?

      • Jeff, Illinois says:

        Because the Republican perspective is that """" everyone"""" in poverty who perhaps is receiving some government help is a blood sucking, lazy parasite. When Republicans begin to wake up and realize not everyone who is doing all they can to get along . . has an equal opportunity to wealth when the socio-economic playing field is tilted against them.

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