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  • Census Bureau Says Half of Americans Are Poor? Think Again.

    Last week, the Associated Press reported that, based on the Census Bureau’s new poverty measure, half of America is now poor or low-income.

    Forget about Occupy Wall Street’s ballyhooed 99 percent of Americans who aren’t “rich.” Now we’re supposed to believe 50 percent of us are poor or close to it.

    Of course, that all depends how you define “poverty” or “near poverty.” And by the definition of this new measure, quietly ushered in by the Obama Administration, “low-income” in some areas of the country can now mean up to nearly $90,000 for a family of four. As Heritage’s Robert Rector explains in National Review Online, suddenly, what was thought to be the median income in most communities is now considered “low-income.”

    Rector asserts:

    By dramatically expanding the definition of poverty (and near poverty), the administration furthers the president’s agenda to “spread the wealth.” By artificially inflating the number of Americans counted as poor or near poor, the administration expects to generate political pressure to expand the welfare state and raise taxes.

    This new definition of poverty disconnects any true meaning from the word. In reality, it acts as a measure of inequality, by placing poverty thresholds on a sliding scale. Thus, rather than measuring the purchasing power of an individual or family—how much they can buy—the new measure calculates how much a person or family can buy in comparison to others. In one fell swoop, the Obama Administration can now categorize half of America as poor or nearly poor.

    This new measure might not be quite so egregious if the Administration would simply call it what it is: an inequality index. But it insists on using the emotionally charged term “poverty.” That’s because most Americans aren’t willing to increase welfare spending—and with it, taxes and the deficit—to meet the liberal goal of equal outcomes for all.

    The federal government already spends nearly $1 trillion every year to fund approximately 70 welfare programs. Yet rather than addressing the causes of poverty and helping individuals become self-reliant, this burgeoning welfare state has incentivized government dependence. Adding Obama’s new measure to the mix will only encourage greater reliance on government.

    Perhaps even more tragic, obscuring the definition of poverty removes the focus of anti-poverty policy from those who are truly in need. With an unclear understanding of poverty, it is impossible to create sound, effective policy to help those who indeed want for the necessities of life.

    Of course, if the goal is not to address the causes of poverty but to redistribute wealth, the new poverty measure is the perfect tool.

    For further information about poverty, see “Understanding Poverty in the United States.”

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Census Bureau Says Half of Americans Are Poor? Think Again.

    1. Bobbie says:

      I got an instant stomach ache! Look at how selfish and needy all at the same time the government manufactured society is becoming.

      Let's publically see the family of four making $90,000 dollars that needs the hand of government to thieve from the family of four self sufficient, making $40,000!! This mental thinking is childish and belittling of the census bureau. What puts a real damper on our lives is the rudely high expense of the personal high maintenance of those that work in and for government who's work is of absolutely NO WORTH OR BENEFIT TO US!!! Thank you! all better…

    2. Obscuring the definition of poverty for politics is frankly, immoral.

    3. Anon says:

      I think you've assumed incorrectly. The Occupy movement never claimed, as you incorrectly asserted that 99% of the U.S lives in poverty, they actually referred to the top 1% controlling the vast majority of the wealth in the country.

      • Anon says:

        As it should be. Who else should be controling the vast majority of wealth in this country?

      • Bobbie says:

        "they actually referred to the top 1% controlling the vast majority of wealth?" how? if they own it, why shouldn't they control it? why is the government of America provoking resentment of the American dream, suggesting that the control of government they preside is activated by the rich? what use is the government? Americans the American government also represents but the rich have control over the country? if the rich are doing the job of the government elect, why the heck are we paying taxes? let people control their own money and do what it takes to gain the wealth they're driven to through common law, honest work, principle and equal opportunity where efforts logically vary according to individual.

    4. Bob Koons says:

      No reasonable person who looks at the failure record of our current president could vote to re-elect this man.

    5. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      Between the Census Bureau's definition of poverty, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' unemployment rate and the Federal Reserve's accounting practices, just to name a few, this federal government is aligned against the people since the publication of such calls for more laws, more regs and more programs and therefore less liberty.

    6. True (below comment). But he is counting on uniformed people that can't dicipher his record and who react on emotion (ie- the class-warfare rhetoric) to vote for him. The Ideologues

    7. numbersguy says:

      This is another example of figures lying and making a HEADLINE!!!! $90,000 is not POOR?????

    8. jim says:

      More Government propaganda and another reason to vote for Ron Paul!

    9. jdr says:

      Do your own research! Who is the Heritage Group? Maybe before believing everything one reads one should research the source. My understanding is that "The Heritage Group has managed a diverse set of prominent companies involved in the highway construction, environmental services and oil refining and marketing industries." This is a quote from their website. Another one "Heritage Group, LLC, through its affiliates, serves as the General Partner and exclusive fund manager of the Heritage Healthcare Innovation Fund, L.P. – a strategic venture capital alliance seeking to create and invest in businesses that improve the quality, efficiency and delivery of healthcare services across the continuum of care." Basically venture capitalists have a vested interest in promoting a specific view which is not one expressed by those living close to poverty or those barely making it who can't afford healthcare.
      Statistics can be skewed by both sides. Yes even the government skews the statistics and not always in the favor of the poor. When I look at the cost of Single-Family housing and see that California is listed at at much less than Colorado, I feel confused. But then I see that it has to do with Fannie Mae Mortgage statistics. I'm not sure that how many California real estate mortgages have been purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac because the decline of housing prices has causes many changes in California and housing purchases have greatly diminished especially in urban area. People are losing their houses or are holding on hoping for a raise in prices. And although the cost of housing sales prices has gone down, rental prices have not. So renters are not included in the statistics. The economics are not so simple. The CPI may be systematically biased relative to a "true" cost-of-living measure especially over time. This is more complicated than the Heritage Group would have you know. It appear that the politics of fear is rearing it's ugly head again.

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