Thursday, August 30, 2007

Are You Determined to Live in Poverty?

Then America is THE place you should be.

The US Census Bureau just released the poverty figures for the US in 2006.

I've looked on CNN and NBC websites who quote liberal think tank folks lamenting that the figures show even more people are in America without health insurance.

Smoke screen city, in my opinion. But hey, this is a blog. This is MY blog, so what you get here is pretty much my opinion, right?

I looked on the Heritage Foundations site and they have an amazing article about what poverty in America is like.

Here's some good stuff, quoted from the article linked above:
The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various gov­ernment reports:

Forty-three percent of all poor households actu­ally own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

Only 6 percent of poor households are over­crowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.

Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.
As a group, America's poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consump­tion of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels. Most poor children today are, in fact, supernour­ished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.

While the poor are generally well nourished, some poor families do experience temporary food shortages. But even this condition is relatively rare; 89 percent of the poor report their families have "enough" food to eat, while only 2 percent say they "often" do not have enough to eat.

Lovely Wife and I have been so broke, we couldn't even pay attention, as the the old addage goes.

I do have sympathy for those who need help and can't seem to catch a break, but with most of the people under the poverty line in America live in homes larger than the average western European, NOT poor western European, but the average western European, period, I have to wonder about what we consider poverty in America.

I don't want to throw out the baby with the bath water here, but it's pretty astounding to think that what passes for poverty in America is a better life than many people in many countries.

No wonder people try to move here.

The numbers show that people do go hungry in America, but just not in the millions that some would have us believe.

I know any number of places within our immmediate area here where a person who is hungry can have some food for their pantry, or even get a hot meal or two, if that's all that is needed.

I'm not trying to lessen the plight of the truly poor and poverty stricken here, but the one thing that stood out to me most of all is that the average home under the poverty level of income averaged 14-16 hours of work per week.

That seemed to be a big part of the problem right there.

Anyway, I just wanted to bring this up.

There will always be poor people, but I don't think things are as bad here as many in the media make it out to be for the lower income people of America.

I sure as heck don't see the two Americas that Nancy Pelosi and her buds are harping about today.

If you disagree with me, so be it, but I cannot fathom someone in America not being able to raise themselves and their families out of the mire of poverty. I know folks who came from nothing and have good paying jobs and good lives; especially dramatic are the stories of people who came from nothing in other countries.

I still believe that America is a place where that could be anyone's story, if they want it bad enough and are willing to work hard enough.

My parents, grandparents, in-laws and grand in-laws all told stories of a kind of poverty they had experienced in their lives that today's American's that are considered to be in poverty couldn't even beging to comprehend.

They lifted themselves and also their progeny (us) up by plain old determination and the sweat of their brows.

Ok. I'm through. Go back up and follow the link and read the article. It's a bit of a shocker.


Leanne said...

All of these amenities are "must-haves" for so many people - that's exactly WHY they're poor. They have to have it. If the went without, they'd be middle to upper class. I count myself in with the poor who has a lot of luxuries - if I would just quit with the material temptations, we'd be in a much better place. It's just people - people who never learned about finances.

(Finance should be a required course in the public school system IMHO!)

Babystepper said...

I've just finished reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. There are a whole lot of people out there who need to read that book.

Qtpies7 said...

I get so mad at my kid when they complain about how broke we are because I won't buy brand new name brand clothes and have them in every sport they want to be in, or because we have to eat less this month. We do not live in cardboard boxes and we do not have to dig through garbage dumps to find food and mismatched shoes, etc. I think we should go to a poor country and get some perspective!
(Devon does not think we should go and get perspective, but that is because he is the worst at wanting stuff, lol.)
There is a mockumentary out there about the poor teens in our country, I'll have to find it on Youtube for you. It was funny!

The Rock Chick said...

I think, too, there's a big difference between poor and overextended which can leave you hungry when there's no money left over for food. There's so many people out there who feel the need to buy that little bit bigger house, that little bit nicer car, etc. and it comes crashing down on them.


D said...

Foreigners who come to America are willing to work as janitors, dishwashers, willing to work as laborers in a hot steamy drycleaners. So many "poor" Americans I have known would not consider lowering themselves to such a 'scummy' job. No wonder us "poor americans" have so much trouble, what with all the foreigners taking all our jobs and such... tsk, I better go get a double tall latte and discuss this with my therapist!

Sharon Lynne said...

Good post. I want to read it to the rest of the family!

Hammer said...

No wonder the unwashed hordes are streaming across the border.

We live in a pretty darn nice place.

Emily said...

Definitely a good post here, that's all I can say.

Norma said...

"a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio."

That's how we lived in the 1960-1970s, and we were "middle class" living in a beautiful suburb with some of the best schools in the state. Amazing how that is now poverty.

But working 40 hours a week and a father in the home are really the biggest factors.

Great stuff.