Evidence We Are Winning the War on Poverty

Over the last few days I have heard the same radio commercial three times, trying to raise awareness about hunger and poverty.  A little girl's voice says that when she goes downstairs and looks in the refrigerator, she does not see any food.  I too aspire to eliminating hunger from the world, but if our poor have electricity, refrigerators, and two-story houses, we must be doing something right.

  • Another guy named Dan

    It's kind of like the fact that the biggest health problem facing the poor in America is Obesity and it's complications.

  • a leap at the wheel
  • LoneSnark

    As they say, First World Problem. Our poor are concerned with the high price for auto-insurance and cell phone data-plans.

  • dr kill

    Sweet.

  • http://vikingpundit.blogspot.com Eric Lindholm

    Can I make a request for a link? I only ask around election times.

  • http://tjic.com TJIC

    Excellent point.

    I was commenting in twitter the other day (@tjic) that I can't get too upset at the wealth gap or the digital divide, since that means that the poor have less premium channels to watch on their widescreen TVs.

  • bob sykes

    Poverty is defined as a percentage point on the income distribution. Transfer payments (welfare) are not counted as part of income, so it is mathematically impossible to eliminate defined poverty.

    As a practical matter, transfer payments raise virtually everyone above the level that defines poverty, so we have already eliminated poverty.

    The few individuals and families that remain poor largely suffer from serious problems of mental illness or deficiency. Their problems cannot be solved unless they are institutionalized.

  • Katherine

    So they should... sell their refrigerator, and use the money to buy non-perishable foods until that runs out?

    Seriously. How poor does someone have to be in America before a libertarian can agree that they are indeed poor? Cardboard shack? Dirt floor? No running water?

    Has it occurred to you that one can BECOME poor? Say, through illness or unemployment? Just a thought.

  • Mark2

    I don't believe these things any more. The only reason a kid would be starving in the USA today, is if the parents purposely and abusively kept food from the kids (it happens, especially with some drug addled families.)

    @Kathering, that is understandable that folks become poor, I have lost a job, and went on various programs, but it is shocking how much food is given away. 2 times a week I can go to the food bank, there are food stamps, there is WIC for the kids under 6, School breakfast and lunch for free for kids over 6, food kitchens, etc. There is no reason for anyone in this country to be without food with all these food programs. I understand helping the poor but you might not be aware of all the services out there for them.

    For non-food, the only thing not really provided is clothes. In my town a local church provides glasses and basic medical care. County also provided medical care, and free shots, etc. For housing there is HUD - which has temp programs, and a waiting list for long term - where they put you in some really decent apartments (My wife and I accidentally tried to apply for some because we were just driving around looking for apartments and they looked so nice, and were told, they are income restricted apartments)

  • Mark2

    Something intersting. The North Korean Olympians who got gold, went back to NK and were put into elite status. Being elite, they got get a small apartment, a TV, refrigerator, and use of a low end (by US standards) car. The NK Olympians are all really excited about this.

    In the USA, almost all poor, have a TV, fridge, a small apartment, and low end car.

    It is actually pretty impressive that capitalism allows us to afford all these riches to the poor.

  • Agammamon

    "Katherine:
    So they should... sell their refrigerator, and use the money to buy non-perishable foods until that runs out?
    Seriously. How poor does someone have to be in America before a libertarian can agree that they are indeed poor? Cardboard shack? Dirt floor? No running water?
    Has it occurred to you that one can BECOME poor? Say, through illness or unemployment? Just a thought.
    "

    No, but maybe they could sell the expensive house and rent to get some money to feed their kids.

    Yes, people do become poor - that doesn't mean that they get to keep all the stuff they bought when they were better off and get a cut of my paycheck.

  • Doug

    How do these people come up with these stats? "Have you been hungry any time this month?" Hell, yeah! 2-3 times a day, come to think of it!

    This is as stupid as "help stamp out hunger." How? By filling our intestines with Qwikrete?

  • DrTorch

    I've heard the same commercial, but didn't put the pieces together like you did. Nicely done.

    And of course, Another Dan brings up a great point...maybe she woke up hungry b/c of all the empty carbs she's been eating.

  • CT_Yankee

    I have been frequently hungry since trying to loose that extra bulk brought on by a lenghty vacation (harder to control food selection and portions in foreign restaurants). I have really been hungry over the past month, so I am poor? The home made apple pie some feindish co-worker left is only a few steps away. Resisting it only makes me more hungry, which makes me even poorer?

    Perhaps the questions or results are just phrased strangely to get the desired result. Yesterday I saw a study of "teen" sex surveys that included people from 15 to 24 years old. I suspect asking some 24 year olds "Have you ever done this kind of sex?" and mixing the answers in with the 15 year olds might possibly scew the results. Students halfway through high school, and adults past college and married with a starter house might just have distinctly different lifesyles.

  • Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master

    >>>> I too aspire to eliminating hunger from the world, but if our poor have electricity, refrigerators, and two-story houses, we must be doing something right.

    Dammit, warren, she's got $200 nikes and a cashmere sweater in the closet, too, but it's not HER fault her parents don't have any prioritization skilz!!

    Send the little future crack ho some money, you heartlessly logical bastard!!

  • John Dewey

    katherine: 'Has it occurred to you that one can BECOME poor? Say, through illness or unemployment?"

    Oh, please! Do you have any idea how many Americans are ripping you and me off by refusing to work, refusing to save for a rainy day, refusing to prioritize their spenings? Four of my closest relatives are "poor" enough to qualify for food stamps. All four are fat as hogs. None have any trouble making utility payments. The lazy bastards are ripping us all off exactly because of bleeding hearts such as yours.

    If you want to truly go help someone who is poor, investigate their situation and then give them a few bucks. But don't use the power of our government to forcibly take from those of us who don't agree with the judgment clouded by your bleeding heart.

  • Mark2

    Several of you have ripped Katherine because she said folks can become poor.

    The issue isn't that - the issue is once you become poor do you lack food.

    The answer is no, there are so many programs there is no excuse for having no food for the kids. And I believe the official hunger stats are one skipped meal per quarter or maybe per month. Yeah so I lose my job and am poor - first thing I do is go to the state "programs department" and get myself the food stamps, then I go to the community center twice week to pick up groceries, etc

    The homelessness stats for kids are based on a few days without a home in a year. My kids have been homeless a few times in the last three years.

  • stan

    A few years ago, Second Harvest ran an ad that said 1 in 5 children in our area go to bed hungry. This was based on a poll where they asked kids if they had ever gone to bed hungry. Pretty bogus.

    I talked to a friend who was upset when she heard the ad. [this was before I found out which bogus poll was responsible]. I asked if she really thought 1 in 5 kids is going to bed every night hungry. "Well, they wouldn't say it on the radio if it weren't true." Finally, I just suggested that it hunger was that real, every preacher in town would thunder about it on Sunday, every politician would be campaigning on how he would fix it, and the newspaper would be running a 20 part series of daily front page articles. Her light bulb finally went on.

  • IGotBupkis -- "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder?

    >>>> Poverty is defined as a percentage point on the income distribution.

    Precisely.

    True poverty is the inability to afford/obtain the very basic necessities of life -- Food, Clothing, Shelter.

    And food doesn't mean "No money for Breyers", clothing doesn't mean "No money for Tommy Hilfigger", and shelter doesn't mean "No money for a condo in Malibu".

    Poverty means scrapple, ragged clothing, and tumbledown shacks.

    This redistributionist re-definition of "poverty" is crap.

  • IGotBupkis -- "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder?

    >>> None have any trouble making utility payments.

    John, not to dispute your metric, just to suggest revision -- "utility" isn't really a good example.

    Phone plans:
    Yes, you need to have a phone, but a pay-as-you-go plan is much cheaper and able to provide you with *sufficient* service to look for work and coordinate life's demands. You don't need a smartphone with an unlimited data plan.

    Cable TV:
    Nuff said? One doesn't want to do without cable, but it's more than possible.

    Either of those would be better challenges as needless expenditures which can be more readily dropped in the face of true poverty than utilities.

  • IGotBupkis -- "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder?

    >>>>> (My wife and I accidentally tried to apply for some because we were just driving around looking for apartments and they looked so nice, and were told, they are income restricted apartments)

    Exactly. THIS is one of the problems with modern "Help" programs. They're all too often designed to make life comfortable.

    Charity should never be comfortable. It should ALWAYS be a pain and an annoyance and a trial to obtain. It should provide subsistence level help, and no more. Generic Cheese, not Boar's Head. WIC should not allow one to buy anything but the cheapest item available to fill that need (I'll even accept the idea of buying ice cream, but it should be limited to the lowest cost house brand, and no more. I remember, some years back, standing in line behind some woman buying Breyers with food stamps. ***I*** didn't buy Breyers, because **I** couldn't afford it. Wt ---}F{--- is someone on the dole doing buying it? -- FUCK THEM, Katherine!!). But it should never be something that doesn't have a serious, major downside to taking advantage of vs. not taking advantage of it.

  • IGotBupkis -- "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder?

    >>>> Yesterday I saw a study of "teen" sex surveys that included people from 15 to 24 years old. I suspect asking some 24 year olds "Have you ever done this kind of sex?" and mixing the answers in with the 15 year olds might possibly scew the results. Students halfway through high school, and adults past college and married with a starter house might just have distinctly different lifesyles.

    Indeed, they often conflate 13yo with 17yos in studies, too. And I love the gun violence studies that make no differentiation between a 13yo down the street with an 18yo gang-banger who hasn't been home in a year, and the only time he's talked to his parents in the last 3 has been when he needed help getting out of juvenile detention.

    Katherine, none of us reject or resent charity -- helping someone who is down on their luck.

    We DO reject and resent HANDOUTS and income redistribution. People need to stand on their own two feet. Most government programs don't encourage that in the least, but instead create a victim class of individuals who are never, ever going to be anything but dependent on the government for its handouts.

  • tomw

    I watched a show where a single mother with two sons was trying to 'make it' on her unemployment check and her one working son's paycheck. The other son was either absent or a complete un-employable.
    They rattled off the monthly expenses, and got down to having only $10 left at the end of the month.
    They skimmed right by the $280/month cell and cable bill. They mentioned the $100/month gym club membership, but that was the one son's luxury. The mom had a Starbucks latte as hers.
    We have not had cable in 20 years. Still don't. I do not subscribe to a cell phone, and my spouse uses a ten-cent a minute throwaway. I think she had $20 on the account, and hasn't used that up in several months.
    She did buy a 42" wide screen HDTV. Used, for $300m and the only other electronics she has bought was a wireless land line handset pair.
    If you did the math, $200/month, 12 months/year, and 20 years is close to $50,000 not spent on cellphone and cable.
    The cheapest DishNetwork or DirectTV is $25/mo for 12 months, and then $30/mo the 2nd year. That is an annual average of $330. To watch television. But, those in 'poverty' can spend on these items, and feel them to be an entitlement.
    When the 'poor' have more problems with obesity than starvation and malnutrition, they are not poor.
    tom