Thingish Things

Poverty, Census Style

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jul• 19•11

There is a super-interesting-study out of Heritage Foundation today on what constitutes poverty in America — in the eyes of the U.S. Census Bureau at least. The results might suprise a lot of people.

No one is unsympathetic to the least fortunate among us, but poverty in America is a relative term.  The Census classifies 30 million Americans as “poor”, yet the vast majority enjoy a standard of living poor people around the globe will never come close to attaining.  Most poor Americans have air conditioning, televisions, video games, VCR’s, computers, and cell phones — all the things made cheap by an efficient capitalistic system.  

Much attention is focused on “the rich” among the American Left.  But one rarely hears them acknowledge that our capitalist economic system has raised the standard of living for the poorest of the poor to a level unseen in world history. That, I think, is the greatest measure of a society — not how much the richest one percent have, but how little the poorest one percent do.  Using that benchmark, America has a lot to be proud of.

What would the poor in America have if government had greater control over our industry? One need need only look to China or Vietnam or India for the answer, which is…not much.  


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  1. Me says:

    I weep.

  2. Your Friend says:

    Sure, Kleenex is cheap, but food isn’t…

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