Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What It Means to be Poor in America

Professor Walter Williams is an African-American economist at George Mason University who is nationally known for his scholarship and original approach to economic issues. Let me share with you one of his new articles. He said, Imagine God has condemned you to a life of poverty but permits you to choose the country you will live in. He is betting that you would surely choose the United States because what has historically been defined as poverty no longer exists in the U.S.

According to government statistics, the poverty guideline is an income of $22,000 a year for an urban four-person family, so 40 million Americans are classified as poor. Now, here are the facts about those 40 million so-called poor Americans.

The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Europe. 43% own their own homes, and the average home is a 3-bedroom house with one-and-a-half bathrooms, a garage, and a porch or patio. 80% of poor homes have air-conditioning. Three quarters of poor households own an automobile, and 31% own two cars. 97% of so-called poor households have a color television; more than half own two or more color TVs. 89% own microwave ovens, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.

What our government defines as poverty is misleading in another way; it ignores additional sources of support such as Medicaid, housing allowances, food stamps, and other federal and state subsidies to the poor. Professor Walter Williams says: Yesterday's material poverty is all but gone in the United States. But in "too many cases, it has been replaced by . . . poverty of the spirit that prevents development of the work ethic and self-sufficiency."

Listen to this commentary:


Anonymous said...

Get a heart and some compassion. All of you.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the point of this article. So poor people in the United States could be poorer? That still doesn't mean it's a good situation to be in. In todays world 22,000 a year isn't very much. That's about a 1800 a month and most apartments cost around 400 a month just for a one bedroom, add kids and your in for a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Eventhough I think it's cowardly that you commented "Anonymous", and I'd rather ignore you, I feel compelled to say that you should have commented as "Ignorant".

Post a Comment

Keep comments short. Long comments will be deleted.