Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Still poor until I get a jacuzzi

There is a nice splash about poverty in the Milwaukee Journal today exclaiming the city is the 11th poorest in the nation. Upon seeing that, I recalled a couple years back when I was poor. Go read. Now!

Now hear we are 5 years later and apparently I have done pretty good for myself. Let’s see how the Heritage Foundation stacks me up based on the Census Bureau’s findings. How "Poor" are America's Poor?

* 38 percent of the persons whom the Census Bureau identifies as "poor" own their own homes with a median value of $39,200. Ok, doing better here as my house is worth a helluva lot more than that.
* 62 percent of "poor" households own a car; 14 percent own two or more cars. Still haven’t improved in this field. Maybe I should buy a Harley to un-poor myself.
* Nearly half of all "poor" households have air-conditioning; 31 percent have microwave ovens. Still poorer than half the population as I do not have air conditioning. At least not installed. I do have a microwave.
* Nationwide, some 22,000 "poor" households have heated swimming pools or Jacuzzis. Huh? Not just a swimming pool but a heated swimming pool? WTF? Jacuzzis?!?!?!?!? I am poorer than these rich folk.

All snarkiness aside, lets see what The Heritage Foundation goes on to say about the findings.

A key reason that the Census undercounts the financial resources of the "poor"
is that, remarkably, it ignores nearly all welfare spending when calculating the
"incomes" of persons in poverty. Thus, as far as the Bureau is concerned,
billions of dollars in in-kind benefits to poor Americans have no effect on
their incomes. Out of $184 billion in welfare spending, the Census counts only
$27 billion as income for poor persons.

I get the feeling someone wants the results to end up a certain way. How do you not count money received as income? It is like $157 billion went up in smoke.

The Heritage Foundation suggests we look at reality when it comes to determing who or what is poor.
The Census Bureau's poverty reports should be replaced by a new survey that
counts income and assets accurately. With accurate counting, the number of poor
persons would be shown to be only a small fraction of the Census Bureau's
current estimate of 31.8 million.

Let's go back to the 22,000 "poor" households that have a pool or jacuzzi. How does a poor person afford this? Let's face it. The poor people in this country aren't in fact poor. They are much better off than others is many countries. They have the cars, the bling, and electronics but dont' work.

Makes me feel like a chump for working.


Hey Jo said...

It's good to know that I am also poor as I only have one auto. Good thing I have air conditioning to balance that out.

If I get a new tub with whirlpool jets, that will send me soaring out of poor and into the rich neighborhood.

The $157 billion was money probably used to purchase smoking materials, legal and illegal.

AletaR said...

We have two auto's and a very old snowmobile (is that considered a third?)
Have a 25 year old microwave and AC that is need of repair, but have two window AC's that we used twice this year.
I'm poor. No hot tub.
*word verification is "cubcante" as in Cubs can't win.