Friday, December 16, 2011

Pooring Their Hearts Out

It's not easy for an agency as boring as the Census Bureau to make news...unless they happen to say exactly what the Obama Administration and mainstream media would like them to. And so it is that we're now seeing news stories screaming "HALF OF ALL AMERICANS ARE POOR" at the same time those damn millionaire-loving Republicans are refusing to raise taxes on the rich.

But if you read past the headlines and into the fine print and weasel-wording (which too many people won't do), the narrative that half of America is eating Purina Dog Chow and living in cardboard boxes quickly unravels.

To begin with, statistics released as recently as September put the number of poor-ish people in the United States at 1-in-3. But even that highly-questionable number lacked the journalistic panache which the Left needed for their narrative... so the Census Bureau conveniently came up with a
new way of measuring poverty which would include a lot more people than ever before, even though their economic status hadn't changed.

In order to cook the books, the Census Bureau added new indices to their poverty measurement methodology. They now include the cost of medical coverage (which has gone up under Obamacare) and the cost of transportation (which has gone up under Obama's "War on Fuel") and other living expenses (which have gone up under Obama's "War on Employment").

Additionally, the news articles are lumping together as "poor" both those who meet the rather generous government definition of poverty ($26,675 for a family of five)...and those people with "low incomes" which are
twice the poverty level ($53,350 for that same wretched family).

But assets aren't included in the measurements, so people are
still considered poor even if they're living in paid-for homes, driving nice cars, and have plenty of money in the bank.

Are many people really hurting now? Of course they are - and Obama and the Democrats are eagerly making everything worse to increase dependency on government programs.

that's not the story that Americans are supposed to be hearing right now. We're supposed to believe that half of our country is starving owing to the oppression of the "Evil Rich" and that only Barack Obama, the self-proclaimed "warrior for the middle class," has the power to swing his vorpal sword and put things right.

A story so ridiculous that it
proves the mainstream media has completely taken leave of its census.

Another surprising finding: bankers love the sound of orphans crying.


Angry Hoosier Dad said...

It's just a simple fact: With a willing media behind you, you can do anything. Is it any wonder that I hate these crawling slugs even more than I hate this regime? Like I said before, I expect a snake to behave like a snake. But the ones whose job is to warn us of approaching snakes and refuse to do so (or worse, slither along with the snakes)...their crimes are even more vile.

John the Econ said...

That poverty statistics in the US are a complete sham is hardly new; they have been for over 50 years; initially used as justification for LBJ's "Great Society" in the '60s. That was the omni-trillion-dollar Federal effort to eliminate poverty that caused an explosion of poverty by subsidizing it, and literally enslaving generations of government dependents. In the end, both the poverty statistics and the massive government welfare & redistribution systems are just mechanisms used to justify each other.

The reality is that if you were just born in this country, odds are that on a global basis you are "the 1%". Where else in the world can literally half of the people formally defined as "poor" own a multi-thousand-square-foot homes, have air conditioning, own one or more automobiles, televisions, DVD players, cable or satellite TV, and cell or smartphones? The American "poor" are so well fed that we're told the #1 health threat to them is obesity.

As predicted, this is just another salvo of the class warfare agenda that will be the keystone of Obama's re-election campaign. 3 years of Obama reality makes selling prosperity no longer possible, so he'll have to sell poverty instead; something that he is very qualified to do.

Emmentaler Limburger said...

If Ă˜bama and his cadre of economy murderers are not defeated, the census poverty data will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let's think about their strategy thus far:

• Cash For Clunkers eliminated low-cost used cars from the marketplace, making a car unaffordable to many. As a bonus: these people are now less independent, and likely must rely on government-provided public transportation.
• Ideological intransigence on domestic oil production policy coupled with weak, inept foreign policy has supported the artificially high price of oil making fuel unaffordable to many, and driving the cost of transportation to the point where its share of the cost of goods has made the cost of even things considered necessities unaffordable to many.
• Ideological support of unionism interfering with free enterprise and inflating the wages of union "workers" adding to the cost burden of good, again, making them unaffordable to many.
• Ideological support for Keynesian economic policies, requiring the upward spiraling of taxes - both on individuals, and on businesses, who then pass the increased taxes along in the cost of goods.
• Meteoric increase in the number of regulations against businesses, the cost of which implementation is tacked onto the cost of goods and services produced.
• The incessant brow-beating of the American people in an attempt to convince us that the ability to rise up through the muck and mire of the current economic situation -a situation brought on by government action - is beyond the capability of the mere rabble to rise above.
• The incessant marketing of the US to foreign nations as a declining nation, impacting foreign confidence in our monetary system, our goods, our economy, and our exceptionalism.

I could go on and on. I like to think of the liberals as a bunch of misdirected imbeciles that actually mean well; however, since their policies are so universally destructive to the US, I find it more and more difficult not to see that there is a less altruistic goal before them than lifting up the lowly. If allowed to continue, they won't need to cook the books to demonstrate a high level of poverty in the US.

Anonymous said...

This is the same logic my retired aunt, living on social security, uses to try to elicit sympathy from family members - "I'm living below the poverty level!!!" Never mind that she drives a late model car, owns a three bedroom home, watches a new flat-screen TV, and has half a million dollars in her retirement account. She has been told by the media that she's "poor", and, by God, she believes it!

Pete(Detroit) said...

Anyone who thinks they're "Poor" in this country, should spend a month volunteering in Honduras, Costa Rica, etc.

John, not just morbid obesity (and associated ills) but also chronic malnutrition - which, oddly, can occur together. Happens w/ a steady diet of twinkies, chips, and fizzy sugar drinks (or alcohol)

What we do to 'the poor' in this country is criminal. The truly destitute are often ignored / marginalized while the 'gamers' play the system and hit the lotto.
Not that they're GRATEFUL for it mind you, after all it's what they're DUE...

John the Econ said...

@Emmentaler Limburger said "I like to think of the liberals as a bunch of misdirected imbeciles that actually mean well; however, since their policies are so universally destructive to the US, I find it more and more difficult not to see that there is a less altruistic goal before them than lifting up the lowly.

Quite often, it's hard to know. For example, pretty much everyone involved knew, almost to the day, that Solyndra would fail. And yet Obama & Co made it a cornerstone of their "green jobs" agenda. Why would they have done so if they had any expectation at all that it would implode spectacularly barely a year before the election providing the GOP with a textbook example of the corrupt failings of Obama's economic agenda of crony capitalism?

Is it possible that Obama & his cohort of academics is so ideologically rigid and blind to reality that they were able to ignore every indication that this was a bad deal, and proceeded with it anyway because they have such faith in their economic paradigm?

Most American recessions have lasted roughly 10 months, where after the economy recovers spectacularly. In 2009, did Obama & Co honestly expect to be going into a 2012 election with a U-6 (Unemployment rate counting people who are underemployed or have given up) of 16%? Or did they honestly expect hyper-Keynesianism to be spectacular success by now? Are they clueless enough to believe that after almost 10 years of failed Keynesian monetary & fiscal policy, that they are only one more "stimulus" away from success? Or is this all according to plan?

It's hard to know.

@Anonymous, your aunt is hardly alone. Most Americans don't have a clue as to what being "poor" really is, or how "rich" they really are. In today's America, we've elevated "poverty" to owning a car more than 5-years old and not having a 60" TV in every room.

John the Econ said...

@Pete(Detroit) said "John, not just morbid obesity (and associated ills) but also chronic malnutrition - which, oddly, can occur together. Happens w/ a steady diet of twinkies, chips, and fizzy sugar drinks (or alcohol)".

Also the result of subsidy. And now in some places like California, they can use their EBT cards at fast food joints as well. It's win-win. The crony capitalists get their spoils, and the welfare industry gets an enlarged problem.

Doc - N. Nevada said...

Unfortunately, if you are bored, or happen to have the time to observe a local welfare office (I used to work near one) sit there for a few days near the first and fifteenth of the month and watch what pulls up to go inside to apply for services, etc, etc, etc. It might help if you, or a friend, is a "clothes horse" as well. Or drive through a few of the apartment complexes in your town that cater to Section 8 housing. The result is the same! Upscale cars, trucks, motorcycles, clothing, furniture being moved in, plenty of BBQ's with a large bunch of guests in the summer, and in our area kids running around in ski clothing with season passes fastened to their jacket zippers! There are always (I went inside the Carson City office once just to see if they really were there for benefits) any number complaining that they deserve MORE! Ofcourse that is the ones I could understand - as in our local office here, a very large majority speak NO ENGLISH and the welfare workers communicate with them in languages other than English! Another observation is the large number of children with each adult! They day I was there "observing" (undercover) for an article I wrote, the average number of children to adults was 5.8 to 1. Funny, the louder and more obnoxious the kids were, the less time the adults spent at the windows, or in the interview cubby's ... Hmmmm. Working the system? You betcha! They have it down to a science and according to clothes, cars, and jewelry they MOSTLY had a much higher standard of living than I did, or still do have! I can't afford the fancy clothes, and new cars they had because I had to BUY THIERS! I must add that NOT ALL of those getting assistance of one form or another are like the folks that are clearly in the majority - and some really do need help, but when chatting with welfare workers they tell me that the ones who (in thier minds) really need it, are very often the ones they see only rarely, for a short period of time, and seem to be off assistance and back to work. Others they see for numerous GENERATIONS! This is one of the many things that needs to be addressed - the professional benefit recipients - they need to get to work, instead of teaching thier children to make babies and get welfare! Instead of the typical "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service" signs, we need to start posting and enforcing "No English, No Citizenship, No Benefits" signs.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Angry Hoosier Dad- The power in our country still belongs (at least marginally) to the voters, but those votes mean nothing when decisions are formed based on false information. As you say, we expect our snakes (politicians) to act like snakes...but journalism should still stand for something.

@John the Econ- One of the (few) benefits of age is the ability to watch things like the "Great Society" programs over the long term, and to personally see the entire journey from paving the road with good intentions to the inevitable arrival in Hell. Thanks to entitlement programs and the destruction of the school system, black citizens are basically being raised as "voting veal" on the Democratic farm. And of course, I'd be labeled racist for believing that they deserve more (like, oh, equality).

And you make a great point about everyone in our country being in the real 1%. In a recent speech by Obama, he was snidely bitching about the amount of money the top 1% of the 1% enjoy (in other words, the top 1-out-of-100 in that uppermost bracket). And he was doing so because it's so damn hard to make people in America really believe they're poor - and get angry enough to do something about it (preferably vote, but he'd be okay with violence too).

@Emmentaler- That's a tremendous cause-and-effect list of what this administration's policies are doing to our country. And the results are so consistent and so predictable that it's hard to see them as anything other than the deliberate intent of those policies.

@Anonymous (three above)- I think we probably all know (or perhaps even are) people who are in your aunt's situation: needs met, money in the bank, comfortable living situation, but only minimal income. That still strikes me as a situation for which one should be grateful instead of hateful.

Being self-employed in the creative field, my income has tended to be very bipolar: very little coming in while I'm working on a project, nice payday when it sells. Understanding the warp and woof of my chosen profession, I'd define myself as comfortably middle class...but the government sees me as being either rich or in desperate poverty, depending on that year's flip of the coin. Which, as John points out, means that their measurement methods are entirely political and entirely meaningless.

@Pete(Detroit)- You're right that obesity can be a serious form of malnutrition, but it can never be a form of starving in any realistic sense (I'm not disagreeing with you, just building on your valid point). But why are so many inner city people living on twinkies, soda, and junk food? In part because they've been reduced to living in environments so crime-ridden and hostile to private enterprise that there simply aren't grocery stores with healthier food choices available.

I know I've mentioned this before, but try looking at pictures of the Civil Rights marches of the 60's. Amongst all the black citizens wearing suits, ties, and Sunday dresses, you'll have a hard time finding almost anyone fat. Then look up a picture of any similar demonstration from today. The contrast is startling...and appalling.

@John the Econ- The Solyndra example would seem to argue that the administration is genuinely stupid enough (or in such a state of denial) to explain some bad decisions. But I lean toward the theory that most of their policy is formed along the lines of "we have to destroy the village to save it." Their goal is not to build but to rebuild... which first requires the destruction of our current system.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Doc (N. Nevada)- So are you going to believe the government and the media, or your own lyin' eyes? (Seriously, great post!)

niteowl said...

“The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”
--Vladimir Lenin

It has always been a goal of the Left to eliminate the middle class. Lenin understood that when people are free, and happy, and prosperous - they will never opt for Communism. It's easy to turn the Proletariat against the haute bourgeoisie (the uber wealthy) by appealing to the base nature of man: ENVY ("Look what THEY have, while you have nothing!"); GREED ("We should TAKE their wealth, and give it to YOU!"); and SLOTH ("Comrade, you work too hard already!"). Take a poorly educated mass of people, give them some mindless slogans ("Tax the Rich!"), exaggerate their numbers ("We are the 99%!"), and you have a revolution in the making.

But there's still the problem of the middle class - particularly, those people who rose to the middle class through their own efforts (by learning a skilled trade, obtaining a useful education, or starting a business). Those people serve as an example, an inspiration to the Proletariat; they're their friends, their neighbors. They won't so easily be led to Communism - so, in the view of the Communists, they will have to be destroyed. Lenin laid the general plan: provoke inflation, by immoderate government spending, and then raise taxes to pay for that spending.

I believe our country can still recover - but we are perilously close to the point of no return.

John the Econ said...

@Stilton, I have little doubt that they are trying to "destroy the village to save it". ObamaCare, which is completely unworkable, nonviable, and nonsensical is a perfect case in point; It's designed specifically to destroy what is left of the independent system. But I also believe that they are delusional enough to believe that if they only throw enough cash at the Solyndras of the world, that they'll sprout like magic beans and they'll look as brilliant as they honestly believe themselves to be.

John the Econ said...

@niteowl, you are so correct. 2013 is going to be brutal tax-wise. And nothing will be more devastating as the inflation that will when the economy does attempt to struggle back to life. Inflation intentionally caused by government spending is in itself a tax. The day is not too far off when we'll all be falling under Obama's "millionaire's" tax.

Suzy said...

Wow...over $53,000 is "low income"? REALLY? What in the world is wrong with this selfish, spoiled rotten, ungrateful country?!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Niteowl & John the Econ- You guys have got it exactly right: the middle class is a "problem" that the Left has got to solve...and inflation/taxation are just the tools to do the job.

@Suzy- That number really surprised me, too. It just goes to show that the labels the government applies to people make no sense (except to further the government's own agenda).

However, before you get too mad at "this selfish, spoiled rotten, ungrateful country" I'll point out that probably a lot of people earning that kind of money are very happy and satisfied with their lives, and grateful for what they have. It's the government that wants to label them as "low income."

Suzy said...

Sorry, I was a little extreme with my thoughts toward the "country" are correct its the government...however it IS some of the country as well, but I was wrong to generalize so much.

Also stuck in my craw has been a very nice article, overall, about good samaritans going to Kmart and paying off people's layaway bills. Which is great! person in specific, had $200 worth of toys on layaway for a four year old. Someone paid $70 off for the woman. That's really nice...but first, if you have $200 worth of toys for one toddler on layaway, I'd like to assume you can afford it. If you cannot afford it, its a shame that they'd bring a child up to think they HAVE to have that many presents at Christmas. I hope my kids aren't growing up feeling like they *need* several hundred dollars' worth of Christmas presents each year.

The materialistic mentality of this country, rich, middle, and poor, is of great concern to me...thus, in frustration, I did over-generalize my previous post.

pryorguy said...

Hey, I would take that pathetic $53,000 a year!Ive been there, but aint there no more!!!

Actually, everything can be relative...the poorest American is probably rich in the eyes of most of the rest of the world! THAT'S how stinking poor most of the world really is!! So, count your blessings, folks.

pryorguy said...

Understand, I am not diminishing the vile efforts of the present administration! A lower buncha self-serving vermin in power I have rarely seen!

Also, I agree with Rick Perry on making legislators part-timers; always have felt that way! Term limits for sure!!And, prosecute some of these crooked jerks when they got it coming, from the top on down! (holding my breath, turning purple)

badlarry said...

pryorguy said...

Actually, everything can be relative...the poorest American is probably rich in the eyes of most of the rest of the world! THAT'S how stinking poor most of the world really is!! So, count your blessings, folks.

When I was in elementary school our 3rd grade class did a pen pal project with a "sister city" in Africa.

No lie, most of the letters were demands for us to send them new bicycles/money/etc. They assumed that since we were in America everyone was filthy rich and could afford to just send it to em.

Despite our repeated efforts to explain, the
demand letters kept on coming. After a while even the normal letters switched to demanding stuff too.

That project didn't last too long.

Pete(Detroit) said...

Golly, go figure.
Now, we have OWS who feel that a) everyone is richer then they are b) they demand free shit.