Thursday, March 22, 2007

Are the poor that poor? Are the poor that poor?

TCS Daily: Poor Performances looks into the fact that after spending $10 trillion on poverty programs since LBJ's Great Society was launched, poverty in this country is supposedly at an all time high. But is it? Not when the average "poor" person in this country has 1/3 more living space than the average Japanese, 1/4 more than the average Frenchman, etc., and while 41% own their own homes, averaging three bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths and $150,000, 70% own at least one car, and 27% owned two or more cars.

Two big reasons that the "poor" in this country are not, on average, that poor. First, poverty figures don't include non-cash income, such as: food stamps; Medicare; WIC; etc. And, secondly, the poor tend to grossly underreport their incomes to the Census Bureau. Indeed, the poor on average spend $1.94 for every dollar that they earn.

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