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As my readers know I am not above using someone else’s post when they have something to say I think is important. That is the case today. I just met Mr. Rob waterson, a fellow blogger and Patriot. Rob emailed me today and after a couple “back and forth” I ask for his url and went to his site. I sincerely feel this is a post you should read. Glenn Beck spoke of this topic yesterday and I was planning to do some research before writing, but Rob has already done it and done it well. You too should log onto: http://waronsocialism.com/
[Hat tip to Mark Levin for this story]
Writing in NRO, the well respected Robert Rector describes fundamental changes to the way that the government will measure poverty in America. The current method of measuring poverty deals with purchasing power (“how much steak and potatoes you can buy”) whereas the new measure will “count comparative purchasing power — how much steak and potatoes you can buy relative to other people.”
The weird new poverty measure will produce very odd results. For example, if the real income of every single American were to magically triple over night, the new poverty measure would show there had been no drop in “poverty,” because the poverty income threshold would also triple. Under the Obama system, poverty can be reduced only if the incomes of the “poor” are rising faster than the incomes of everyone else.
Another paradox of the new poverty measure is that countries such as Bangladesh and Albania will have lower poverty rates than the United States, even though the actual living conditions in those countries are extremely bad. Haiti would probably have a very low poverty rate when measured by the Obama system because the earthquake reduced much of the population to a uniform penniless squalor.
This change is nothing less than a move to ensure that regardless of any economic realities or statistics there will always be a fixed percentage of Americans living in so-called poverty. I argue that by world standards there is very little poverty in America. I am reminded of an anecdotal story told by Dinesh D’Souza in his book What’s So Great About America. He was listening to an immigrant talk about America, including some criticisms of racism and other problems. D’Souza asked the individual why he wanted to come to America when he knew of all of these perceived problems and without missing a beat the guy said “I want to live in a country where the poor people are fat.” Rector provides a similar argument:
What has the Obama measure to do with actual poverty? Not much. For most Americans, the word “poverty” suggests destitution: an inability to provide a family with nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter. But only a small number of the 40 million persons classified as poor under the government’s current poverty definition fit that description. Most of America’s poor live in material conditions that would have been judged comfortable, or even well-off, two generations ago.
The government’s own data show that the typical American defined as poor (according to the traditional, pre-Obama poverty measure) has two color televisions, cable or satellite service, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He also has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry, and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs. While this individual’s life is not opulent, it is far from the stark images conveyed by the mainstream media and liberal politicians.
So if this is not about genuine poverty, what is this all about? I think that you already know. It is about justification for income redistribution, the main raison d’etre of the American Left.
In honest English, the new system will measure income inequality, not poverty. Why not just call it an “inequality” index? Answer: because the American voter is unwilling to support massive welfare increases, soaring deficits, and tax increases to equalize incomes. However, if the goal of income leveling is camouflaged as a desperate struggle against poverty, hunger, and dire deprivation, then the political prospects improve. The new measure is a public-relations Trojan horse, smuggling in a “spread the wealth” agenda under the ruse of fighting real material privation — a condition that is rare in our society.
Barack Obama is a poverty pimp, but because there is not enough poverty in America to justify his rhetoric he has to warp the measurement scale. Rector correctly concludes that “the new poverty measure will use deception to promote a much larger welfare state.”
Would you expect anything less from an empty suit community activist?