…if poverty means lacking nutritious food, adequate warm housing, and clothing for a family, relatively few of the more than 30 million people identified as being “in poverty” by the Census Bureau could be characterized as poor. While material hardship definitely exists in the United States, it is restricted in scope and severity. The average poor person, as defined by the government, has a living standard far higher than the public imagines.When you look at it, they really never had it so good. I propose we send some of these so-called ‘poor’ people down to Mexico, Central America, or Haiti, and let them get a taste of real poverty. They’ll come back with a renewed sense of patriotism and a burning desire to cut Lloyd Blankfein’s taxes, just you watch. They might even give up their coffee makers out of a sense of shared sacrifice.
As scholar James Q. Wilson has stated, “The poorest Americans today live a better life than all but the richest persons a hundred years ago.” In 2005, the typical household defined as poor by the government had a car and air conditioning. For entertainment, the household had two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR. If there were children, especially boys, in the home, the family had a game system, such as an Xbox or a PlayStation. In the kitchen, the household had a refrigerator, an oven and stove, and a microwave. Other household conveniences included a clothes washer, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, a cordless phone, and a coffee maker.
Nor do they suffer from genuine hunger, as evidenced by the fact that so many of them are overweight. Many of them might experience occasional food shortages, but in fact they’re actually over nourished. Indeed, some are actually super nourished:
On average, the poor are well nourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children. In most cases, it is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than higher-income children consume, and their protein intake averages 100 percent above recommended levels. In fact, most poor children are super-nourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.See that? Thanks to McDonald’s, your average poor person will probably grow up to be bigger and stronger than Audie Murphy. Assuming they’ll be able to get in the Army with malignant hypertension and type-II diabetes, they just might the next Greatest Generation.
It’s pretty clear that poverty in America is mostly leftist fiction, something invented by statist liberals who want to take our freedoms away. But conservatives are going to have to work a little harder to get the message out, because not all the poor got the memo:
Doctors at a major Boston hospital report they are seeing more hungry and dangerously thin young children in the emergency room than at any time in more than a decade of surveying families.No doubt due to a culture of poverty, those ‘poor folk’ didn’t even bother to read the latest Heritage Foundation report. They were probably too focused on their PlayStations, or basking beneath their ceiling fans and talking on cordless phones.
Many families are unable to afford enough healthy food to feed their children, say the Boston Medical Center doctors. The resulting chronic hunger threatens to leave scores of infants and toddlers with lasting learning and developmental problems.
“Food is costing more, and dollars don’t stretch as far,’’ Sandel said. “It’s hard to maintain a diet that is healthy.’’
The emergency room survey found a similarly striking increase in the percentage of families with children who reported they did not have enough food each month, from 18 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2010.
Pediatricians at hospitals in four other cities - Baltimore; Little Rock, Ark.; Minneapolis; and Philadelphia - also reported increases in the ranks of malnourished, hungry youngsters in their emergency rooms since 2008. But Boston’s increases were more dramatic, said Sandel, a lead investigator with Children’s HealthWatch, a network of researchers who track children’s health. Researchers said higher housing and heating costs in Massachusetts probably exacerbated the state’s surge.