Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Heritage Foundation Report on Poverty Wins the Coveted “Odie” for July 2011

Even With a Particularly Terrible Month, Nothing Can Top This

[Editor’s Note:  The Dismal Political Economist has his version of the movie award “Oscar".  In this case the award is called the “Odie” which is given to the most odious writing or statements on economic and political issues during a given month.  The July 2011 award goes to the Heritage Foundation for the following reasons.]

The Heritage Foundation is a Conservative Think Tank (emphasis on Tank, not on Think) that for some reason has gained credibility in American Conservative community, that  reason being their conclusions always support preconceived Conservative ideas. 
rush limbaugh and sean hannity

 This July their “scholarship” reached its zenith with the report, 

Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox:

It turns out the concept of poverty in American is wrong, that the poor in America are really quite well off, lead lives relatively free of economic want and in fact they are really not poor at all!  Really, they do, at least according to the Heritage Foundation.  Here is what they determined.

• The typical poor household, as defined by the
government, has a car and air conditioning,

two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a
DVD player, and a VCR. If there are children,
especially boys, the family has a game system,
such as an Xbox or PlayStation.

• In the kitchen, the household has a refrigerator,
an oven and stove, and a microwave.

Heritage Foundataion-Typical Home
of Poor Family
Other household conveniences include a
clothes washer, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, a
cordless phone, and a coffee maker.

• The home of the typical poor family is in
good repair and is not overcrowded. In fact,
the typical average poor American has more
living space in his home than the average
(non-poor) European has.

• By its own report, the typical poor family was
not hungry, was able to obtain medical care
when needed, and had sufficient funds during
the past year to meet all essential needs.

So it turns out that the conditions of poverty in the U. S. are highly exaggerated.  And why is this important to the Heritage Foundation?  Well here is the reason.

Over the long term, exaggeration has the potential to promote a substantial misallocation of limited resources for a government that is facing massive future deficits.

Now who needs that translated for them? Well not Conservatives, that’s for sure because they know that this is saying,

“There is no poverty, no suffering and no problem.  By exaggerating the poverty problem we will devote government resources to helping poor people who do not need help, instead of having more tax cuts for the very wealthy.”

How much money do poor people have?  Well the threshold for a two person household is about $1,250 a month.  So the message to the authors of this study, Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield is this. Go live together on less than that for a couple of years and then come back and tell us how you had a great home, air conditioning, medical care, adequate food, a couple of TV’s etc. 

 And if you don’t want to do that, then just go.  We won’t miss you.

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