Poor People Shouldn’t be so Comfortable.

English: Poverty Rates by Age: 1959 to 2008. U...

Here I go again. Where is my compassion? This is what my Democratic friends and non-friends will say.

But as I wrote in an earlier blog called “Get Mad! Defend yourself. Conservative Values are Worth Defending”  I won’t take it. When I say “those in poverty in the U.S. live too comfortably and need to find it a little bit more challenging”; I’m the one with compassion. I’m the one who cares for their well-being. Democrats who want to keep them down by giving them JUST enough to continue their meek existence are the inhumane, the uncaring. Believe it. They’ve been dominating the poor in this country for far too long by keeping them fat and happy…and poor.

A recent study reported by The Heritage Foundation demonstrates dramatically that being poor in the United States doesn’t leave you much worse off than the average American. “Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox: What is Poverty in the United States Today?” by Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield points out that 97.7% of poor households have televisions. That compares to 98.7% of average Americans.

Additionally the study finds:

  • Over 78% of poor have air conditioning; compared to just 36% of all Americans in 1970.
  • 63.7% have cable TV
  • 65.1% have more than 1 TV
  • 38.2% have a personal computer; compared to 68% of the general populace.
  • 29.3% of poor families have a video game system, compared to 31.3% of average American households.
English: Number in Poverty and Poverty Rate: 1...

The list is extensive and alarming. As the article points out the overwhelming majority of the 50-million who are classified as “in poverty” live relatively well with all kinds of modern amenities. The majority of them have air-conditioning, tv’s, cars, microwaves, adequate housing and ample access to food. The home of the average poor family was NOT over crowded and was in good repair. The average American poor family had more living space in their home than the average (overall average, not just poor) European.

There is no doubt that the poor in our country are struggling; but when they are struggling to pay for cable tv, the latest video game, and the comfort of air conditioning we have to ask why tax payer funds should go toward helping that struggle. The overwhelming budget deficits run by the current administration make it an even more important question.

MORE IMPORTANTLY there are people without adequate shelter or food who are hurt by the exaggerated deprivation of those classified as “in poverty”. But according to the study those who are homeless and at times without adequate food only represent 0.5% of the population; not 15-16% as Census reports in September 2011 indicated.

Of course its in the interest of certain demographic groups and organizations to exaggerate the numbers on poverty. In doing so more government money can flow to your demographic group through Federal programs designed to ease your burden and/or deprivation. But when a poor family’s amenities are nearly equal to the average household where is the deprivation. The study asked survey respondents if their home included a list of 30 household items they would have classified as amenities. The median average American household had 19 of these 30 items. The median poor household had 14.

Its worth noting that the average poor person does not represent all poor people. Like everything in life there is a range. But in order to come up with effective and efficient public policy to help care for those who are truly in-need we should be able to have a clearer definition of who is in need. And those who receive public assistance shouldn’t be so comfortable, and if they are, they shouldn’t receive public assistance.

The good news from this seemingly harsh stance is that those who live comfortably with lots of household amenities will be forced to make wiser choices for how they spend and save their money. They’ll certainly have greater motivation to work harder and smarter for the amenities they covet. And our nation’s deteriorating work ethic will get a necessary kick in the butt. And could it be that we all, even the poor, will learn to be more grateful for the things we have and the great nation in which we live.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

( Here is the link to the article in which the majority of this blog is based:  http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/07/What-is-Poverty )


  1. Excellent points and very well written.

  2. Good job. Thanks for the link back.

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