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War on poverty is bankrupting the USA

Before you attempt to solve a problem it helps to understand the problem and decide beforehand how you will measure success in solving that problem. Needless to say, that’s not how the political class approaches things. Instead, they make simplistic assumptions, throw money at the problem and declare victory. Not only that, but before assessing their efforts they start again with more of the same. So it is with the war on poverty. So it is with current candidates for president the likes of Hillary and Old Bernie, more, much more of the same. 

Politicians of both parties are providing ample lip service to the middle class during this campaign season. There’s a reason for that. Middle class voters decide election outcomes. It’s really no more complex than that. But there’s far less debate on the question of poverty in America, even though a variety of poverty programs siphon almost a trillion dollars annually in taxpayer funds. 

To honestly discuss poverty, politicians would have to address runaway entitlement programs and, in the world of politics, that is almost certain death. But the U.S. Census Bureau has released its annual poverty report and it’s a bombshell on the massive failures of the federal government. The truth is there is far less poverty in this nation than politicians would have us believe and the current entitlement programs are a failure by any and all definitions. 

According to the Census Bureau, social welfare programs in America include health care and education funding, Social Security and all of its laundry list of programs, unemployment insurance, earned income tax credits as well as food stamps and public housing. The fact is that America spends more on real per capital social welfare than almost all other countries. 

When politicians dare to speak of entitlement reform – an almost certain political death – it’s time we listen. According to the Census Bureau, here is a snapshot of poverty in America. The typical poor family in America has a car, cable television and air conditioning. 

Half of poverty households have computers, 43 percent have Internet and about the same percentage have wide-screen televisions. Only 7 percent of households in poverty report overcrowding. And despite what we are lead to believe, the Agriculture Department reports that just 4 percent of poor children face hunger issues. And one final note on the Census Bureau report will surely strike you as both odd and amazing. 

The U.S. Census Bureau – in calculating poverty [based on money income] in America – does not count almost a trillion annually spent on means-tested programs like food stamps, housing vouchers and Earned Income Tax Credits. 

Here’s where it gets odd. By ignoring that trillion dollars in taxpayer funding, the new government report shows that poor people spend $2.30 for every $1 of income the Census Bureau claims they have.

Source: Sikeston Standard Democrat: Column: Michael Jensen: War on poverty is bankrupting the USA

Based on the rest of the world, the way we even define poverty is unique.

Look at the following charts from the just released Census Bureau Report on Poverty  and see the progress made on poverty since 1964.  



2 replies »

  1. What an interesting article. Not only do the poor get free Obamacare as well as other entitlement programs that I assume make up the trillion dollars of taxpayer money that was ignored but just like the federal government they either print money to the tune of $1.30 for every dollar that they have or have a very willing loan shark. I do not think that ALL of the poor people are in the business dealing drugs or other black market operations so I do not understand how they could be spending $2.30 for every $1 earned in income. The banks stopped lending money almost 8 years ago.

    I’ll have to find the original Census report to make sense of this. It is starting to look like I was wrong for working hard all my life. I could have earned 130% more by dropping out of the work force and never going to college which is counter to all of the government’s arguments for free college.

    The only way for this Census report to make sense is that the income level that they considered must be awful high somewhere like the 99%er’s who are not the 1%.

    The article is trying to use the graphs to state that government money has done nothing. The fact that the American population has grown by 179% since 1959 means that at the same poverty rate of about 23% in 1959 that today we would have about 73.3 million poor Americans but instead we only have 46.7 million poor Americans.

    I am all for cutting entitlements and taxes but this article is very bias and appears to twisting some facts therefore is not helpful.


    • I believe what they are saying is that if you earn $20,000 but receive additional money in the form of non cash payments like SNAP and you are paying little or no taxes, you then effectively spend in total more than you earn in cash.


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