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.
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.