Rule Five Relative Poverty Friday

I’ve stated for many years that there is no abject poverty in the United States, only relative poverty.  Turns out that when you compare the U.S. to the rest of the world, we don’t even have that.  Excerpts, with my thoughts:

A groundbreaking study by Just Facts has discovered that after accounting for all income, charity, and non-cash welfare benefits like subsidized housing and Food Stamps—the poorest 20% of Americans consume more goods and services than the national averages for all people in most affluent countries. This includes the majority of countries in the prestigious Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), including its European members. In other words, if the U.S. “poor” were a nation, it would be one of the world’s richest.

It’s important to note that most assessments of “poverty” in the United States do not include government benefits such as those listed above.

Notably, this study was reviewed by Dr. Henrique Schneider, professor of economics at Nordakademie University in Germany and the chief economist of the Swiss Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. After examining the source data and Just Facts’ methodology, he concluded: “This study is sound and conforms with academic standards. I personally think it provides valuable insight into poverty measures and adds considerably to this field of research.”

It’s also important to note that the Swiss know a thing or two about economics.

To accurately compare living standards across or within nations, it is necessary to account for all major aspects of material welfare. None of the data above does this.

The OECD data is particularly flawed because it is based on “income,” which excludes a host of non-cash government benefits and private charity that are abundant in the United States. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • healthcare provided by Medicaid, free clinics, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  • nourishment provided by Food Stamps, school lunches, school breakfasts, soup kitchens, food pantries, and the Women’s, Infants’ & Children’s program.
  • housing and amenities provided through rent subsidies, utility assistance, and homeless shelters.

In other words, the standard calculation of “poverty” dismisses and ignores major sources of income for the “poor” in the U.S., those being taxpayer-funded transfer payments in one form or another.

This is, of course, horseshit.  You can hardly read the comments section of any article on the subject of poverty without reading anecdotes of people on food stamps (at least, back when those were easily recognized) buying a cartload of expensive prime cuts of beef, then going outside and loading them into a new car.  I’ve seen it myself; almost thirty years ago, when food stamps were still the big USDA coupons, I took a cow elk into a butcher’s shop for processing and was in line for the cash register behind a woman who was buying a huge box of prime steaks – with food stamps.

I was sufficiently aggravated that I didn’t bother to see what kind of car she was driving.

Read the whole article, of course, but the upshot of all this is pretty simple to determine:  Anyone living in the United States has it fucking made compared to pretty much anywhere else on the planet, even if you are “poor” as such things are reckoned here today.  We have the richest poor people in human history, and it would be nice if for once the legacy media would stop lying about it.