N.C. Rep. George Cleveland thinks
poverty is a government plot
State Rep. George Cleveland, a four-term Republican who represents Onslow County in the North Carolina General Assembly, said with a straight face at a hearing Thursday: “We have no one in the state of North Carolina living in extreme poverty. We might governmentally say they are, but we don't. ... They keep redefining poverty to make sure we have a poverty class."

Noxious nonsense that landed him a coveted spot on Keith Olbermann's Worst Persons in the World list. Tazra Mitchell at North Carolina's Progressive Pulse blog noted just how off-the-wall Cleveland is:

According to the latest United States Census data, 17.4 percent of North Carolinians lived below the federal poverty line in 2010. This stingy threshold was set at $22,314 for a family of four in 2010. Even more disturbing are the 728,842 North Carolinians who lived in deep poverty—which equates to an annual income of roughly $11,100 for a family of four. In fact, the deep poverty rate for North Carolina is a full percentage point above the national rate of 6.8 percent. There are only 9 states with a higher deep poverty rate than North Carolina’s deep poverty rate.

Worse, 1 in 4 children in North Carolina lived in poverty in 2010. The numbers are higher for African American, Latino, and American Indian children, 40.2 percent, 42.6 percent, and 37.9 percent respectively, compared to 14 percent for white children. What about the children living in deep poverty? There are 258,770 of them, which brings North Carolina’s child deep poverty rate to 11.5 percent. Of the children living in deep poverty, 13.8 percent of them are under the age of 6.

The state NAACP and another Pulse blogger, Rob Schofield, recommended that Cleveland join the North Carolina Justice Center's Truth and Hope Tour of Poverty in the state.

But it seems unlikely he'd learn much from it. Schofield wrote that Cleveland previously has said that an undocumented immigrant could be readily identified if he has "a pair of shaggy boots on, and jeans and a t-shirt, and he’s got a straw hat on."

By the way, that hearing, Adam Peck points out, was of the House Select Committee on Early Childhood Education Development. Its latest report recommends drastically reducing the number of children eligible for pre-kindergarten education in the state. Those most likely to get booted? Children of families in the deep poverty Cleveland says doesn't exist.

You can see this jackass in action here.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 04:53 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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