Do you worry about Americans living in poverty? Think that perhaps taxes should be raised on the ultra-wealthy in order to help those destroyed by the recession they created?
Do you have any sympathy and empathy for your fellow citizen in trouble?
The Heritage Foundation to the rescue! Today they published a study to show how the poor are actually livin' large thanks to their 'amenities'.
The study can be found here.
The opening sentence gives one a flavor of the entire piece:
Each year for the past two decades, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that over 30 million Americans were living in “poverty.” In recent years, the Census has reported that one in seven Americans are poor. But what does it mean to be “poor” in America? How poor are America’s poor?
Isn't it cute how they put poverty and poor in quotation marks? Because, as they're about to prove, the poor aren't poor.
Poor families certainly struggle to make ends meet, but in most cases, they are struggling to pay for air conditioning and the cable TV bill as well as to put food on the table. Their living standards are far different from the images of dire deprivation promoted by activists and the mainstream media.
How dare they have air conditioning, particularly when temperatures around the country now are killing people who are without it!
The Heritage Foundation then gives data on poor households who have such luxuries as a refrigerator, a stove, a ceiling fan, a coffee pot and so on. I have news for the silver-spoon trust funders who work at the HF: even the most wretched slum apartment generally has a refrigerator and a stove. Some might even offer a ceiling fan. The Heritage Foundation apparently won't be happy until we're all living under bridges, although then they'll say we don't have it bad as long as we have a blanket.
Anyway, the Heritage Foundation takes their list of 'amenities' and scores it against poor households. You see, a $10 coffee pot from Dollar General and a $20 television from Goodwill means that you aren't suffering enough for our overlords - you're actually very well off compared to the poor 100 years ago. You can't make this shit up! A coffee pot is actually considered some kind of luxury item to the HF and it's scored against the poor.
So once they've 'proven' that the poor aren't actually poor because their Section 8 housing has a refrigerator, they do make a concession:
Of course, the typical poor family could have a host of modern conveniences and still live in dilapidated, overcrowded housing. However, data from other government surveys show that this is not the case. Poor Americans are well housed and rarely overcrowded. In fact, the houses and apartments of America’s poor are quite spacious by international standards. The typical poor American has considerably more living space than does the average European.
So, they have spacious, comfortable housing and they aren't hungry, either!
On average, the poor are well nourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children. In most cases, it is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than higher-income children consume, and their protein intake averages 100 percent above recommended levels. In fact, most poor children are super-nourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.
The entire argument for saying that the poor are livin' large is that in a time of terrible, terrible deficits maybe we're doing too much for them, because "the overwhelming majority of poor households do not experience any form of physical deprivation"...because they have a coffee pot!
I know someone who lives in a broken-down RV in Oklahoma. The plumbing is bad and it doesn't have running water. She has it parked in an RV park that offers cable and Internet for the modest rental fee, and according to the Heritage Foundation she's living a life of luxury, even though she's living in a 25 year old RV without running water.
This is the modern conservative movement in a nutshell.