Hear me out. I’ll end this with a cherry on top, a simple five second mental exercise that exposes the fallacy that is known as wealth disparity.
Federal welfare spending in fiscal year 2011 totaled $668 billion***, spread out over 126 programs, while the poverty rate remains high at 15.1 percent, roughly where it was in 1965, when President Johnson declared a federal War on Poverty [14.7%].
In 1966, the first year after Johnson declared war on poverty, the national poverty rate was 14.7 percent, according to Census Bureau figures. Over time, the poverty rate has fluctuated in a narrow range between 11 and 15 percent, only falling into the 11 percent range for a few years in the late 1970’s.
***“Since President Obama took office [in January 2009], federal welfare spending has increased by 41 percent, [increasing it by] more than $193 billion per year,” the study says.
Yet poverty level remains the same.
Trillions of dollars spent and not a damn difference. A culture of dependence was created. A voting bloc. Cradle to grave. The argument is not to say we shouldn’t help the poor. The issue is the metric by which we define, measure, help, and report on the poor.
The official poverty measure counts only monetary income. It considers antipoverty programs such as food stamps, housing assistance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicaid and school lunches, among others, “in-kind benefits” — and hence not income. So, despite everything these programs do to relieve poverty, they aren’t counted as income when Washington measures the poverty rate.
My conclusion is that the poverty rate is NEVER going to change. It is not DESIGNED that way. It’s another way how pols game the numbers
Relatively, the poor are poorer than the other 85%, but the question is how poor in real terms? So poor they can’t afford cable or cell phones?
Not in America. The pols don’t measure nor report after the fact, they measure/report before the fact to keep us giving, giving, giving, giving the largess that created a dependent voting bloc.
The end result is an increasing majority of our poor who can live a lower middle class life (everyone gets a ribbon) while the pols maintain a narrative that appeals to pity. Ad Misericordiam. And one that is bankrupting Western Nations.
Not just our poor. These mechanics are built into the welfare state. Every welfare state. Equality at the finishing line. Practically all Western Nations are down this road.
Denmark. An advanced welfare state. An immigrant family of four can get the equivalent of $80,ooo in various subsidies for housing, food and other necessities. It’s not national or cultural. It’s characteristic of the welfare state. It’s not meant to end poverty. And it doesn’t (as the facts show: 14.7% in 1965 vs 15.1% today 2012).
Wealth Disparity Thought Experiment: Let’s pretend we have a onetime $$$ holiday that evenly redistributed all wealth. How long do you think it would take to have wealth disparity again? Very quickly. Almost immediately. Some people will burn through that cash overnight. It’s a matter of fact some are thrifty and save, while others spend spend spend like Obama; some people waste money while others save, invest, and build wealth.
So what do we do? Redistribute continuously? Disincentivize thrift, hard work while incentivizing losing habits…
Unfortunately this seems to be the current model.