Being poor sure ain’t what it used to be. Consider this from a report by Heritage:
To understand poverty in America, it is important to look behind these [census] numbers—to look at the actual living conditions of the individuals the government deems to be poor. For most Americans, the word "poverty" suggests destitution: an inability to provide a family with nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter. But only a small number of the 37 million persons classified as "poor" by the Census Bureau fit that description. While real material hardship certainly does occur, it is limited in scope and severity. Most of America’s "poor" live in material conditions that would be judged as comfortable or well-off just a few generations ago. Today, the expenditures per person of the lowest-income one-fifth (or quintile) of households equal those of the median American household in the early 1970s, after adjusting for inflation.
So much for the class-warfare narrative. This Edwards populism is really about income equality, not poverty. And as I wrote yesterday, egalitarianism a la Edwards is merely the outgrowth of greed and envy.
Here are some interesting bullets to chew on as you consider the next John Edwards diatribe:
>43% of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
>80% of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36% of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
>Only 6% of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
>The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
>Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31% own two or more cars.
>97% of poor households have a color television; more than half own two or more color televisions.
>78% have a VCR or DVD player; 62% have cable or satellite TV reception.
>89% own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.
(Update: I hope information like this will serve as an antidote to stuff like this by Rob Christensen, once a solid, less-biased political reporter who as begun engaging in class warfare.) -Max Borders