Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Poverty, American Style
A Washington Times editorial reminded me that the Heritage Foundation has finished their latest report on poverty in America. Around 12% of Americans are "poor," but what does that mean, really? Poor compared to what? The answer is poor compared to the absolute richest society to ever grace this earth. Is this a basis for government confiscation of property and hamstringing our economy? Judge for yourself:

*Forty-six percent 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.
*Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
*Only 6 percent 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; 30 percent own two or more cars.
*Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
*Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
*Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.

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