Tag Archives: Poverty

The UN Fraudulently Addresses “Extreme Poverty” in the United States, by Francis Menton

SLL disagrees with US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s positions on many issues, but not this one. From Francis Menton at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • You may be aware that the UN actually has an official definition of “extreme poverty,” which is “liv[ing]… on less than $1.90 per person per day.” $1.90 per day would come to just under $700 per year.
  • An April 2018 study by John Early for the Cato Institute found that counting the $1.2 trillion of annual redistributions toward the income of the recipients — a sum often misleadingly excluded from poverty statistics — reduces the official poverty level in the U.S. from 12.7% all the way down to about 2%. And the remaining 2% would be people who for some reason had not sought out the benefits.
  • In other words, the U.S. distributes to its low-income residents resources beyond their income equal to an additional 40 times per person the amount officially deemed by the UN to constitute “extreme poverty.”

Is the United Nations a group of people of good faith, joining together in the effort to help bring peace and justice and economic development to the world? Or is it a group of haters of freedom and capitalism engaged primarily in spewing ignorance, malice or both toward the United States? For a clue, you might take a look at the “Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on his mission to the United States of America,” recently issued by the UN’s so-called Human Rights Council.

Yes, this is the same Human Rights Council from which the U.S. just announced its withdrawal. It is also the same Human Rights Council that includes among its members China, Cuba, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela — with ambassadors who think that the best use of their time and resources is to criticize the economic and human rights record of the U.S.

The UN’s Report grew out of a two-week (December 1-15, 2017) “visit” to the United States by an Englishman, Philip Alston, designated the “Special Rapporteur.” After its issuance in May, the Report drew more attention than it might have otherwise because on June 12 it brought forth a letter to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley from a collection of Members of Congress, led by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, expressing supposed “deep concern” about the findings. This letter in turn provoked a sharp rebuke from Haley on June 21.

To continue reading: The UN Fraudulently Addresses “Extreme Poverty” in the United States

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Why California Has the Nation’s Worst Poverty Rate, by Ryan McMaken

One thing governments are good at producing is poverty, and California has lots of government. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

Earlier this week, the LA Times reminded its readers that California has the highest poverty rate in the nation.

Specifically, when using the Census Bureau’s most recent” Supplemental Poverty Measure” (SPM), California clocks in with a poverty rate of 20 percent, which places it as worst in the nation.

To be sure, California is running quite closely with Florida and Louisiana, but we can certainly say that California is a top contender when it comes to poverty:

supplemental.png

This continues to be something of a black eye for California politicians who imagine themselves to be the enlightened elite of North America. The fact that one in five Californians is below this poverty line doesn’t exactly lend itself to crowing about the state’s success in its various wars on poverty.

Many conservative sites have seized on the information to say “I told you so” and claim this shows that “blue-state” policies fail. One should be careful with this, of course, since there are plenty of red states in the top ten as well. Moreover, some blue states, like Massachusetts, are doing moderately well by this measure:

supp_poverty.PNG

In the realm of political punditry,  though, it matters a great deal whether one is using the regular poverty measure, or the SPM. For one, in the regular poverty measure, California ranks better than Texas, and leftists love to use the standard poverty rate to talk about how truly awful Texas and other red states are. The Supplemental Poverty Measure allows Texans to talk about how awful California is.

If we’re going to use census data to guess the prevalence of low-income households, though, the SPM is greatly superior to the old poverty rate. There’s a reason, after all, that the Census Bureau developed it, and the Bureau has long warned that poverty rates using the old measure don’t make for good comparisons across state lines.

The old poverty measure was a far more crude measure that did not take local costs into account, did not include poverty-assistance income, and basically ignored what can be immense differences in the cost of living in different locations. Many commentators often love to note how the median household income in many red states are below the national average — but then conveniently ignore how low the cost of living is in those places.

To continue reading: Why California Has the Nation’s Worst Poverty Rate

The Virtuous Poor in America, by xrugger

The money sentence: “The majority of the American underclass are neither virtuous nor (by any rational standard of true poverty) are they poor.” From xrugger at theburningplatform.com:

I’ve read a few things recently that might lead one to believe that the poor in America are held down solely by the machinations of the rich and connected. There seems to be a sentiment out there that the poor are simply not responsible for the state in which they find themselves and that one day they will rise up and throw off the shackles that bind them in poverty and want. Everything has been done to them; therefore, we are obligated to do everything for them. As will be obvious shortly, I disagree.

Do not put your hope for change in the poor and downtrodden of this country. Your faith in the supposed virtuous poor is badly misplaced. The majority of the American underclass are neither virtuous nor (by any rational standard of true poverty) are they poor. This is not a statement meant to absolve the wealthy and powerful of their sins in that they have done much to degrade and destroy the “disadvantaged” of this nation. They will have their own millstone to deal with. Having said that, let’s chat a little bit about the true state of the American underclass.

First, let’s dispel the notion that the American poor are truly poor. Oh sure, by the standards of the poor in other western industrial nations, the American version may indeed be worse in some ways than, say, the German poor, or the British poor, or the Australian poor. However, when you bring the grinding poverty of Africa, India, or rural China into the calculation, then what it means to be poor in America becomes discernable in its proper context.

If you have central heat and air conditioning in your subsidized housing, or even in the homeless shelter for that matter, then you are far better off than sub-Saharan Africans who burn buffalo dung for heat. If you cook your subsidized meals on an electric or gas stove under an electric light, then you and yours exist at a level of comfort unknown to huge numbers of the truly destitute. If you have the luxury of indoor plumbing, then you have far exceeded the standards of the rural poor in India where the majority of the population still defecate in the open.

To continue reading: The Virtuous Poor in America

Resolved: The Welfare State Should Be Abolished, by Jeffrey A. Tucker

The welfare state doesn’t eliminate poverty; it institutionalizes and perpetuates impoverishment. From Jeffrey A. Tucker at fee.org:

That the welfare state is for the purpose of helping the poor is one of the great fictions of our time.

I was honored to be the guest speaker of the Yale University Political Union last week, addressing the need to abolish the welfare state. The structure of the union breaks down students into “parties” based on political ideology. The guest speaks and then the students challenge. This is followed by minor speeches and challenges from students. The entire event lasts two hours, and the guest gets the final word.

A word on the students themselves: I was amazed at the erudition, decorum, and adult-like collegiality among them. It seems almost out of some movie I’ve seen, something set in the 1920s. I’m not entirely sure the students fully realize just how special they are. With a student body like this, I suspected that they learn more from engagement with each other than from their classes. Several students confirmed this. And, to be clear, this was true regardless of political outlook.

I, of course, was speaking on behalf of the pure free-market position on the welfare state, going further even than F.A. Hayek to say that the whole thing ought to be scrapped. There is nothing that the welfare state contributes to our lives that couldn’t be replaced by the normal operations of the market and civil society. In the end, I lost the debate, two to one, which is not a surprise, but I hope I planted plenty of seeds of doubt about the merit of the welfare state.

Command and Control

This whole topic is widely misunderstood. People think of the welfare state as a system of redistribution to help the poor improve their lot in life. Those who oppose it, we are told, are greedy advocates for the interests of the rich.

My contention is that this is just a story we tell ourselves that has nothing to do with the history and current reality of the welfare state. The welfare state is a system of command and control, imposed by the political elites, that targets politically marginalized groups in a way that, through both bad and good intentions, excludes them from participation in mainstream society.

To continue reading: Resolved: The Welfare State Should Be Abolished

He Said That? 5/4/17

From Mokokoma Mokhonoana, philosopher, social critic, graphic designer, satirist, and iconoclast:

It is as difficult for most poor people to truly believe that they could someday escape poverty as it is for most wealthy people to truly believe that their wealth could someday escape them.

He Said That? 9/12/16

From Victor Hugo (1802–1885), French poet, novelist, and dramatist, Les Misérables (1862):

There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher.

Tent Cities Full Of Homeless People Are Booming In Cities All Over America As Poverty Spikes, by Michael Snyder

Increasing poverty is a defining characteristic of economic contractions, and it’s especially severe during a depression like the one we are undergoing. From Michael Snyder at theeconomiccollapseblog.com:

Just like during the last economic crisis, homeless encampments are popping up all over the nation as poverty grows at a very alarming rate. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than half a million people are homeless in America right now, but that figure is increasing by the day. And it isn’t just adults that we are talking about. It has been reported that that the number of homeless children in this country has risen by 60 percent since the last recession, and Poverty USA says that a total of 1.6 million children slept either in a homeless shelter or in some other form of emergency housing at some point last year. Yes, the stock market may have been experiencing a temporary boom for the last couple of years, but for those on the low end of the economic scale things have just continued to deteriorate.

Tonight, countless numbers of homeless people will try to make it through another chilly night in large tent cities that have been established in the heart of major cities such as Seattle, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis. Homelessness has gotten so bad in California that the L.A. City Council has formally asked Governor Jerry Brown to officially declare a state of emergency. And in Portland the city has extended their “homeless emergency” for yet another year, and city officials are really struggling with how to deal with the booming tent cities that have sprung up…

There have always been homeless people in Portland, but last summer Michelle Cardinal noticed a change outside her office doors.

Almost overnight, it seemed, tents popped up in the park that runs like a green carpet past the offices of her national advertising business. She saw assaults, drug deals and prostitution. Every morning, she said, she cleaned human feces off the doorstep and picked up used needles.

“It started in June and by July it was full-blown. The park was mobbed,” she said. “We’ve got a problem here and the question is how we’re going to deal with it.”

But of course it isn’t just Portland that is experiencing this. The following list of major tent cities that have become so well-known and established that they have been given names comes from Wikipedia…

Camp Hope, Las Cruces, New Mexico [1]
Camp Quixote, Olympia, Washington State[2]
Camp Take Notice, Ann Arbor, Michigan[3]
Dignity Village, Portland, Oregon
Opportunity Village, Eugene, Oregon
Maricopa County Sheriff’s Tent City, Phoenix, Arizona
New Jack City and Little Tijuana, Fresno, California[2]
Nickelsville, located in Seattle[2][4]
Right 2 Dream Too, Portland, Oregon[5]
River Haven,[6] Ventura County, California[7][8]
Safe Ground, Sacramento, California[2]
The Jungle, San Jose, California[2]
Temporary Homeless Service Area (THSA), Ontario, California[2]
Tent City (100+ residents) of Lakewood, New Jersey[9][10]
Tent City, Avenue A and 13th Street, Lubbock, Texas[11]
Tent City, New Jersey forest[12]
Tent City, Bernalillo County, New Mexico[13]
Tent City, banks of the American River, Sacramento, California[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]
Tent City 3, Seattle
Tent City, Chicago, Illinois [1]
Tent City 4, eastern King County outside of Seattle
The Point, where the Gunnison River and Colorado River meet[23]
The Village of Hope and Community of Hope, Fresno, California[2]
Transition Park, Camden, New Jersey
Tent City, Fayette County, Tennessee, [2]
Camp Unity Eastside, Woodinville, WA [3]
China Hat Road, Bend, Oregon

Most of the time, those that establish tent cities do not want to be discovered because local authorities have a nasty habit of shutting them down and forcing homeless people out of the area. For example, check out what just happened in Elkhart, Indiana…

A group of homeless people in Elkhart has been asked to leave the place they call home. For the last time, residents of ‘Tent City’ packed up camp.

City officials gave residents just over a month to vacate the wooded area; Wednesday being the last day to do so.

The property has been on Mayor Tim Neese’s radar since he took office in January, calling it both a safety and health hazard to its residents and nearby pedestrian traffic.

“This has been their home but you can’t live on public property,” said Mayor Tim Neese, Elkhart.

To continue reading: Tent Cities Full Of Homeless People Are Booming In Cities All Over America As Poverty Spikes