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Quentin Compson
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2013
3117 posts

The Mismeasure of Poverty

quote:

THE Census Bureau reported yesterday that the poverty rate in America held stable between 2011 and 2012, at about 15 percent. According to the official measure, poverty today is higher than it was in 1973, when it reached a historical low of 11.1 percent.

To many, this dismaying fact suggests that taxpayers waste billions of dollars a year fighting a war on poverty that has been largely lost.

But this position is wrong, for two reasons. The first is that the official measure is misleading — it measures only cash income, and it does not count benefits from many programs that help the poor. If they were counted, the rate would be closer to 11 percent.

Consider the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, which was first put into nationwide use in the 1960s. The immediate benefits are easy to calculate: a dollar of SNAP subsidies spent on food frees up a dollar for low-income families to spend on rent, utilities or other needs. When SNAP benefits are counted as income, they lift almost four million people above the poverty line.

The earned-income tax credit is also ignored in calculating the poverty rate. Yet this program offers working low-income families with children about $3,000 a year. When these tax refunds are counted, they reduce the number of people in poverty by about 5.5 million people.


Social Security benefits are counted in the official measure, but their large antipoverty effect receives little attention. Without these benefits, the elderly poverty rate would have been more than 44 percent, instead of the actual rate of less than 9 percent.

But, says the critic, if all these programs have such broad effects, why has the poverty rate stayed so frustratingly stable? That’s the second flaw in the conventional wisdom.

All things being equal, such programs, whether we count them or not, should have reduced the official poverty rate across generations. But all things have not been equal. Although these programs help the poor, poverty remains high because inequality of economic outcomes has increased sharply since the 1970s.


link



fleaux
LSU Fan
section 0
Member since Aug 2012
8657 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
All I know is i cant afford that shopping cart full of meat they have


Quentin Compson
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2013
3117 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
quote:

All I know is i cant afford that shopping cart full of meat they have
Anecdotal mumbo-Jumbo


Quentin Compson
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2013
3117 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
crickets....typical


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fleaux
LSU Fan
section 0
Member since Aug 2012
8657 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
How is it Mumbo jumbo?? I see these people(black and white, before you pull a Sharpton) around the 1st and the 15th with shopping carts of more meat than i could ever afford.... And then they go get in their car that was parked in a handicapped spot . Yes they have a handicapped tag but they all look healthy to me.....


Quentin Compson
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2013
3117 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
quote:

How is it Mumbo jumbo??
Because maybe your region isn't the norm.


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Tiguar
South Alabama Fan
Knoxville
Member since Mar 2012
11441 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
adjusted for population, how much are we spending now compared to then?

Has poverty gotten better, in the sense that we are spending "less", or are we spending "more", to raise people above the poverty line?



Quentin Compson
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2013
3117 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
quote:

adjusted for population, how much are we spending now compared to then?
The article's point is that there are no measurements that show how many people are kept OUT of poverty. For all we know, poverty without the SNAP programs would be in the 20s.


Tiguar
South Alabama Fan
Knoxville
Member since Mar 2012
11441 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
I don't see how that's a useful point, then.

things that can't be proved wrong due to "not being able to know" kind of suck, scientifically speaking

spaghetti monster, etc.


Quentin Compson
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2013
3117 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
quote:

things that can't be proved wrong due to "not being able to know" kind of suck, scientifically speaking
SNAP keeps 4.4 million out of poverty, SS and Medicare keep approximately 30 million out of poverty.


SpidermanTUba
LSU Fan
The COUNTRY
Member since May 2004
33466 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
What about all the taxes those evil dems have saddled the poor with since 1973? FICA taxes are higher. Sales taxes. Property taxes. You name it. Those evil libruls did it.


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S.E.C. Crazy
Alabama Fan
Alabama
Member since Feb 2013
7905 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
So , you actually want us to read guys making the same arguments conservatives were making from 1980 to 2005 that the numbers were fudged and misleading , and that there truly is no starving hungry people in the U.S.A.


But all we got was republicans hate the poor , look at these poverty stats.

Now , since the president is a democrat , suddenly these numbers are fiction.....


Quentin Compson
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2013
3117 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
What are you babbling on about? The narrative is focusing on the completely wrong thing. Instead of sitting there and bitching about the billions upon billions spent on welfare and the poverty rate, we should be asking ourselves what the rate would be without this safety net. Elderly welfare alone keeps more than 30 million out of poverty, SNAP keeps 4.4 million out of poverty, and the EITC keeps 5.5 million out of poverty. Without those variables in the equation, the poverty rate increases more than 10 percent.


Poodlebrain
LSU Fan
Way Right of Rex
Member since Jan 2004
17618 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
You want to know why any discussion of poverty in the United States is nothing but an exercise in futility? Following a hyperlink in the cited article I was taken to a report issued by the Census Bureau titled "Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012" LINK I searched the report for a definition of poverty, and while reading Appendix B I noticed this statement,
quote:

For a history of the official poverty measure, see “The Development of the Orshansky Poverty Thresholds
and Their Subsequent History as the Official U.S. Poverty Measure” by Gordon M. Fisher, available at The Development of the Orshansky Poverty Thresholds and Their Subsequent History as the Official U.S. Poverty Measure.


You can skip reading this document as it will likely just cause you to scratch your head. However, the Conclusion of the report sums it up quite well.
quote:

After so many pages about the definition and measurement of poverty, perhaps the most appropriate way to close this paper is with a quotation from Mollie Orshansky: "Unlike some other calculations, those relating to poverty have no intrinsic value of their own. They exist only in order to help us make them disappear from the scene....With imagination, faith and hope, we might succeed in wiping out the scourge of poverty even if we don't agree on how to measure it."


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NC_Tigah
LSU Fan
Carolinas
Member since Sep 2003
59257 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
Your larger point is that poverty as calculated by the Census Bureau has nothing whatsoever to do with day-to-day needs.

The calculation used to deal with undernourishment, clothing, having a roof over head. Now it's simply based on std dev's off of mean social income.

To highlight this nonsense, if income of every individual in America was quadrupled tomorrow, poverty stats would remain unchanged, at least IAW CB calculations. Likewise, if every American was set at an equal $9K/yr income, poverty would be eliminated IAW Census Bureau methodology.

It is an unfortunately bogus calculation designed more at egalitarianism than at poverty identification.


Athanatos
Vanderbilt Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2010
6784 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
Using the phrase "for all we know" is dangerous. For all we know, if the money spent for welfare programs had instead been spent on infrastructure and development, those people who need SNAP now would have jobs that keep them above the poverty line anyway.


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bigblake
Member since Jun 2011
1347 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
(no message)
This post was edited on 10/10 at 10:18 am


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Taxing Authority
LSU Fan
Houston
Member since Feb 2010
25203 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
quote:

It is an unfortunately bogus calculation designed more at egalitarianism than at poverty identification.
Nice summary.


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thedogman
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Dec 2008
1563 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
quote:

SNAP keeps 4.4 million out of poverty, SS and Medicare keep approximately 30 million out of poverty.


Keeping people out of poverty and propping them up with a really cushy life are two different things. The system is grossly abused and instead of teaching their kids to go out and get work they are teaching them how to game the system and get what's "theirs". It should be very temporary assistance so that people can not make it a permanent way of life.


S.E.C. Crazy
Alabama Fan
Alabama
Member since Feb 2013
7905 posts

re: The Mismeasure of Poverty
If there wasn't all this BS welfare , these lazy azz people would get out and get a job & become productive citizens.



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