Friday, September 11, 2009

Solved the Problem

Robert Rector of National Review Online has solved the problem of poverty by putting sarcastiquotes around the word "poor".

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau will release its annual poverty report. The report is expected to show an increase in poverty in 2008 due to the onset of the recession. It is no surprise that poverty goes up in a recession. What is surprising is that every year for nearly three decades, in good economic times and bad, Census has reported more than 30 million Americans living in poverty.

What does it mean to be “poor” in America? For the average reader, the word poverty implies significant physical hardship — for example, the lack of a warm, adequate home, nutritious food, or reasonable clothing for one’s children. By that measure, very few of the 30 million plus individuals defined as “living in poverty” by the government are actually poor. Real hardship does occur, but it is limited in scope and severity.

Well, sure, if you redefine "poor"*, hardly anyone is poor. I'm not homeless, so I'm not poor. I'll keep that in mind while I wear the same, faded clothes I've been wearing for years, while I freeze this winter because I can't afford to turn the heat above 60, and while I walk past the produce section salivating over all the fresh fruits and vegetables I can't ever afford to buy. Asshat.

Let's see why I'm not poor:

Various government reports contain the following facts about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau:

Nearly 40 percent of all poor households actu­ally own their own homes. On average, this is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio. A porch? That is untold wealth previous generations only dreamed of! First of all, so what? Rector's never heard of Habitat for Humanity or inheritance**? I suppose he's also not considered all the people who were doing well at one point, but aren't anymore. Not to mention all the places where you can get a house for $80,000 or less. As for 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths- again, so what? Most houses have 3 bedrooms and at least 1.5 baths these days. Very few people want less than that.

Eighty-four percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning. Air conditioning? Wow! So do I. I never turn it on, because I can't afford to, but I do have an air conditioner downstairs. Check out the link, btw, that first air conditioner is $69.

Nearly two-thirds of the poor have cable or satellite TV. Poor people shouldn't be allowed to watch TV. The joys of House and Lost are only for the rich. Seriously.

Only 6 percent of poor households are over­crowded; two-thirds have more than two rooms per person. two rooms? i suppose by that logic, i get four rooms if you're counting the dining room, the living room and the laundry room.

The typical poor American has as much or more living space than the average individual living in most European countries. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.) has he noticed that most European countries are smaller than the state of Pennsylvania? We gots the space here in the US, we uses it.

Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars. a car, not a mercedes, you spleenweasel. I used to own a car, a 1983 Camaro. It didn't work more often than it did, and it was useless in the snow. I had no idea how rich I was. Beyond that, outside of New York City, can you imagine trying to get by without a car? I don't have to, I do it. Let me tell you, not easy.

Ninety-eight percent of poor households have a color television; two-thirds own two or more color televisions. a color television? that would be impressive- in 1967. I can get a color television, with built in DVD player, for less than $100.

Eighty-two percent own microwave ovens less than $50; 67 percent have a DVD player $35 dollars; 73 percent have a VCR $14.99; 47 percent have a computer $115.

There you have it, I could buy my way out of poverty by selling my microwave, my computer and cancelling Dish Network. Yeah.


*Two can play this game!

**Which would be why I own my home.


  1. Glenn Bek tried to make that same argument in his ode to stupidity about how poor people aren't actually poor (forget what the book is called, too lazy to look it up). He turned that color television in to a brand-new, big screen LCD model, though.

    I just can't believe the inherent stupidity. "If you can afford a TV, you're not poor!" Really? Really? What if I can afford, say, a TV, but not health insurance? Does that mean I'm not poor? Or does that mean that I'm stupid? Because those seem to be the options in their world.

    I don't understand it. The completely lack of empathy is disgusting.

  2. Oh if I could just reach through my computer and smack that ass! I own my home thanks to Habitat for Humanity. I have two TV's (shocking!) and cable TV and a microwave. That doesn't mean I'm not poor. A lot of what I have I get through thrift shops or second hand. I give up things so my daughter can have stuff.
    Get with it asshat.

  3. It is just demonizing so that you will feel better when you stiff them. If one can convince themselves that the person they are hurting is actually the bad guy, then anything they themselves do is justified.

    Also not just New York, you can get around Chicago without a car easily. Tell her, Geds.

  4. I have no car, which is fun because I'm getting evicted. Getting rid of one of the two partially-working secondhand TVs in he process is a given.

    See, though, whether I'm getting it from unemployment or from Safeway Inc., $270 a week is too much money for me to count as one of those poor people they use the sarcasticquotes on. I don't even qualify for food stamps.

  5. Oh, sorry I got off topic! Chicago is yes, very easy to not own a car in. As long as you live and work within the city limits, don't ever need to visit anyone further away than Elgin, and don't mind carrying huge bags of groceries and laundry on long, bumpy bus rides squeezed in next to booze-soaked old men and young mothers with screaming children. All of which are true for me and Dave, so it's all gravy.

  6. What about owning a Sony Walkman, does that make me Elite?

  7. lets see..
    i own a car, i "bought" it back when i was work at QWEST full time making $1632 an hour, while not having a lot in the way of bills (i was still living with sis and family, and my 1/3 of everything was about $500 a month.) it is now "old", and if something happens to it[knock on wood] i will be totally screwed because i am not allowed to work. it is totally paid for.
    Pete owns a car, it is the car he inherited from his mother when she died.

    i own a color TV, it is almost 20 years old, and was given to me by my dad because he got a new TV.
    Pete owns a color TV that he inherited from his DAD when HE died, along with a DVD player
    i own a DVD player, that was given to me by a friend for my BDay, because she had a *huge* discount thru her job, so it cost her $13 to buy me the DVDplayer (and our limit is normally $10 gifts. so she really did splurge, there)
    i HAD a TiVO, one of my dad's, since he owns like 6. i recently gave it back because at this new apt we don't have a landline (they aren't worth getting, because we have REALLY REALLY CHEAP cell-phones - my bill is $20 a month)

    we both have cell phones, and while they are nifty cell phones, they are ones we got for "free" for signing 2-year contracts.

    i own a laptop computer, and it was a SCHOLARSHIP.
    Pete owns a desktop, that while it is very awesome, he built himself and it cost him MAYBE $50, spread out over time - most of the parts were given to him as gifts (for his BDay and Giftmas that year, he made a list of everything he needed - no single item cost more than $30, most were less, and lots of people either bought a specific item or bought him gift cards to computer stores so he could buy them himself)

    i own a window unit AC, and it is fucking medically NECESSARY. it cost me $85, except it was bought by a charity org, and i slowly paid them back.
    i own a microwave, it cost $60, and i SAVED for that.
    i own a dishwasher, 4th hand, that i am still pay for it ($100, we pay him as much as we can every month)

    and... lets see, i have a TV stand and an etarge (however its spelled) and 8 books shelves and media shelf. the expensive things were the TV the etarge and the media shelf. the first 2 came as a set, $100 bucks (on clearance) and i saved up for them for 6 months, eating ramen noodles for large chunks of time to do so. the Media shelf is HUGE, and cost $200, i saved up and paid for half, and Pete paid the other half, since it was his XMas present that year.
    the bookshelves - all but two of them are old shelves i got from other people. the ones *I* bought, i bought during extreme sales, and got the almost-to-the-ceiling 5 shelf shelves at $20 each. and i had saved for those, too.

    every other piece of furniture was either given to us when someone got new, or was a gift.

    and trust, I AM POOR.
    and owning a TV and having cable (and just cable is like ten bucks a month - and internet access is becoming almost a necessity for many people - me, for instance, i HAVE to have it for school) doesn't mean that one can afford other things, like new clothes or good food or medical care. and getting rid of the TV and the cable STILL isn't going to allow people to afford those things - they will just be even more miserable.

  8. erm - i missed a "." way up there - i wasn't making sixteen hundred plus dollars and hour, i was making sixtenn dollars and thirty two cents and hour - it should have read "$16.32"



Comments are for you guys, not for me. Say what you will. Don't feel compelled to stay on topic, I enjoy it when comments enter Tangentville or veer off into Non Sequitur Town. Just keep it polite, okay?

I am attempting to use blogger's new comment spam feature. If you don't immediately see your comment, it is being held in spam, I will get it out next time I check the filter. Unless you are Dennis Markuze, in which case you're never seeing your comment.

Creative Commons License
Forever in Hell by Personal Failure is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at