Skip to comments.Myths of $2-a-Day Poverty in America
Posted on 06/03/2019 9:46:27 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Over the past half-decade or so it’s become fashionable to claim that millions of Americans, including many families with kids, are mired in “extreme poverty” — they’re not just below the poverty line, and they’re not even in “deep poverty,” defined at half the poverty line; they’re making do on less than $2 per person per day, the kind of threshold we use to measure deprivation in the Third World.
I wrote last year about some research led by the American Enterprise Institute’s Bruce Meyer that devastates these claims — research that he and three coauthors have now expanded and updated. The bottom line is that the numbers we’ve been hearing are vastly overinflated, and shrink dramatically with better methods. Meyer’s biggest contribution is to match what people tell survey-takers with administrative data from tax and welfare agencies, to reveal that the allegedly “extremely poor” are often underreporting their income.
About 90 percent of the people who show up as “extremely poor” in surveys based on their cash income actually aren’t, “once we include in-kind transfers, replace survey reports of earnings and transfer receipt with administrative records, and account for the ownership of substantial assets.” (Though it’s worth noting that even the book $2 a Day conceded that the number fell by half with the inclusion of food stamps, with food-stamp receipt based on the surveys alone.)
Most of the misclassified households in fact aren’t below the poverty line at all; some of them are even middle-class.
Only about 0.1 percent of individuals live in extreme poverty. Overwhelmingly, extremely poor households are single individuals, not families with kids.
There are some limits to Meyer’s approach; most important, these surveys exclude the homeless (and even a survey that didn’t categorically exclude them would probably undercount them). Cutting in the opposite direction, just as there’s some income people don’t report to survey-takers, there’s some they don’t report to tax agencies. But these limits just reinforce the conclusion that you can’t rely on what people tell the government to generate good estimates of how many live on $2 a day.
By the way, I’ll take a little blame for the hype: My 2015 review of $2 a Day included quite a bit of skepticism but, in retrospect, was still overly credulous.
We have the richest poor people in the world.
I know life is not peachy for everyone. There are some sad stories out there. But apart from extraordinary bad luck, just about everyone who is “desperately poor” in America has just made a long series of poor life decisions. The problem isn’t with “society”. The problem is that some people just screw themselves over.
Over the past half-decade or .... millions of Americans, including many families with kids, are mired in extreme poverty
Johnson’s War on Poverty began back around 1964. Why is this an issue now since the problem was solved way back then.
We hadn't eaten that well before or since.
A TV station out west send a reporter undercover to panhandle and discovered that if you do it consistently every day you can clear $40K in a year, tax-free.
Yeah, nobody here is living on two bucks a day.
I’ll make sure no one damages your car while you’re in the store for $10
The ONLY thing that would make a child go hungry in the USA is irresponsible parents.
if a person worked minimum wage jobs for a couple of years, and became disabled, they get blow poverty disability checks- I believe the poverty line is around $14,000 per person- min amount disability is around $8000 per year- (however, one has to take into account that usually they also get medicaid/medicare with hardly any copay so that adds up per year if the person is sick and needs medical products or care- )
Illegals and a MAJORITY of legal immigrants (as high as 67% or so- the claim that we need ‘to do the work noone else will do” is a MYTH- almost 3/4’s of them go on welfare and never work) somehow get max welfare or disability, and get all the perks they can (ie housing, heating fuel, schooling etc etc etc) and get as much as $45,000 per year per person when everything is calculated together
“War on Poverty”
It was SUCH a shake-down and it’s been SO long ago... if an American minority person doesn’t have more money than me, a better job, a better education, a better car, a better home, better health care, etc., then he/she has been sleeping.
There is a little town on the border population around 1,600 that was used for years to drum up grants, sympathy. The average income shown for the town residents was $11,000 per household.
Turned out there was a group in that town were involved in smuggling firearms to Mexico and they were arrested. Since then stash houses for trafficking have been busted there. Drug trafficking operations being busted goes back decades.
Unreported income is the most likely explanation for the poverty designation in many cases I am sure.
Namely, if you do the honest thing and report anything (as I did), they will suspend your unemployment payments (even if what you reported was under the maximum) and force you to prove that said income didn't result in other income and/or a full time job.
You also have to have your source of the income confirm this and send in a completed form.
The author gives examples of people who are really down and out, are having a very difficult time. The people have very little job skills, little or no education, have no family support, or else hostile and harmful family, and are not members of a church or any group for that matter that could provide a helping hand.
The author of the book does a bit of sleight of hand, though. She describes these people as living under $2 a day poverty. She arrives at the $2 a day figure by not acknowledging the govt. assistance that is received: SNAP food assistance, Section 8 housing vouchers, Medicaid health insurance, EIC cash tax refunds.
In my opinion the people described would best be helped by a stronger economy that has more entry level employment opportunity.
Also, existing taxpayer funded institutions shouldn't be allowed to continue to degrade. I am thinking of public libraries, public schools, and adult education programs. These institutions serve all of the public, and can be very helpful to someone trying to get out of poverty.
Well said. Plus I think there are a subset of people out there are that just bound and determined to fail, and fail badly! It’s almost like they want to to be able to say “Oh woe is me!”
Brother Dave said, “Don’t take poverty away from
poor folks. Good lord, man it’s all they have.”
“Poor” people typically spend $400 per month or more on cigarettes and lottery tickets.
They count declared income only. The person who has an income of $2 a day and gets benefits totaling $40,000 is listed as having an income of $2 a day. Food stamps, rent subsidies, free phones, don’t count. The person is still called “poor.”
The person with a salary of $45,000 is listed as having an income of $45,000. Federal and state taxes take 20,000, but he is listed as having an income of $45,000. So, he has less money than the lazy slob, but gets free everything.
And some people are pretty damn unlucky.
When My 2nd Wife was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast cancer and getting Chemo We applied for Food Stamps.
The commiedemonratscumbagsocialist worker looked over Our application, looked at Us and said to My Wife Youre not on Chemo because You still have hair. My Wifes left hand kept Me from getting up from the chair as Her right hand pulled off Her wig to reveal Her baldness.
That commiedemonratscumbagsocialistbitch was really close to a smack upside the head, in fact that commiedemonratscumbagsocialistbitch is VERY LUCKY !!!
I would have gone to jail and that commiedemonratscumbagsocialistbitch would have been either in the Hospital or dead.
We only got $18.00 a month because of no Children under 18 and We were the wrong color/bloodline...
My wife's grandfather was born in Puerto Rico and my 2nd great grandfather was Sioux, making said bloodlines insufficient for tribal enrollment purposes but adequate for avoiding wearing the government mandated yellow star.
Yep. That is exactly how the game works.
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