Thursday, June 24, 2010

Milton Friedman Was Right (Again)

"Who is poor in America? This is a hard question to answer, and the Obama administration would make it harder. ... Except for recessions, when the poverty rate can rise to 15 percent, it's stayed in a narrow range for decades. ... But the apparent lack of progress is misleading for two reasons. First, it ignores immigration. Many immigrants are poor and low skilled. ... From 1989 to 2007, about three quarters of the increase in the poverty population occurred among Hispanics--mostly immigrants, their children and grandchildren. ... Poverty 'experts' don't dwell on immigration, because it implies that more restrictive policies might reduce US poverty. Second, the poor's material well-being has improved. ... Suppose that all Americans doubled their income tomorrow, and suppose that their spending on food, clothing, housing, and utilities also doubles. That would seem to signify less poverty--but not by the new poverty measure. ... The new indicator is a 'propaganda device' to promote income redistribution by showing that poverty is stubborn or increasing, says the Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector. He has a point. ... To paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: the adminstration is defining poverty up. ... Government statistics should strive for political neutrality. This one fails", my emphasis, Robert Samuelson at Newsweek, 7 June 2010, link:

This is old news. Without poor people what would our poverty warriors do? See my 4 June 2010 post:


Anonymous said...

The American poor have a lot compared to the "real poor" in third world nations... we consume so much...

Obesity is the number one health problem among the poor... chew on that!

Ubu said...

I never minded being poor so much, as my needs were simply recalculated accordingly: use the library instead of buying books, ride my bike for errands, cheap haircut, goodwill clothes, dollar menu, carry a flask, etc. It's really easy to be poor in America. But other poor people, now that's hell; nothing made me want to strive and earn like having to live with the poor.