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Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:27 AM

4 Bogus Right-Wing Theories About Poverty, and the Real Reason Americans Can’t Make Ends Meet

http://www.alternet.org/hard-times-usa/4-bogus-right-wing-theories-about-poverty-and-real-reason-americans-cant-make-ends

***SNIP

1. But the poor have color TVs.

Consider the boilerplate conservative column about how many wondrous household appliances the average low-income household owns. Back in the 1930s, this argument goes, poor people didn't have running water, but now they have color TVs, so life is good.

***SNIP

2. The poor have lots of room to enjoy poverty.

A similar argument holds that in the United States, poor people have more living space, on average, than low-income households in other developed nations. As the Wall Street Journal was eager to point out, “The average living space for poor American households is 1,200 square feet. In Europe, the average space for all households, not just the poor, is 1,000 square feet.”

***SNIP

3. The poor are actually rolling in money.

A new and equally distorted argument entered the conservative discourse just recently. It holds that poor families receive $168 per day in government benefits – more than the median weekly income in this country. If that were true, low-income households in the United States would enjoy quite comfortable living standards.

***SNIP


4. It’s just how they are.

And then there are the ever-popular cultural explanations for poverty. This is a storyline based on confusing correlation with causation – a rookie mistake in any introductory college class.

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Reply 4 Bogus Right-Wing Theories About Poverty, and the Real Reason Americans Can’t Make Ends Meet (Original post)
xchrom Feb 2013 OP
Freddie Feb 2013 #1
Victor_c3 Feb 2013 #4
shcrane71 Feb 2013 #10
meow2u3 Feb 2013 #6
siouxsiecreamcheese Feb 2013 #21
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #28
bhikkhu Feb 2013 #22
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #29
Laelth Feb 2013 #34
sendero Feb 2013 #31
treestar Feb 2013 #18
datasuspect Feb 2013 #2
Freddie Feb 2013 #3
UTUSN Feb 2013 #5
unc70 Feb 2013 #23
UTUSN Feb 2013 #24
meow2u3 Feb 2013 #7
Laelth Feb 2013 #36
LineReply .
Lurker Deluxe Feb 2013 #8
Man on the Right Feb 2013 #12
bluesbassman Feb 2013 #13
Man on the Right Feb 2013 #19
SmileyRose Feb 2013 #9
riderinthestorm Feb 2013 #15
Occulus Feb 2013 #27
BlueJazz Feb 2013 #11
WillyT Feb 2013 #14
Lydia Leftcoast Feb 2013 #16
kdmorris Feb 2013 #35
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #37
treestar Feb 2013 #17
HughBeaumont Feb 2013 #20
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #26
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #25
JHB Feb 2013 #32
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #33
Notafraidtoo Feb 2013 #30
JHB Feb 2013 #38
Orrex Feb 2013 #39
xchrom Feb 2013 #40

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:34 AM

1. "Poor people have TVs, cell phones, etc"

That one makes me furious. Perhaps they got these things in better times? Especially the cell phone; try getting a job without a phone, especially as many people no longer have landlines!

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Response to Freddie (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 08:07 AM

4. This isn't really related to your post, but the cell phone thing always gets me

I always notice that the people around me who make the least have the nicest cell phones. However, I think that goes right along with people in the ghettos driving Cadillacs. They want so bad to not appear poor that they run themselves into more "real" poverty by spending more of semi-frivolous things like over-the-top cell phones, cars, nail salons, etc.

Who wants to send their kids to school with a cheap pair of shoes and cheap jeans so that they get made fun of for being poor? If I was a low income parent, I'd do anything I could to keep my kids (or myself) from appearing poor and getting made fun of. Being poor is an embarrassment and poor people are looked down very harshly upon. If you are poor and working a poor person's job, you are a failure in our society.

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 05:00 PM

10. If you don't have a computer, you use your cellphone for Internet connectivity.

It's too expensive to have both a cellphone and a computer.

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Response to Freddie (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 11:00 AM

6. This right-wing theory is a half-truth at best

If the poor have color TVs, it's because they're hand-me-down sets, either given to them or freebies. If they have cell phones, they're the prepaid, no-contract variety with minimum-rate plans, often hand-me-down phones.

The lie is when the right tries to say the poor have NEW cell phones and/or TV sets.

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 08:32 PM

21. The thing that gets me the most about the poor having a tv thing

is that non-poor people don't think that a poor person should have one. What I mean by that is, god forbid a poor person actually has a tv, a computer, an x box, etc. Poor people don't have the funds to go on vacations and mini trips to unwind and relax. Poor people work their asses off and when they get home, this is how they unwind and relax. What the rich want to see are "real" poor people living in a shack with no electricity, no fun, and working working working. Because, their poor, why should they have any luxury?

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Response to siouxsiecreamcheese (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 04:45 AM

28. people living in slums and favelas have tvs.

 










TVs are easy.

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 08:45 PM

22. That's what I was going to reply to a post above

having cellphones and computers and so forth doesn't mean anything, they're practically disposable objects in our current society. They have nothing to do with wealth. Who hasn't seen the stacks of "obsolete" computers and monitors at the recycling stations? Once they're three or four years old there's practically no market, its time to find someplace to donate them to, or someone who needs one. And its about the same with phones, and even cars. In my family, where some of my older aunts are well enough off, as are my parents, its common for things to get passed around, and down to the younger generation that's trying to keep on its feet.

That someone has something decent isn't by any means a sign of wealth; wealth is having a decent job that pays the bills. That's what most people want and deserve, and have the hardest time finding. Anyone can get a damn phone, but you have to be pretty fortunate to get a decent job.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #22)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 04:47 AM

29. +1

 

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #22)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 10:03 AM

34. Well said. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 05:57 AM

31. The should just say..

..."the poor have TVs" because monochrome sets have not been manufactured for decades.

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Response to Freddie (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 06:17 PM

18. Yes.

The thing they really want is a status symbol of their superiority. They can't stand it - if the poor have cell phones, then their cell phone does not mean they are ahead of the Joneses! It makes them mad they can't have something someone else doesn't have.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)


Response to datasuspect (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:53 AM

3. Agreed, it's an insult to your worth as a human being

That you can work full time and not be able to support yourself, let alone a family.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 10:21 AM

5. R#9 & K for, this is on the way to the local radio wingnut talkshow host.

I call him Peeper because he's constantly talking about seeing cartloads of the best cuts of meats, that HE can't afford, being paid for with food stamps or, if empty carts, loads of CASH in change from tiny redemptions. He even snapped a picture of somebody in the checkout line and was jumped on by the store employees. Not to mention the luxury vehicles his targets drive off in.

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Response to UTUSN (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 10:48 PM

23. The cash back claim is widespread

I have tried to debunk this multiple times recently. I have been surprised that this claim is believed by so many people who are not usually susceptible to RW memes, people who should know better.

Even when I explain that what they probably saw was change back from whatever way had been used to pay for the non-food items. I use the example of milk and TP. Even with my explanation, they are still unwilling to believe they hadn't witnessed fraud allowed by bureaucratic negligence.

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Response to unc70 (Reply #23)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 12:14 AM

24. Thanks for this info, I'll lay it on the local yokel wingnuts. n/t

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 11:02 AM

7. The biggest lie is that poor people are lazy and refuse to work

The truth is that most poor people work full time and don't make enough money to rise above the poverty level because the rich are too damn cheap to pay them what they're really worth.

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 10:11 AM

36. +1. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 11:19 AM

8. .

I think that these are crazy points that get made by people about how poor people in the US have this or that.

However, there are alot of ways the "working poor" are relieved from the little spending money they do have. And alot of those ways do include cell phones and color tvs.

The lack of good credit for whatever reason leads some people to get involved with payday loans, rent to own outfits, and monthly "no term" contracts which all sell products that are outrageously overpriced.

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Response to Lurker Deluxe (Reply #8)


Response to Man on the Right (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 05:52 PM

13. Well some would argue that living wages, affordable access to competent health care,

and the elimination of predatory banking practices would go a long way to allowing people to climb out of the "poor house" too. What are your views on those issues?

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Response to bluesbassman (Reply #13)


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 11:31 AM

9. My tracfone was $12 on sale and costs $79 a year and is my only phone.

Can't get land line service that cheap.

The extravagance at my house is cable and internet. $54 a month for both but sales of my homemade things on the internet cover that plus a little left over to help with the budget.

Whining about phone and internet in poorer households is the kind of stooopid that burns.

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Response to SmileyRose (Reply #9)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 06:02 PM

15. My local Goodwill is FILLED with .99 cent enormous working teevees

Yup. 99 cents.

They aren't flat panels or HD or the LATEST technology but they are easily 40, 50 and 60 inches for .99.

I believe that there's a purposeful and willful attempt by that segment of the population who want to manufacture an outrage du jour about the poor akin to the "Cadillac welfare queens".

They are disgusting lies.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #15)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 03:28 AM

27. I bet those are old rear-projection TVs

They sure as hell aren't CRTs. In any case, bigger isn't always better. Old rear-projection TVs are absolutely worthless.

There's a reason nobody wants them: they suck, for any purpose, including watching TV. And the lamp, in some cases plural. Some of them could be damaged by an Xbox or a playstation. Forget about hooking it up to your PC. Scanlines, flickering, poor viewing angle...

Burn them all. Leave us only with pictures.

In a word, yuck.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 05:14 PM

11. Everybody with even half-a-brain knows that real wages have declined for a few decades.

The Rich have taken a part of the "Life" that WAS the poor and middle-class.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 06:01 PM

14. K & R !!! - Thank You For That !!!




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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 06:12 PM

16. The other one goes something like this: "95% of the poor in America have refrigerators and 80% have

air conditioning, I can't even afford air conditioning!"

Uh, most urban and suburban poor live in apartments. I don't know about other states, but in Minnesota, landlords are required to provide stoves and refrigerators. Furthermore, the air conditioners that the poor have are mostly old window-installed clunkers, again, provided by the landlord instead of by the tenant.

DVD players? Yeah, $29 at Target. They didn't buy theirs when DVDs were brand new and the players cost hundreds of dollars.

Shopping carts piled high with steak bought on food stamps? Hello, Right Wing Idiot, if you really saw someone doing that, are you aware that even if someone blows their whole monthly allotment on steak, they can't run to the welfare office and say, "I need more"? They get so much per month, and that's IT. It may be poor budgeting to buy steak on food stamps, but from the taxpayer's point of view, it makes no difference whether the food stamp recipient eats filet mignon or beans and rice.

I keep challenging right wingers to trade places with a poor person if they think it's such a cushy way of life.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #16)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 10:09 AM

35. Wish I could rec your post, too! n/t

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:13 AM

37. Just a bunch of "lucky duckies"

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 06:14 PM

17. Amazing the lengths they will go to

In order to justify people living in squalor. Just so they can hog more. Greedy assholes.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 08:12 PM

20. America - The Only Place Where the Well-To-Do and Wealthy are Jealous of the Poor.

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Response to HughBeaumont (Reply #20)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 02:51 AM

26. but they never wanna change places...they just bitch.

 

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 02:50 AM

25. $168 a day = $61K a year. I'd be interested in the rationale on that. (I'm sure there is one,

 

but I bet it's something like putting a dollar value on medicaid, or adding social security to the 'poor' category. i can't see how housing assistance, food stamps and welfare could add up to $61K/person.)

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #25)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 08:03 AM

32. Ask and ye shall receive...

A four-page article by the same author as the article linked in the OP, from December, addresses how the Heritage Foundation gooses the numbers for their narrative.

The first problem with this claim is mathematical rather than ideological. The story is that we spend $168 per day for each family in poverty. But the eligibility cut-offs for most of the 80 or so programs identified by Senate Republicans are higher than the poverty line; in many cases, significantly higher.

Given that there are around 600 different eligibility requirements for these programs, most determined by the states, it's difficult to calculate an average without a staff. But in Colorado, which I chose because it tends to be ideologically middle-of-the-road, the average eligibility cut-off for the 10 means-tested federal benefits listed here is $18,075, or 62 percent above the federal poverty line.

The myth can be expressed mathematically like this: Total Spending On “Welfare”/Families in poverty = $168 per day. But these services benefit many more people than those struggling under the poverty line – one may as well divide those costs by the total number of rabbits or blue cars in the U.S.

The reality, expressed mathematically, is: Total Spending On “Welfare”/Those who receive benefits = $24.77 per day. That's a lot less than $168.
http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-astounding-new-right-wing-lie-about-economy-born

Note how it was used: HF puts out a report, which conservative congressmen and media then wave around as proving their view, even though it's pretty easy to show their figures are misleading. All that really matters to them is the headline, because that's the only part Washington will notice. Follow-up is for what one Bush staffer famously called "the reality-based community".

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Response to JHB (Reply #32)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 08:25 AM

33. thanks. americorps = welfare, now i know.

 

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 04:59 AM

30. Republicans don't think rationally

My Conservative boss is like this he makes 450k a year after taxes most avoided i am sure and complains about air conditioning in his house being too expensive so much so he rather sweat and suffer then be cool and comfortable.

TV's and cell phones cost nothing these days you can earn enough doing a paper route in a week to pay for them, really no logic claiming this some how means you are not poor.

Republicans seem in general to be really bad at math so much so they rather guess to fit the world view they want then do the work and see when their math doesn't add up, this intellectual laziness is why stuff like this is so effective to keep our wages falling.

If any republicans are reading this and work for someone else they tell you these things cause they want you to readily accept lower wages and make you work more hours...your rubes! Conservative think tanks study your stupidity and your intellectual laziness to find dog whistles like these to make you accept less. take 5 mins to think please hell 15 seconds its not hard to figure out how stupid and illogical it is!

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Response to Notafraidtoo (Reply #30)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:14 AM

38. Not so much bad at math as obsessing ver the wrong things...

I've likened it to a shopkeeper fixated on kids pilfering candy from in front of the register while ignoring that by far most of his losses are from his relative in the stockroom letting high-ticket items walk out the back door (for a kickback).

In one of the3 articles about Romney during the campaign, one of them noted that he (legally) bilked the FDIC for $10 million. (Van't look it up right now, I think it was how he handled negotiations over debt for the original Bain & Company, not his spin-off equity firm).

That was sometime in the early 1990s. I managed to find numbers (for Massachusetts) for welfare (forget the exact program) + food stamps for a single mother with 2 kids. Romney put the taxpayers on the hook for the equivalent of 1420 of these single-mom families.

The grandest "welfare queen" in creation could not hit that number, and that's one guy with one deal, and not even one of the biggest. Throw on the S&L crisis, the Bush meltdown and bailout, gouging defense contractors, drug companies and the Medicare Part D doughnut hole, and on and on... naaah! let's get mad because somebody with a food stamp card also has enough cash to buy some beer! If they have enough to buy beer why am I paying for their food? Hey, who picked my pocket? It's that dirty beer guy, I just know it!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:51 AM

39. I've read all of those arguments made by DUers at various times

Sad but true. Hatred and denigration of the poor is hardly exclusive to the Right wing.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #39)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:58 AM

40. +1

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