The U.S. Poor Are Not Rwandan Poor & Let’s Stop Pretending They Are

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This is a good thing but when will we say we have won the war on poverty?

The following list leaves out things like the home phone and smart phones we give away and pay the bills for.

The following are facts about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau as taken from various government reports:

  • 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. In 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
  • 92 percent of poor households have a microwave.
  • Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks.
  • Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite TV.
  • Two-thirds have at least one DVD player, and 70 percent have a VCR.
  • Half have a personal computer, and one in seven have two or more computers.
  • More than half of poor families with children have a video game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation.
  • 43 percent have Internet access.
  • One-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV.
  • One-fourth have a digital video recorder system, such as a TiVo. Read more: Heritage

Means tested welfare is able to more than able to handle the poor in America, but there is a danger of our becoming a welfare state. Under Obama, federal welfare spending increased from $522 billion to $1 trillion by 2014. If we could get the federal government out of the way and provide direct payments through state and local governments, the poor would live nicely because each poor person costs $250,000 with overhead included. Obama’s changes to the welfare system are mostly permanent.

Heritage:…In his first two years in office, President Barack Obama will increase annual federal welfare spending by one-third from $522 billion to $697 billion. The combined two-year increase will equal almost $263 billion ($88.2 bil­lion in FY 2009 plus $174.6 billion in FY 2010). After adjusting for inflation, this increase is two and a half times greater than any previous increase in federal welfare spending in U.S. history. As a share of the economy, annual fed­eral welfare spending will rise by roughly 1.2 percent of GDP.

Under President Obama, government will spend more on welfare in a single year than President George W. Bush spent on the war in Iraq during his entire presidency. According to the Congressional Research Service, the cost of the Iraq war through the end of the Bush Administration was around $622 billion. By contrast, annual federal and state means-tested welfare spending will reach $888 billion in FY 2010. Federal welfare spending alone will equal $697 billion in that year.

While campaigning for the presidency, Obama lamented that “the war in Iraq is costing each household about $100 per month.” Applying the same standard to means-tested welfare spending reveals that welfare will cost each household $560 per month in 2009 and $638 per month in 2010.

Most of Obama’s increases in welfare spending are permanent expansions of the welfare state, not temporary increases in response to the current recession. According to the long-term spending plans set forth in Obama’s FY 2010 budget, combined federal and state spending will not drop significantly after the recession ends. In fact, by 2014, welfare spending is likely to equal $1 trillion per year.

According to President Obama’s budget projections, federal and state welfare spending will total $10.3 trillion over the next 10 years (FY 2009 to FY 2018). This spending will equal $250,000 for each person currently living in poverty in the U.S., or $1 million for a poor family of four…Read more: Heritage, Fiscal Conservative Think Tank

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