Nathan R. Jessup

Poor America

In America, communism, Obama, Opinion, Socialism on March 10, 2010 at 10:31 pm

(National Review-Obama’s New ‘Poverty’ Measurement)

(By Joanne Galloway)

According to this article, the term “poor” means never having less than two television sets.

Sighs. In an ever-mounting pile of evidence that Barack Obama is a Socialist hell bent on redistributing the wealth, here is yet one more travesty to the American taxpayer.

According to this article, the current government definition of “poor” in this country isn’t really “poor” by any other standard on the globe.

…the typical American defined as poor (according to the traditional, pre-Obama poverty measure) has two color televisions, cable or satellite service, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He also has a car, air conditioning, a refrig­erator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry, and he had suf­ficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs.

Under the Obama Administration, this definition is going to change:

Under the new measure, a family will be judged “poor” if its income falls below a certain specified income threshold. Nothing new there, but, unlike the current poverty standards, the new income thresholds will have a built-in escalator clause: They will rise automatically in direct proportion to any rise in the living standards of the average American.

The current poverty measure counts absolute purchasing power — how much steak and potatoes you can buy. The new measure will count comparative purchasing power — how much steak and potatoes you can buy relative to other people. As the nation becomes wealthier, the poverty standards will increase in proportion. In other words, Obama will employ a statistical trick to ensure that “the poor will always be with you,” no matter how much better off they get in absolute terms.

I think that’s pretty darn scary.  As one who’s made the choice to work two jobs at once to insure paying my own way, I suppose I was considered poor as well.

I once qualified for WIC (Women Infants and Children), for food stamps (370$/month) , HUD benefits, free healthcare and a utilities stipend.  My household was making about $35,000 per year when I qualified for this.  How do I know?  I found all this out when I had my first child.  My husband had lost his job which carried our medical benefits.  When I went for my 6 month maternity checkup, the staff was so courteous, telling me not to worry – if we didn’t have coverage it would all be paid for.  And it was.  100% of it.  What I didn’t realize, is that when this happens to you, the hospital case workers automatically register you for all that free stuff I mentioned earlier.  I was mortified.  I’d had a high risk pregnancy, and had no preconceived notion that we’d go suddenly from a two income professional family, to a one income poor family – one which was offered welfare.  We declined.

When my first born was five weeks old, I took a job as a server in a restaurant – this way, I could work when my husband was home, and vice versa – eliminating day care costs.  We rented a meager two bedroom house in a suburb or a major city.  We had one car, one TV with DISH Network (a luxury available to us since Dish was what my husband was peddling at the time for his job) But we had no stove in this house.  It wasn’t rented with one – so we cooked on hot plates and electric plug in skillets.  We paid all our own bills, but often had to pay electric one month, then gas the next month, etc.  Finally, when my first born was one, I took a job in my profession – a nine to fiver – but kept my position at the restaurant on nights and weekends.  My husband got a better paying job, and “re-upped” with the Army Reserve to keep us generating as much income as we could muster.  Within 3 years, we worked our way back to a better life, nicer home (with a stove *big plus*), and were able to pay our bills on time, and in full.

What the heck is my point?

I guess it is this – I EARNED my way through, it wasn’t handed to me. (minus the hospital fees for which I am eternally grateful.  I believe our hospital situation was how welfare was intended to be used, and not a long-term abuse of use)

You see, I believe in this great country, that we have the right to the PURSUIT of happiness, not the GUARANTEE that happiness will be handed to you on a platter.  I think it is my responsibility, and each of our obligations – to us as individuals and to our fellow citizens to make our own ways in this world.  My neighbors didn’t make me have a child when I did.  It isn’t my fellow citizens job to give me what I won’t provide for myself.  It wasn’t their choice to pick up the hospital tab either – but technically speaking, they did.

Welfare may be necessary in some instances, and I think it is terrific that we have a safety net – but I think that’s ALL it should be.  You shouldn’t be jumping into the net deliberately; it should only be there to catch you when and if you should fall.  And if you are in the net, you need to climb to the edge, and get back out – get back on your feet – and take your turn holding it taught.  Right now, our net is full of bodies, and many aren’t moving.

The article goes on to explain:

In honest English, the new system will measure income inequality, not poverty. Why not just call it an “inequality” index? Answer: because the American voter is unwilling to support massive welfare increases, soaring deficits, and tax increases to equalize incomes. However, if the goal of income leveling is camouflaged as a desperate struggle against poverty, hunger, and dire deprivation, then the political prospects improve. The new measure is a public-relations Trojan horse, smuggling in a “spread the wealth” agenda under the ruse of fighting real material privation — a condition that is rare in our society.

For the first time, the government is planning to define poverty as a problem that can never be solved by the American dream: a general rise of incomes of all Americans across society over time. By definition, poverty can now be solved only by the dream of the Left: massive taxes on the upper and middle classes and redistribution to the less affluent. In effect, the Obama poverty measure sets a new national goal of class warfare and income redistribution.

And that’s key – For the first time poverty will be defined, as a problem that can never be solved by the American Dream and THAT is exactly my point.

What makes this country the greatest possible place to live in the world is that right now – YOU – have the opportunity to make as much wealth as you can muster – starting a business; getting a great job and working your way to better ones; innovating industries; invention of products… well, the list is eternal – right now.

Freedom is the solution to our human condition.  Freedom gives you self confidence, a sense of self worth and pride – pride in what you accomplish, what you produce, what you create.  And a pride in the country that allows you the opportunity to fail or excel based on your own initiative.

And that initiative, that drive is what separates a free nation from a socialist one.  It is not the government’s role to GIVE you what you want – it is YOUR job to find a way to make it happen for you.  Our initiative, our drive and our desire to be the best is what has generated ALL our wealth as a nation in a little over 200 years.

I suppose that’s what separates Mr. Obama from me – I leave your life up to you.  You PURSUE what you will and to reap the benefits of all your own successes.  Mr. Obama would prefer to tell you what you get to have – stealing it directly from the coffers of the successful.

Freedom or Socialism.  Which one will you choose?


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