They're Poor Because They Don't Have Enough Money
As everyone here probably knows, the Census Bureau just released it's annual report on poverty. Well, a philosopher(?) from George Washington University, Charles Karelis, thinks he knows why: "[After] doing lots of reading and giving it extensive thought, Karelis concluded that the reason some people are perpetually poor is that they don't have enough money." (Washington Post, Wednesday, August 29, 2007; Page D01)
The point is not to be self-obvious, but to look at the culture of poverty, in that, when one is poor, he thinks that what little he could save could not lift him out of poverty. So he does not bother to save at all.
Of course, the tales of poor people who have struck it rich in the lottery or in sports . Sure, they're anecdotes. This article has many sources on studies of lottery winners. According to one article listed there, about one-third of lottery winners go bankrupt. (I assume, of course, they're talking about the honkin' big lotteries, not the Pick Three.)
Well, I can't say I think much of Prof. Karelis' theory, but I'm willing to be one of the test subjects!
To tell the truth, the real reason we never get the poverty rate down is that we keep changing the definition! Here's an article from the National Review (thank you for the link, Leader Levin) that discusses the new poverty report. These are a few of the salient points of the article:
1) 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
2) 46 percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
3) The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe.
4) 89 percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.
This is poor?
A former co-worker of mine (a legal immigrant, I might add) was most insistent that we do not have poverty in America. He has a point, too. He's from Sri Lanka. 41.6% of the people there live on less than $2 per day. 25% live below the national poverty line. He knows poverty.
Jesus was right, the poor will always be with us, because no matter how rich they get, we just keep raising the bar and calling them "poor."
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: They're Poor Because They Don't Have Enough Money.
TrackBack URL for this entry: