An interesting read about the poor in the US

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http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/09/13/3365248/conservative-think-tank-says-most.html
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says: "Without specifying exact information sources, The Heritage Foundation said a senior researcher reviewed government reports and found these results"
If they can't (or won't) specify their sources, they're not much in the way of real researchers. About what I would expect from a partisan think tank. Clearly they don't want anyone *else* looking at their alleged data and drawing different conclusions.
Let's play a game: *My* research shows that the Heritage Foundations is dedicated to fomenting class warfare and its conclusions are reached before the alleged research is done. Of course, like them, I can't *show* you the actual details of my research. Just take my word for it because I once worked for a think tank, too. Or better yet, my unnamed sources report that this is a deliberate propaganda campaign designed to advance conservative interests. See how easy it is to play BS researcher/reporter? Sheesh. Regrettably, some people will believe anything that appears in print without asking a single tough question.
FWIW, the Heritage Foundation is hardly an unbiased source for "news" of this nature:
<<Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution-a think tank-whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.>>
If a researcher refuses to reveal source data or methodology and doesn't even bother to submit their work for peer review then you can pretty much assume the data's been cooked with an agenda in mind. The Heritage Foundation has been cooking data to order for their wealthy patrons since they day they crawled out of the ground:
http://www.slate.com/id/2122093 /
<<Sex and Significance - How the Heritage Foundation cooked the books on virginity . . . It's an argument about math, not sex. And mathematically, the Heritage paper comes up short . . . That adolescents who took virginity pledges might be less likely to report STD symptoms is a possibility Rector and Johnson don't seem to consider; but they should. When it comes to sex, people often lie. Urine samples don't.>>
Heritage often takes straightforward facts and jumbles them up so their "unusual" conclusions *seem* to be supported by the facts. Closer analysis almost always finds huge flaws in their claims which is probably why they haven't said precisely how they got their results. They've been embarrassed too many times before by other pointing out their numerous flawed assumptions.
http://firedoglake.com/2011/07/18/heritage-foundation-widespread-xbox-ownership-debunks-myth-of-american-poverty /
Has some wonderful comments about Heritage's bullshit science:
"The idea that someone who probably never is, was or will be poor is a leading national authority always makes me giggle."
"looking at what kind of appliances people have is not the best way to figure out who is poor."
"Yes, having an Xbox is the same as having a trust fund or an offshore tax shelter."
"The well to do, take from these propaganda pieces the belief that poverty is something that people bring upon themselves and the rich are rich by virtue of their sound judgement."
"To be worthy of charity you must be . . . in such plight as to move a sociopath to pity, which would not apply to someone who has electricity and a TV, or who has eaten in the last week."
"Air conditioner, tv, xbox are all a one time expense, under $100 or $200. Rent, mortgage, food are relentless and recurring and often rising in cost when wages have dropped, disappeared, or gone stagnant."
"How dare the poor take advantage of decades old innovations that can be bought at second-hand retailers for nearly nothing! It is shameful that they would dare to try taking advantage of technologies the rest of us take for granted and couldn't imagine living without. Obviously the only "true" poor are living in tents and cooking road-kill over an open fire."
"I honestly think Congress ought to be required to subsist on median income for their district. It'd give them an incentive to improve the plight of people on the bottom. I know it will never happen but still I wish some of them could be required to run the gauntlet that someone who grows up poor does for at least a year. Learn how it feels to scrounge for change in your car to pay a co pay for a kid with an ear infection and dread having to take a whole day off without pay to care for them."
"Has the Heritage Foundation found a some way to prepare an X-Box for dinner? No. Prices for computers and video games are at record lows because of the economic crash. You cannot eat computers/video games."
"The difference between the poor and the middle class has everything to do with security-freedom from destitution. Not whether or not you can buy a $50 Xbox, $100 TV, and $20 microwave. Cheap crap has little or no bearing on what constitutes income security."
"We all have an obligation to the society because we all benefit from it."
"People are seeing right through the whole poor people have too much thing. Particularly when they know that trillions went to people who then paid themselves million dollar bonuses and are now whining about being taxed on it."
"getting tax rates back to where they were in say the 1970's or even under Reagan isn't "taxing the rich to death." There were plenty of rich folks in those decades as well. And they didn't die due to high tax rates. Whereas 45,000 Americans ACTUALLY DIE from a lack of health care every year"
"if we tax the rich then they'll leave for other countries. Well, I wish we would so they'd leave already. They've made an utter mess here and it's impossible to clean up while they're still here making a mess"
"West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the Union. And yet, judging by the amount of natural resource wealth in that state in the form of coal, it should be one of the richest. How did this end result happen?"
""game consoles", which could be anything from the original pong to the latest xbox"
======================================================== No data + no methodology = Zero credibility. These guys give *real* think tanks like the nation's FFRDC's (Federally Funded Research and Development Centers) a bad name.
http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/ffrdclist /
Sadly, the same is true of a number of liberal "stink tanks." Get some wealthy donors to ante up a stake, cull together a bunch of academics or academic wannabees for sale and give them a title of "research fellow." Make the particularly odious data distorters "senior fellows."
Do I think that every bit of welfare paid out, corporate or social, needs to be regularly scrutinized for cheats? Yes. The Republican proposed solution of cutting the federal workforce is only going to make cheating even more widespread.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/31/business/where-pay-for-chief-executives-t ops-the-company-tax-burden.html>
<<At least 25 top United States companies paid more to their chief executives in 2010 than they did to the federal government in taxes, according to a study released on Wednesday . . . The report found, however, that many of the nation's largest and highly profitable companies paid far less than the statutory rate. Verizon, which earned $11.9 billion in pretax United States profits, received a federal tax refund of $705 million. The company's chairman, Ivan Seidenberg, meanwhile, received $18.1 million in compensation. The online retailer eBay reported pretax profits of $848 million and received a $113 million federal refund. John Donahoe, eBay's chief executive, collected a compensation package worth $12.4 million, the study said. >>
If true, there is something *really* wrong with this picture.
However, the Institute for Policy Studies is a progressive "stink tank" so they, too, have an obvious agenda that calls into question their impartiality and truthfulness.
http://www.ips-dc.org/blog/ivan_seidenberg_-_corporate_tax_dodger
I'm guessing that it's far easier to verify IPS's claims than those of the Heritage folks, but I am not inclined to trust either of them just because they are clearly partisan. IPS didn't report Seidenberg's title correctly and the NY Times caught a mistake in their math. To their credit, they apparently did hand over the data for those errors to be found, so I tend to trust them slightly more than Heritage. But only slightly.
A true think tank should be free of "leanings" one way or another.
-- Bobby G.
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Robert Green wrote:

http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/09/13/3365248/conservative-think-tank-says-most.html
Had you read the report itself with a bit of diligence you would have found references to the following source material:
US Dept of Commerce, "American Housing Survey for the United States" US Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, "Housing Characteristics" United Nations Center for Human Settlements "The Housing Indicators Program" US Dept of Energy, "Housing Statistics in the European Union" USDA Economic Research Service, "Household Food Security in the US" US Bureau of the Census, "Current Population Survey" USDA "Food and Nutrient Intakes by Individuals in the United States" Bulletin of the World Health Organization, "Worldwide Magnitude of Protien-Energy Malnutrition" US Bureau of the Census, "Survey of Income and Program Participation"
But, I understand that when attacking the message is inconvenient, attacking the messenger is all that's left.
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wrote in message news:LVVbq.3531

Kudos, sir. I took it as truth when I noticed that so many credible agencies took part. Also, it was noted, but not stated in this article that a percentage near 50% owned their own homes.
Steve
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Not only is he attacking the messenger, but I can't help but laugh at the silly comments he posted"
"The idea that someone who probably never is, was or will be poor is a leading national authority always makes me giggle."
So apparently unless you're a researcher who happens to be poor, your findings are meaningless. Makes sense. We should immediately dismiss research on cancer too, unless the researcher has cancer.
"looking at what kind of appliances people have is not the best way to figure out who is poor."
Maybe not the best way, nor did anyone say that it was. But it is one way to look at what people who are living in poverty have so it can be compared to what people living in say India in poverty have.
"Yes, having an Xbox is the same as having a trust fund or an offshore tax shelter."
Another strawman.
"The well to do, take from these propaganda pieces the belief that poverty is something that people bring upon themselves and the rich are rich by virtue of their sound judgement."
In most cases poverty is something that people bring on by themselves. Examples being dropping out of school in the 10th grade, getting pregnant at 16, etc. There are definitely a significant number who wind up there through no fault of their own, but IMO, it's the minority. And the group is not static. You can lift yourself out of poverty in most cases if you choose to do so.
"To be worthy of charity you must be . . . in such plight as to move a sociopath to pity, which would not apply to someone who has electricity and a TV, or who has eaten in the last week."
"Air conditioner, tv, xbox are all a one time expense, under $100 or $200. Rent, mortgage, food are relentless and recurring and often rising in cost when wages have dropped, disappeared, or gone stagnant."
They may be a one time expense, but they do define your standard of living.
"How dare the poor take advantage of decades old innovations that can be bought at second-hand retailers for nearly nothing! It is shameful that they would dare to try taking advantage of technologies the rest of us take for granted and couldn't imagine living without. Obviously the only "true" poor are living in tents and cooking road-kill over an open fire."
No one said any such thing.
"I honestly think Congress ought to be required to subsist on median income for their district. It'd give them an incentive to improve the plight of people on the bottom. I know it will never happen but still I wish some of them could be required to run the gauntlet that someone who grows up poor does for at least a year. Learn how it feels to scrounge for change in your car to pay a co pay for a kid with an ear infection and dread having to take a whole day off without pay to care for them."
No one forced them to have kids that they could not support. The result is we all pay for their irresponsibility.
"Has the Heritage Foundation found a some way to prepare an X-Box for dinner? No. Prices for computers and video games are at record lows because of the economic crash. You cannot eat computers/video games."
No, but if they had not spent the $200 on an X-Box, they could have used it for food. Also, an X-Box isn't a one time expense either. You do typically continue to buy games for it and they aren't cheap either. Think a person in poverty in India has one?
"The difference between the poor and the middle class has everything to do with security-freedom from destitution. Not whether or not you can buy a $50 Xbox, $100 TV, and $20 microwave. Cheap crap has little or no bearing on what constitutes income security."
I'd say the difference between the poor and the middle class, in most cases is that the middle class graduated at least high school, worked hard and did not have 6 kids they couldn't support.
"We all have an obligation to the society because we all benefit from it."
What benefit did I get from the trillions that have been spent on the war on poverty? And why 4 decades later is the poverty rate exactly the same despite all the programs we have now that we did not have in the 60's that were supposed to greatly reduce poverty?
"People are seeing right through the whole poor people have too much thing. Particularly when they know that trillions went to people who then paid themselves million dollar bonuses and are now whining about being taxed on it."
I don't see anyone claiming the poor have too much. All the research did was show what in fact they do have. As for trillions that went to million dollar bonuses, you must be talking about Obama's solar energy handouts. So far, we know trillions in govt loans went to companies that made large donations to Obama and the Dems. I can't wait to see what the FBI figures out with Solyndra, which got $500mil and about a year later they are bankrupt. Should be an interesting campaign topic.
"getting tax rates back to where they were in say the 1970's or even under Reagan isn't "taxing the rich to death." There were plenty of rich folks in those decades as well. And they didn't die due to high tax rates. Whereas 45,000 Americans ACTUALLY DIE from a lack of health care every year"
Good to see you want income tax rates reduced to 28%, which is what the top rate was under Reagan.
"if we tax the rich then they'll leave for other countries. Well, I wish we would so they'd leave already. They've made an utter mess here and it's impossible to clean up while they're still here making a mess"
Typical. Who do you think creates jobs?
"West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the Union. And yet, judging by the amount of natural resource wealth in that state in the form of coal, it should be one of the richest. How did this end result happen?"
Maybe because the poor folks don't own the mines? But certainly those mines have given a lot of decent paying jobs that support a lifestyle well above the poverty line.
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I am confused. If the Federal government, as so many conservatives claim, is inept, untrustworthy and coerced by Marxists, why trust a single word of any report they put out? Do they only become credible when they seem to support a conclusion you agree with?
Why haven't the Feds fumbled the data upon which this research is allegedly based the way they supposedly make a mess of everything else?
Are you even sure that what Heritage *says* these reports reveal is what they really what's in the reports? Lots of links in the chain, each one needs to be investigated thoroughly. The Heritage folks seem to think that a quarter of a million Americans being homeless is no big thing. I don't.
As I trace through the report's footnotes, I find a disturbing number of references to previous works by the authors of the current report. So far, lots of pointers to reports, but not much in the way of how that information was extracted, "massaged" or how reliable it is. Surveying the poor is tricky business. They are often afraid that the wrong answers to questions will hurt them in some way - and quite often, they are correct. Reaching the homeless and those poor enough not have a telephone is always very tricky to account for properly. Without their methodology, their conclusions are doubtful.
-- Bobby G.
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wrote:

The US has a totally different definition of "poor" than the rest of the world.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Yep, and they will always be with us because the definition is the "lowest quintile".
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wrote in message news:LVVbq.3531

http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/09/13/3365248/conservative-think-tank-says-most.html
http://firedoglake.com/2011/07/18/heritage-foundation-widespread-xbox-ownership-debunks-myth-of-american-poverty /
Everyone, even the perfect liberals, have their own agenda.
Steve
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On 9/13/2011 11:17 PM, Steve B wrote:

http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/09/13/3365248/conservative-think-tank-says-most.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eDaSvRO9xA&feature=related
<
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eDaSvRO9xA&feature=related

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On Tue, 13 Sep 2011 21:17:56 -0700, "Steve B"

What's the point of this article? Poor people have a couple thousand dollars of possessions, counting cars. Maybe less, depending on whether they scrounge well. They can come up with 50 bucks a month to get cable TV. So what? I'd guess they have to pay their electric and gas bills too. Do they have insurance for their cars? House insurance if they have one? Medical insurance, or do they go to the E-room? How many are "working poor?"
I always figure it's their toys - especially cable TV - that keeps poor people in the U.S. from *really* realizing they are poor. Keeps them just busy enough not to dwell on the fact they are poor. The poor of other cultures handle it their own way, not needing "material" goods to entertain them. Irish, Poles and Russians socialize and drink a lot. Much more alcoholism I think. Not sure though. My wife is originally from Poland and I hear about alcoholics all the time.
But these are all mechanisms to keep the poor from rioting or turning to crime because of their condition. If it ever got to where the poor couldn't afford cable TV, the government and Wall Street would provide them free cable. Maintain the status quo.
I don't even know any poor people. Steve just mentioned somebody who is poor and was looking for a place to live. Wonder is she has an Xbox.
--Vic
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wrote:

You don't have to go there. Watch it on cable TV! Those people in Bolivia might be happy. Doubt that's true in Somalia. Poorest place I ever went to was Bizerte, Tunisia, back in '64. Still donkeys all over, no cars. After that, the "farm" in the Ozarks near Doniphan, Missouri where my ma grew up. Poor is all relative anyway. I think I could easily survive being poor. Until I died. Worst thing about being poor is you have to be around poor people.
--Vic
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<stuff snipped>
This hubbub reminds me of how the Communists in 1939(?) banned the overtly socialist film "The Grapes of Wrath" starring Henry Fonda (a must see for history buffs). While it hewed more closely to Lenin than Lincoln, the film depicted the "Okies" - the Joad Family - and their eviction by the bank from their family farm and tragic trek westward. It showed all the evils of Capitalism and the heroic struggle of the farmer. It showed the government "saving" them in the end. So why was it banned? Because it showed the Joads moving westward in a broken down, overloaded, ballooned tired jalopy. The Russians rejected it because the test audience started muttering: "In America, even poor have cars!"
The accumulation by purchase, charity, dumpster diving, etc. of a class of equipment whose value depends so much on its unspecified manufacture date isn't a poverty indicator. We don't know that, we don't know the veracity of the self-reported data and we don't know what data they analyzed and by what methodologies. This is pure, tasty propaganda with a side of baloney. National expert? Uh-huh.
It bothers me too much not to have the film date correct.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath_(film)
says:
<<In a film review written for Time magazine by its editor Whittaker Chambers, an outspoken opponent of communism, he separated his views of Steinbeck's novel from Ford's film, which he liked. Chambers wrote, "But people who go to pictures for the sake of seeing pictures will see a great one. For The Grapes of Wrath is possibly the best picture ever made from a so-so book . . . It is the saga of an authentic U.S. farming family who lose their land. They wander, they suffer, but they endure. They are never quite defeated, and their survival is itself a triumph."
The film premiered in New York City on January 24, 1940, and Los Angeles on January 27, 1940. The wide release date in the United States was March 15, 1940.>>
One year off. Maybe it was the book that came out in 1939 or it was made in 1939. I got it for 99 cents at the local CD/DVD exchange.
-- Bobby G.
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checkout
http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/13/news/economy/poverty_rate_income /
I think there might be some ways to avoid poverty based on the data in this article.
cheers Bob
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wrote:

I pay $14 a month for basic cable. Fortunately my local government mandated as part of the franchise agreement to keep a low-end pricing tier available. So without specifying what they're paying, it could be $14, it could be $150. We just don't know even though it has bearing on the issue. Digging into the report, I cannot find any information about the values of these "outrageous for the poor to possess" possessions.

Only because insurers have turned the state governments into their collection agencies.

I worked with secretaries that worked very hard for 1/5 of the salary I made and 1/10 the salary the VP's got. I know the working poor and have personally helped them when I can. When my secretary went to nightschool, I finagled TPTB to allow her study group to meet in our building and chaperoned them to help her in her quest to better herself.
She and others on staff like her were so poor and so constantly in need of money that they couldn't afford to match the pension fund contributions the company would make because they needed every penny in the here and now. They left free (future) money on the table because the needs of the present were so pressing.
The bosses moved the company to a very ritzy neighborhood without good public transportation access making the commute doubly hard for the poorer employees.

Thanks the Romans for this societal control measure. Back then it was bread and circuses. Now it's food stamps and cable TV. Same principle, though.

Say cscecz for me. One of my first GF's was a Pole from Bayonne NJ with a huge friendly family that all exhibited a constant thankfulness that they had made it to America and a better life. The Poles have taken quite a beating in the last 100 years. Cscecz is about all I remember. I think it means hello but it could mean how are you.

An unfortunate part of this is that drug sales peak dramatically when welfare and SSA checks arrive. More bread and circuses, really, because a heroin user ain't gonna riot when he's high. I wonder: when the people who want to end all this get what they want, are they really going to be happy with what they get?

Bread and circuses came about after a number of food riots from famines which spilled over into the wealthy neighborhoods. It's lasted because it works.

Her private parts are NOT relevant! (-:
-- Bobby G.
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On Thu, 15 Sep 2011 07:38:46 -0400, "Robert Green"

The $15 a month service here (really more like $30 with taxes and fees) pretty much gives you what you can get with a coat hanger, Local broadcast channels.
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I'm in a valley between Balto. and DC so when I had analog rabbit ears, I could detect any and all air traffic but got really lousy reception otherwise. )-: I barely see anything with HDTV - only one station comes in and that pixelates often.
On the other hand, with basic cable I get things like CSpan, WGN, two university channels with 24 hour educational programming and a clear, ghost free signal on the channels I couldn't get short of a roof antenna and a rotor. I used to get a lot more, but Comcast has been steadily dropping analog channels. Things will change when Comcast abandons its analog transmission but I've hung on with analog because I believe they'll have to provide me with a free converter if they want to switch to all digital sooner than the FCC allows. (-: We'll see.
That may be the time I repair my roof mounted aerial and switch to OTA HDTV completely. The issue now is that my "home" CATV network is still almost all analog. We have HDTV's in the LR and BR connected to DVD players for Netflix. News, network TV and the rest of it go to the analog network and an assortment of 13" to 25" analog color TVs.
I've found I can pay an awful lot for premium cable and STILL find times where there's nothing on I want to watch. My friends with 500 some odd channels on his system says the same thing.
-- Bobby G.
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his song about 57 channels and nothing on. I thought "How quaint."
--
People thought cybersex was a safe alternative,
until patients started presenting with sexually
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Whenever there's nothing on the CATV there's always something going on here in Alt.Home.Repair. The Cuomo-initiated slaughter of Usenet actually backed AHR down to a manageable message count. When I first got here, there was just too much information to keep up unless you treated it as a full time job.
-- Bobby G.
*BRUCE, DANIEL D. Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Headquarters and Service Company, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Fire Support Base Tomahawk, Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, 1 March 1969. Born: 18 May 1950, Michigan City, Ind. An enemy explosive charge was thrown toward his position and he reacted instantly, catching the device. Pfc. Bruce held the device to his body and attempted to carry it from the vicinity of the entrenched marines. The charge detonated and he absorbed the full force of the explosion saving.the lives of 3 of his fellow marines.
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On Thu, 15 Sep 2011 07:38:46 -0400, "Robert Green"

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-09-11/uninsured-drivers/50363390/1
According to this the uninsured rate is almost equal to the "poverty rate." When I renew my plates here in Illinois the online screen wants your insurer, policy number and expiration date. I have no idea if they cross-reference that with the insurer files real time. Doubt it. You can see plenty of work-arounds there. The biggest risk to having no insurance is an accident or a traffic stop with no insurance card. I had a state cop cut me loose on an expired plate when I told him I just forgot to put the sticker on the plate. But he cited me for no insurance card when I couldn't find it. The damn thing was hidden, stuck to another card in my wallet. Dismissed at traffic court, but that trip was unnecessary.
--Vic
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