December 29, 2003

Poverty Redux

Every now and then the Atlanta Urinal and Constipation prints an op-ed that I would love to fisk, but doesn't put it on their online site so I can cut and paste. Normally, I can find it somewhere elso on the web, but not this time. The op-ed is by Holly Sklar and, of course, it talks about how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. A quick Google of Holly Sklar shows that she thinks the minimum wage should be raised to $8 an hour. Why $8? Let's just make it $20 an hour and totally wipe out poverty.

Anyway, I could not find this op-ed anywhere on the net, but I will hit a few high (low?) points.

The general tone of the op-ed is what a crime it is that the Forbes 400 richest Americans had so much money and the poor didn't. According to her the Census Bureau's poverty count of 35 million people is actually a lowball count.

Forbes 400 combined wealth rose 10 percent over the past year

I guess I must be doing sumpin' right because my wealth rose 12 percent over the past year. Which brings me to a Doonesbury cartoon in Monday's AJC. Joanie is bemoaning the fact that her portfolio declined 20 percent (Mine rose 11%) over the past year. She better fire her financial advisor, since one would have really had to work hard to lose money in the stock market in the past 11 months. But Joanie is a liberal so that could explain part of it.

Now just why do you suppose that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer? Maybe it's because the rich do things to make them rich. My sister and I came from the lower middle class, yet both of us have done very well. How did that happen? In my case, I never lived beyond my means and no matter how much I made, I always paid myself first.

An example of not living beyond my means. I have owned 10 cars in my life. Only 4 of those cars were new. The rest were used.

As for paying myself first, I currently put 14% of my TCIDNN salary into a 401K. I have accumulated many investments over time, and all the money I get from them gets reinvested. Of course I get richer. I started saving at an early age and maintained the discipline to keep saving and investing.

I remember a few years back, one of my co-workers was complaining how another co-worker seemed to have more money that he did. I took him through the following exercise.

1. How much do you spend on cigarettes? The other co-worker didn't smoke.
2. How much do you spend buying coffee in the cafeteria? The other co-worker brought a thermos of coffee.
3. How much do you spend on lunch in the cafeteria every day? The other co-worker brought his lunch.

The difference was over $200 per month.

The poor are far more likely to smoke than the rich. Smoking is expensive. I sure am glad I quit smoking. I don't think I could afford it now. And the poor like to buy lottery tickets. I love the lottery. It's a tax on the stupid.

But back to Holly.

The poverty thresholds for 2002 $8,628 for a person 65 and older, $9,359 for a person under 65, $12,400 for an adult and child, $14,480 for a couple and a child, and $18,244 for a couple with two children.

$9,359 works out to about $4.68 per hour. That's below minimum wage.

$12,400 works out to $6.20 an hour. If you can't do any better that that, why are you having children?

$14,480 works out to $7.24 per hour. This couple could both work at McDonalds flipping burgers and make more than that. If they're too stupid to make more, they shouldn't be having children.

$18,244 works out to $9.12 per hour. Likewise if they cannot make more money that that, why are they having children?

I realize that some people can fall on hard times such as a catastrophic accident or a prolonged illness. That is what welfare was designed for. But we have third and fourth generation welfare recipients. It has become a lifestyle. The Great fucking Society has bred a permanent underclass dependent upon gummint handouts.

The poverty rate hit its best mark way back in 1973. The 2002 poverty rate of 12.1 percent was 9 percent higher than 1973's. The 2002 child poverty rate was 19 percent higher than its lowest point in 1969.

Those are telling numbers. They show that the War on Poverty, after throwing trillions of dollars at poverty only made it worse. It also shows that the breakup of the family, which began at that time, also has contributed to the child poverty rate. There used to be a stigma attached to out of wedlock birth. But now that we have decided to be non-judgemental, illegitimacy has gone way up (over 60% for blacks) and with it the rise in child poverty. What more proof do we need that liberal social welfare policies have been catatrophic to the people they tried to help?

As I said, I grew up poor. My father was an alcoholic and was often out of work. This was before food stamps and welfare. My mother worked a variety of jobs and kept us clothed and fed. Both my sister and I started working at an early age. She put herself through college on a scholarship. I flunked out of college and went into the Navy to learn electronics and get money for college. Yes, I have been lucky that I never got laid off, but I always seemed to be in the enviable postion over the last ten years of being the only person who could perform some particular job or program.

I know I sound heartless when I say this, but the vast majority of the poor in this country are poor because they do things that make them poor. They drop out of school. They have children at an early age. They have children out of wedlock. They have children thay cannot afford. Hmmm. Is it any wonder that the largest group of poor in this country are children? Poor people should not be having children. How hard is it to understand that when people cannot even support themselves, they should not be bringing children into this world?

It is hard to believe that we are the richest nation in the world, but at the same time have so many poor people. Unfortunately, the gummint only made the problem worse. I'm sorry Holly, raising the minimum wage to $8 an hour is not gonna solve poverty in this country. The only real solution is fixing the real cause of poverty: the behavioral habits of the poor.

That's not gonna happen as long as we have liberals making excuses for those behavioral habits.

Posted by denny at December 29, 2003 08:39 PM