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Hasn’t Anyone Told Bryce Covert This Yet?

That the people who write Salon, or Vox, might not be all and entirely up to date with reality isn’t that much of a surprise. After all, how much reality to you get to encounter living the nice Brooklyn Life?

But we would rather hope that those who write the New York Times have a slightly closer relationship with the truth than the arts graduates who can’t do art. Bryce Covert shows us that there are still things the NYT needs to know though:

I agree with her on one point: It is the American way to champion individualism over collective obligation. In 2019, 34 million Americans officially lived below the poverty line in this country, with many millions more struggling just above it — and that number has only increased since then. We could lift every family out of poverty by sending out regular checks; other countries use taxes to fund benefits that significantly reduce their poverty rates. Poverty, then, is a policy choice.

Near none of that is true.

The American poverty line is a description of who would be in poverty if it weren’t for the help that governments sends those could be poor. It isn’t a listing of those poor after the aid they get – it’s a listing of those who require aid given the standards in use.

This matters for the latter part of the paragraph. Near all other countries measure poverty after the effect of all the money, goods and services that government sends out to people who would be poor without it. The UK measure of poverty includes the effects of housing benefit, working tax credits, money for food and so on. The same is true of every other European poverty measurement. “X millions in poverty” is after the effects of poverty alleviation.

In the US this is not true. “Poverty” is a measure of those who would be in poverty if it weren’t for the aid. Or at least it’s very much closer to that. The US poverty measure, the official one, doesn’t include the effects of Section 8 – housing benefit – or the EITC – working tax credits – or food stamps – freebie food. Al of those benefits in Europe significantly reduce poverty. All those same things in the US also significantly reduce poverty. Except they’re just not counted when poverty is measured.

The US system does not count goods and services delivered in kind, nor any sort of aid through the tax system, as reducing poverty. Which is a pity, as their rent subsidies are in vouchers, not counted, their food ones in food stamps, not counted, their wage subsidies through the tax system as the EITC, – not counted. Then there’s the biggie, health care through Medicaid – not counted.

The US shuffles near a trillion dollars a year to the poor. And in doing so reduces the poverty count by pretty much nothing, on the basis that they don;t count the poverty thereby reduced.

Sure, we don;t expect the grievance studies majors at Salon to grasp this but we did, rather, expect the New York Times to. Didn’t we?

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Mohave Greenie
Mohave Greenie
1 month ago

When was the last case of starvation in this country that wasn’t abuse? The major health issue for the “poverty” stricken is obesity. I will fully agree that some may be too stupid to access the largesse, but I don’t think that is something that more government can fix.

Steven C Watson
Steven C Watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Mohave Greenie

The time was when obesity was strictly a problem of the aristocracy. It is a sign you are well off but stupid.

Spike
Spike
1 month ago

Tim is fighting the good fight in continually insisting we are measuring inaccurately. (Deliberately, in fact; like our measurement of Covid-19, it is calculated to prolong a crisis.) However, further to Mohave Greenie above, there is not only no remaining issue in an American getting enough to eat, there is no remaining issue in an American (or even a foreign invader) rising above the “poverty line,” least of all Institutional Racism. As the late Walter Williams noted, you just decide to finish school, hold a job, and defer children until you are married.

Spike
Spike
1 month ago

PS, quibble, the Brooklyn Life is no longer “nice”; it is the intersection of the martinet state governor most guilty of mass murder by policy while writing a laudatory autobiography about it, and the mayor who would much rather burnish his leftie bona fides than deliver municipal services.

I rewatched the second third of the Atlas Shrugged movie last evening, documenting the gathering collapse of civilization under collectivism; it did not just seem low-budget but overly nice compared to the nightly TV news out of New York City.

Barks
Barks
1 month ago

In urban America it is possible for a poor (of certain color particularly) single mother of two to live a modest, but completely ordinary, life without ever earning a single cent. Probably not possible in rural areas but the majority are in cities.

Spike
Spike
1 month ago
Reply to  Barks

Out here it’s not possible because (1) You need a car, which means maintaining a car, which means steady behavior, even arranging for someone to drive you home from the tavern; and (2) everyone expects you to earn your own keep, even if there are “programs” for you not to.

We tend to pay close attention to whether newcomers are here to play by the same rules we do, or to tell us we owe them something. This affects some people of a certain color, though it has nothing to do with color.

Melissa
Melissa
1 month ago

This is maddening because I wasn’t aware of it! I will make sure that every Conservative I know gets this information, thank you so much Tim!

Steven C Watson
Steven C Watson
1 month ago

Having watched the NYT’ descent into “woke” lunacy the last few years, no, I wouldn’t expect better of them.

John B
John B
1 month ago

If you have a leg chopped off and get an artificial leg, do you stop being a one-legged man?

People stop being poor when they no longer qualify to receive money taken by State coercion from the not-poor.

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