“Poor” American Have Xbox And Air Conditioning

To look at the raw statistics you’d think that a majority of Americans were living in abject poverty. The problem, though, is what your definition of poverty is. Here in America, “poor” doesn’t mean what it used to.

Data from the Department of Energy and other agencies show that the average poor family, as defined by Census officials:

● Lives in a home that is in good repair, not crowded, and equipped with air conditioning, clothes washer and dryer, and cable or satellite TV service.

● Prepares meals in a kitchen with a refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave as well as oven and stove.

● Enjoys two color TVs, a DVD player, VCR and — if children are there — an Xbox, PlayStation, or other video game system.

● Had enough money in the past year to meet essential needs, including adequate food and medical care.

America has become so affluent that our definition of “poor” is relative. At no other time in the history of the world has being “poor” meant having so much. Which isn’t to say that there isn’t true poverty and suffering in America, there is, only to say that our government’s metric for measuring it is all but worthless.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • $8194357

    And in alot of cases no need donating old clothes either..If it doesn’t say Nike or Jorden on it alot of them won’t wear it….

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bikebubba

    If one judges by the amount of stuff in the house, I guess my family qualifies as “very poor” because we don’t have cable or satellite TV or an Xbox.   We might even qualify as “crowded.”

    Oh well.

  • SigFan

    We have skewed the definition of poor, just as we have the definition of rich.  The so-called poor in this country enjoy a standard of living far above average in many other countries, including some that are considered westernized and industrialized.  To be sure, there are some who truly meet the definition of poor or below poverty level, but few stay there for long and those that do, if through no fault of their own or lack of trying to get ahead should get some temporary assistance to get them started.  Likewise, someone earning $250K a year is far from “rich”.  Comfortably well off maybe, but not rich to anyone other than the wealth envy crowd.

  • DopeyDem

    So the War on Poverty is over. Let’s stop spending the money for it.

    • 914

      We cant stop. Barry is the bestest ever at fighting wars. That’s why he is creating so much of it. Poverty that is. To show us all that affirmative action has some genuine accomplishments.

      Just look at Labia for instance. No collateral damage and all expenses will be paid when…? Well, sometime somewhere by someone.

      • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bikebubba

        Labia?  You mean “Libya”, ya?

        • DopeyDem

          I’d rather look at Labia than Libya myself.

          • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bikebubba

            Yeah, but if you drop bombs on ‘em, you are one sick puppy.

          • Jamermorrow

            Labia can be expensive.

          • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bikebubba

            Just ask Eldrick, eh?  I think he’d be in even more trouble if he’d dropped bombs there, though.

  • borborygmi

    wealth and poor are relative.    My son went to a meeting for Students and Gov’t or some such.  Most of the other students are from well to do families,  he thought we were alright because he never wanted for anything (kmart or target clothing goes a long way )yet when he was talking to others making a lot more then we do, they felt that they were just well off since others were from families that were better off ,materially, then what my son thought were rich.   

    • robert108

      Thanks for revealing what lefties mean when they say “rich”.

      • borborygmi

        What , rich is relative?

        • robert108

          You didn’t know that?

          • borborygmi

            That is what I said at the beginning Rich or Poor is relative.

  • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

    Leave it to an idiot like Rob to be so up front about making his desires known that he would post a story indicating that he prefer our poor be worse off than they are today.

    This is the exact reason why they want to destroy unions and the middle class.  They want the disparity between rich and poor to be so great that the average America will submit to low pay and benefits so that the corporations and small business owners can profit better.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Leave it to an idiot like Rob to be so up front about making his desires known that he would post a story indicating that he prefer our poor be worse off than they are today. 

      Care to point out where I express anything even remotely close to that?

      • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

        Your post is stating the the poor in America are not “poor” because they have an Xbox and air conditioning.  That’s completely effing stupid.  By your logic the only way people could actually be poor is to not have air conditioning or an Xbox.

        For a person to be with out air conditioning would take them straight to poverty.  Maybe you just have the two terms confused, because you are an idiot?  Who knows for sure, but it’s clear that the only way America’s poor can earn that title with you is if they are clearly re-classified from poor to living in poverty.

        Poor people have air conditioning, electricity and by gosh, you idiot, some of them even have a refrigerator.  What would you take away from them Rob, besides their air conditioning and Xbox?

        Clearly your intent is to lower the standards of living for Americans as to reshape the definition of a fair wage. This is why conservatives have a war on the middle class and the unions. You don’t want the poor to have an xbox or a fvcking air conditioner.

        • http://enigma-cypher.blogspot.com/ Enigma_Cypher

          “or a fvcking air conditioner.”

          It’s spelled “fucking” larry. You can’t even spell curse words properly. Pathetic.  

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

             You keep missing the boat and stay focused on those issues EC, it’s about all you can handle….well, that and misquoting Adolf Hitler. 

            Hell, son, you can’t even make associations with liberals and Hitler correctly.  Godwin’s law fail, small timer.

          • http://enigma-cypher.blogspot.com/ Enigma_Cypher

            Who’s talking about Hitler? Not everything is about the Nazis, larry.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Aw cmon EC, you know you pulled a Godwin and claimed that Liberals think like Hitler in regards to state’s sovereignty.  You included a “quote” from Hitler, albeit completely hacked up (but not noted as being hacked) and edited.

            You were dishonest about Liberals believing such idiocy and you were more dishonest hacking up a quote from Hitler and changing the context.

            Yeah, that’s what you do.

          • http://enigma-cypher.blogspot.com/ Enigma_Cypher

            Whatever helps you pushover Hawaiians sleep at night.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Are you denying you didn’t post a hacked up Hitler quote and claim it’s how liberals thought and think?

          • http://enigma-cypher.blogspot.com/ Enigma_Cypher

            Now now larry. I already told you that I wasn’t going to discuss my blog with you. You need to put down the surf board and pay attention. I know that’s hard for Hawaiians, but maybe you’ll improve.

          • A Citizen

            He’s not Hawaiian, he’s not even a natural born American.

          • http://enigma-cypher.blogspot.com/ Enigma_Cypher

            Is that a fact?

          • A Citizen

            According to him.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            You are as bad of a stalker as Poofy, but you have half the brain he does.  At least that coked up stalker gets half of the things he says correct, you are batting 100, at best.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Of course it’s not a fact, look at your source, what would he know about a fact?  He’s not even loyal to this country, his loyalty is to Israel first. I doubt he’s an American.

            My family not only was here in the continental U.S. before the Europeans, but the European side of my heritage came here before the immigrants invented the idea “manifest destiny”.  Do the math.

          • A Citizen

            “He’s not even loyal to this country, his loyalty is to Israel first. I doubt he’s an American.”

            Says the cheerleader for Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood.
            Once again you prove yourself a liar with no credibility. Good boy.

            Which border did Len and Yolanda drag you across?

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Yes, of course you used a butchered Hitler quote to make an idiotic argument to attack liberals.  That’s your speed, slow, very slow.

        • Skeeter

          Even people who lack air conditioning and xbox aren’t necessarily poor.  Many times in life I have been flat broke financially.  But I have never been poor.  I have known people of very limited financial resources who I would never consider poor.  And I have seen poor people who drive a cadillac.  Poor suggests a certain discontent and desperation that allow the  person to consider themselves a victim.

    • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bikebubba

      You can always recognize someone unable or unwilling to make a real argument by how he begins his comment by insulting another person, and then proceeds to mischaracterize his opponent’s argument.  Or you can simply see the name “Hannitized” at the top.

  • Jamermorrow

    Over time people should prosper and the definition of wealth should change. Wages adjusted for inflation are lower now than ever. Remember families used to be large and have only the father working. Now we have two parents working and live pay check to pay check. People have little savings and are deeply in debt. We have more stuff because it has become cheaper to make due to increases in productivity. How many people can retire comfortably now days? We have been living above our means for a long time.

    • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bikebubba

      James, some wages are lower than they were in the 1970s, but if you think they’re lower than ever, check out anything by Horatio Alger.  Even compensated for inflation, Ragged Dick was on starvation wages. 

      Or, for that matter, look at wage rates from the Depression era.  Not pretty, to put it mildly.

  • Neiman

    They are basic Constitutional rights!

  • badlands4

    My grandfather grew up in the hollers of West Virginia. He was poor with as much emphasis as you can put on that word. His parents were remarkable people because they sacrificed(and I mean, going without meals so they had money to feed the kids) so their children did not have to drop out of school and start working and contributing to the family at a very young age. The Depression didn’t put a dent in their life, because they were already as poor as one could be. Ironically it was WWII that got my grandfather out of the holler and allowed him to start a path to what he always considered “wealthy” but we now consider it middle class.

    Our definition of poor has changed as we all started living above our means.

    I lived in a country that had a solid middle class, and even a wealthy class, but much of the country lived in abject poverty….living in cardboard boxes in the village alleys poverty. Children begging on the street to “watch your car abi” for a couple of bucks. Not for spending money, but for money that makes the difference between hunger and a  quasi full belly.

    There are very few places in this country that could fall into that category.

    Pointing out a fact doesn’t mean you want to “squash” the little guy.

  • WOOF

    As middle class families slide into poverty, they bring their meager possessions with them.

    • LastBestHope

      That is a true statement. Now tell us WHY the middle class is sliding into poverty.

      • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bikebubba

        That, and tell us why exactly a spacious home with air conditioning, a well equipped kitchen, cable TV, video games, American medical care, and a car outside qualifies as “meager possessions.”  The fact of the matter here is that most of the people in the world would love to have possessions so “meager.”

    • robert108

      It’s all part of obama’s plan to destroy America; step one is putting us into permanent recession and devaluing the dollar, which makes everyone slide into poverty.  His commie redistribution takes care of the achievers.  It’s all about forcing equal outcomes.

      • LastBestHope

        no hints…let WOOF think through his observation about the middle class.

        • robert108

          It’s like a wink and a nod to a blind man.

      • borborygmi

        Sweet anything you have that I want.  Tell me when and I will be over to claim it.

    • colnzgprnts

      Wow! Spoken like a true liberal. No matter that 98% of Americans enjoy a better lifestyle than most people around the world, always see the middle class as shrinking.

      The point of the article is that government measuring methods increasingly raise the floor level of what qualifies as poverty and for that reason more and more people meet the definition of poverty.
      The fluid definition creates an factoid that the middle class is squeezed. It follows that this fictitious metric supports the politician that demagogues the economy and calls for bigger government to solve the non-existent problem/

      • Jamermorrow

        I would say that our standard of living has been falling compared to other parts of the world. We used to by far have the highest standard of living. We are now like 8th on the list. The decline of the dollar has made us drastically poorer relative to other countries.

        • colnzgprnts

          I would disagree with you that our ‘economic’ standard of living is falling; I would agree that in terms of personal freedom, our standard of living is falling. I would very much agree that in terms of morals adn decency our standard of living is the lowest and in biblical terms our standard of living is approaching a new low for modern man.

          Our problem is not that the dollar is shrinking; the shrinking dollar is but a symtom of the problem. Americans have become accustomed to living beyond our means, we borrow huge sums of money in our personal lives and our government has entered into a mortgage on this nation’s future that extends outward for at least two generations. This is called ‘greed’ and it is a fundamental part of our society’s voracious appetite for material things.

           

    • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

      Not only that, but this report does not indicate where those possessions came from?  I purchased an Xbox for my nephews, so imagine if they were “poor”?  That would sure skew the data, wouldn’t it?

      Why does asshat Rob think poor people shouldn’t have a refrigerator, stove or air conditioning?  That’s crazy talk.

      Rob blurred the lines between people who are “poor” and people who live in “poverty”, they are different words with different meanings for a reason, obviously a reason too complex for Rob to understand.

      • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bikebubba

        Of course, if you knew that your nephews were poor, lacking basic necessities, and proceeded to buy them an Xbox instead of getting them their basic needs, you would definitely qualify as a cruel sonofab*tch.

        For that matter, by using this example, and not cluing in to how cruel that would be, you’re already pretty close.

  • colnzgprnts

    Government measuring standards are worthless by design. Thousands of bureaucrats’ jobs are dependent on ever increasing numbers of people in ‘poverty’.

    The problem arises because these bureacrats are taking from those who work and giving to those who do not work or cannot work and as the numbers of those receiving these handouts rise it follows that numbers of those who are the source of the handouts are diminishing. At some point and we are very near that point, those who are ‘giving’ become overloaded. And there lies the basis for our boken economy.

    • Jamermorrow

      You are so right. Like the EPA is going to ever say polution has been solved, HUD saying poor housing has been solved, etc… Create a problem and get more funding is their trick.

  • Conservative Soccer Mom

    I went on a missions trip to a small, Romanian gypsy village. We spent the first 2 1/2 days de-lousing the children – using the public washroom facilities, because the homes and church did not have running water – before we could even start the kids camp. Only some of the children had shoes, all had terrible teeth, and most looked malnourished. That’s poor. Having running water, multi-room homes, cars & electrical conveniences of every sort, not to mention a variety of clothes, cable TV, computers and internet, makes one rich in many of the world’s countries. It is our “poor me” attitudes about our luxurious standard of living that makes a lot of people in the world very angry with Americans. In this instance, I think you can see why.

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    Having spent time in India, discussions of material poverty in the U.S. just seem a very bad joke.  Now if you want to discuss spiritual poverty, that’s another matter …
    When in Madras, I wondered why, with all the cows wandering around, one rarely saw any cowshit in the streets.  Generally it was caught by Untouchables before it hit the ground, then dried out and used for burning, or traded and sold.  I saw untouchable “villages”, so dark and filthy that they seemed to suck the very light out of the air.  I saw women washing clothes in a river that stank so horribly that one gagged two blocks away.  It had cakes of excrement bobbing in the waters, floating by those women washing clothes on the bank.  There are other images from India that will haunt me to my grave.  Poverty in the U.S.?  What a hoot!

    • LastBestHope

      Karachi Pakistan…I did shore patrol all night with a guy from Detroit, inner city projects born and rasied. He told me that he HAD thought he grew up poor but not after that night.

      Most Americans have no clue about abject poverty.

      • SigFan

        Mission trips from my church go to some of the most downtrodden parts of the world.When you see the people in these places literally living in grass huts (if they’re lucky) with no water, no electricity and not much more than the clothes they wear (if they do) you understand what real poverty is.

      • badlands4

        So true. It is a humbling thing to think you *know* what poverty is….until you are standing where there is abject, absolutely devastating, poverty. Humbling.

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    Two incidents: While viewing monuments of Vedic India south of Madras, we were besieged by a horde of begging Indian waifs.  One girl of about 7-8 yrs old tried to sell me a strand of cheap beads (one scarcely dared buy anything or the horde would descend).  She was bright-eyed and sharp as a tack.  She could have sold a used car saleman his own cars at double-price in 5 minutes.  100% chance she would live and die under roughly the same conditions that dogs do in India—and that ain’t pretty.

    Another one.  I met a doctor and his family (wife also a doctor).  They had a nice place to live for India (a house that would probably cost $60,000 in Fargo).  They had a 16-yr-old daughter so beautiful she looked supernatural.  Scarcely knowing me at all, the mother took me aside and begged me to take the daughter back with me to the U.S.

    These incidents shook me even more than the down-and-dirty ugly poverty I saw.

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