|Let’s wait while Mildred completes
the tabulation, norming the figures
to comport with AP’s expectations.
‘Puter awoke this morning to the mid-summer serenade of cicadas singing mingled with the strangled cries of MSNBC pundits bemoaning the inherent unfairness of our economic system.
What’s got the Leftist punditocracy’s undies in a bunch today is this AP-GfK poll that alleges “[f]our out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.”*
The Left and its media catamites claim this poll shows the need to address income inequality up to and including unionization of fast food workers, increasing the minimum wage to an undefined “living wage,” and nationalizing Wall Street.**
‘Puter reads the poll a bit differently. That is, people that make suboptimal life choices end up in poverty, a natural consequence of their piss-poor decision making. It’s not difficult to stay out of poverty if you do three simple things:
Don’t have kids until you get married
Work full time at nearly any job
That’s it. That’s all you have to do to all but guarantee you’ll not be poor. You don’t have to be smart. You don’t have to be a scion of a wealthy family. You don’t have to have exceptional abilities of any sort except for one: self-denial in pursuit of a future goal.
Looking beyond the circumstances of today’s single mothers and focusing instead on a vision for the future leads us to suggest a comprehensive, behavior-based strategy for reducing poverty. The strategy is based on a set of normative expectations for the youngest generation. They would be expected to stay in school at least through high school, delay childbearing until marriage, work full-time to support any children they chose to bear outside marriage, and limit the size of their families to what they could afford to support.
Existing policies would be aligned with this set of expectations. Income assistance would be conditional on work with some exceptions for hardship cases, including serious disability. Benefit programs (including tax credits and exemptions) would be capped at two children per family. This policy would not deny people the right to have more children, but it would require that they do so at their own expense. Marriage and work disincentives in existing benefit programs would be reduced wherever possible, not just by extending benefits up the income scale but also by making marriage and work a condition for receiving more types of assistance.
Let’s reexamine AP’s article on its poll with these ‘Puter’s (and the Brookings Institutions’) three simple criteria in mind.
Meet Ms. Irene Salyers, identified by AP as one of the affected four-in-five Americans apparently fated to live perpetually in poverty through no fault of their own.
“I think it’s going to get worse,” said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend, but it doesn’t generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.
Leaving aside that Ms. Salyers determined that staying in Appalachia was a surefire route to economic security, did she run afoul of ‘Puter’s commonsense rules? Why yes, yes Ms. Salyers did violate one of ‘Puter’s three inviolable rules. Ms. Salyers has been married and divorced not fewer than three times and is currently shacked up with another fine example of American stick-to-it-iveness, and a fellow federal disability welfare recipient as well. ‘Puter’s betting Ms. Salyers also has methed up (and messed up) kids out of wedlock and less than high school education, but only one violation need be shown.
AP goes on to note that, shockingly to no one who’s been sentient these last 50 years, tons and tons of single mothers with kids live in poverty.
For the first time since 1975, the number of white single-mother households who were living in poverty with children surpassed or equaled black ones in the past decade, spurred by job losses and faster rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites. White single-mother families in poverty stood at nearly 1.5 million in 2011, comparable to the number for blacks. Hispanic single-mother families in poverty trailed at 1.2 million.***
It goes without saying, so ‘Puter will say it, that being a single mother is usually a good indicator that you’ve violated the “don’t have kids out of wedlock” portion of the economic security compact. Sure, there are some single mothers who for whatever reason had their children within a marriage and later divorced, but they’re a small portion of the overall number.
We also learn from AP that so-called “economic insecurity” is growing rapidly among Whites, because everything always boils down to race for some people. So that even the most thick headed among us don’t miss the point, AP asks Harvard professor William Julius Johnson “who specializes in race and poverty” to comment. Prof. Johnson’s comments is exactly as race-baiting as one would expect from an Ivy League professor “who specializes in race and poverty.” Quoth Prof. Johnson:
“There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front.”
Whitey’s going to start a race war if conservatives don’t cave in to socialistic Leftist economic policies and prescriptions. If you’re against Obama, you’re for a race war. Got it, Professor. Thanks for your assistance.
What’s your takeaway from this poll? Here are some helpful talking points for you:
If you keep your legs together, graduate high school, get married and work a full time job, you won’t be poor. Even the screamingly liberal Brookings Institution says so.
AP’s four-fifths figure is inflated by using unhelpful criteria, such as “people who were ever unemployed, regardless of duration” and “people living at or under 150% of the poverty level.” There’s a world of difference between short-term and chronic unemployment. It’s also not correct to call someone poor who makes more than 150% of the official federal poverty level. Remember, income from welfare and disability programs are not counted as income.
Income inequality has exactly zero to do with poverty. Personal behavior, particularly misbehavior, has about a 1:1 correlation with poverty.
Rather than mucking about with screwing banks, taxing rich “One Percenters,” raising the minimum wage, green energy, union pension bailouts and exempting Congress from ObamaCare, liberals would be better served to figure out how to effectively educate all children, prevent teen pregnancy and reform the tax code.
The economy will then sort itself out, reducing the dreaded and completely irrelevant income inequality.
Look, ‘Puter’s not claiming it’s easy for people in crappy neighborhoods to follow his Three Simple Rules to Not Being PoorTM, especially because Democrats who rule most cities where poverty is concentrated care more about enriching the teachers’ unions whose members vote than educating the students who don’t vote. But it is doable. Just as keeping your knees together is doable, and not jumping on every roundheeled girl you encounter is doable.
Don’t believe the Left’s spin on AP’s poll. As with most things stated with certainty by the Left, its spin is false. AP’s poll supports conservative positions for eradication of poverty and reduction of income inequality.
It’s not rocket science. Work hard, do your best, and behave yourself. If you do so, you won’t be poor, and you’ll likely be successful in most anything you try.
* Further, this 80% number is for “income insecurity,” defined as “experiencing unemployment at some point in their working lives, or a year or more of reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line.” That’s a pretty broad standard since tons and tons of people are unemployed at some point (‘Puter was when he moved to New York with his wife, who had a job) or make less than 150% of the federal poverty level ($35,325.00 for a family of four in 2013
), but that’s not ‘Puter’s point in this post.
**‘Puter made the part about liberals clamoring to national Wall Street up. The Left hasn’t claimed that nationalizing America’s financial industry is necessary in order to save America’s economy. The Left hasn’t made such a claim only because the Left hasn’t thought of it yet.
***The really shocking thing here is not that there are allegedly 4.2 million single-mother headed families living in poverty, but that White single-mother headed families just now caught up to those headed by Blacks. As of the 2010 census, Whites comprised 72.4% of the United States’ population, and Blacks just 12.6%, meaning Blacks are 6 times more likely than whites to have a single mother headed family in poverty.