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Monday, January 12, 2009

It Pays To Be Poor in America

When you consider that almost half the world's population, over 3 billion people, lives on less than $2.50 a day. Most are worried about where their next meals, yes plural, will come from. Is there any wonder why people clamor to get to the US?In America however, all this talk about helping the poor is just liberal-speak for "buying votes", and the precursor to socialism.

As with most things in life, the poor in America are a fringe 5% of the population, just like the wealthy are the upper fringe 5%. The remaining 90% is for the most part just hand-to-mouth on a different scale. Sure many Americans are earning well above the poverty line, however they are "ghetto rich". For the most part, they are just like the rest of America...robbing Peter to pay Paul.

This is because we are a country of excess even at the poor especially at the poor level. And this is why I don't agree with subsidizing the poor as we define them today, i.e. those taking advantage of the system. They are as replete with excess as the rich they are taught to despise.

In 1990, this was America's definition of poor:

Next week the United States Census Bureau will release its annual report on "poverty" stating, as it has for many years, that there are some 31 million to 32 million poor Americans, a number greater than in 1965 when the War on Poverty began. Evidence mounts, however, that the Census Bureau's poverty report dramatically understates the living standards of low income Americans.

* 38 percent of the persons whom the Census Bureau identifies as "poor" own their own homes with a median value of $39,200.

* 62 percent of "poor" households own a car; 14 percent own two or more cars.

"Poor" Americans today are better housed, better fed, and own more property than did the average U.S. citizen throughout much of the 20th Century. In 1988, the per capita expenditures of the lowest income fifth of the U.S. population exceeded the per capita expenditures of the median American household in 1955, after adjusting for inflation.1

As the last paragraph of that report suggested in 1990 no less, the poor in America at that time had eclipsed what was defined as middle-class America of the 1950s. And what is more startling in my opinion is the aforementioned statistics didn't account for everything that the poor were receiving "in kind" in 1990.

Out of $184 billion in welfare spending, the Census counts only $27 billion as income for poor persons. The bulk of the welfare system, including entire programs that provide non-cash aid to the poor, like food stamps, public housing, and Medicaid, is completely ignored in the Census Bureau's calculations of the living standards of the "poor." The missing welfare spending that is excluded from the Census Bureau poverty reports comes to $158 billion, or over $11,120 for every "poor" U.S. household.

And the definition of poor in America has improved greatly…for the poor! Here is how poor is defined Y2K09:

Poor women of today get their hair done, along with manicures and pedicures… routinely. They wear makeup, and nice wardrobes, with accompaniments such as knockoff Louis Vuitton, Coach, and Gucci purses. Many have gold rings on every finger, including the thumb, and contrary

 to what you might think, it is not considered gaudy.

Poor men of today have diamond earrings, pinky rings, gold necklaces and/or diamond chains, "bling" watches, and a diamond and gold (or platinum) "grill". They wear designer jeans and NBA "throwback" jerseys, that they buy not because they like the team, but because the colors match their wardrobe. The cost of one would pay for two semesters of community college, and their tennis shoes could pay for another. By the way, poor people in most countries don't have the word "wardrobe" in their lexicon.

The poor in America own more than one vehicle in many cases, and they spend mad money "tricking them out". Weld-breaking stereo systems, alarms, auto-start, hands-free cellular, DVD players, 20 inch low profile tires, with rims to match, complete with spinners.

In poor homes, along with the staples, they have cable TV, with at least two TV sets, and don't be surprised if one is a 40"+ flat screen. They have a computer and at least one video game platform with a multitude of games. They have at least two DVD players, and a collection of movies…ok mostly bootleg, just so you know I am not out of touch on this subject.

They own MP3 players, portable versions of their home video game platforms, and cell phones. And don't be surprised if all the teenagers in a home have each of these items individually. Our poor go to concerts, ball games, and have many other forms of entertainment, including gambling, particularly if you count the state lotteries, but I see them squandering their money at $5 blackjack tables.

All this excess and they still have their hands out. And the government obliges, providing subsidized housing and day-care, food stamps, AFDC, WIC, and a host of other government subsidies for which they "qualify". And let me tell you that they don't call it the "welfare system" for nothing. It is a system, and all systems can be worked.

Here's the wrap:

I know of a married couple with four children where the husband owns his own construction company. He is paid mainly off the books, earning about $40K a year.

The couple legally divorced, so that the wife and kids could get on welfare, and she receives all the aforementioned "entitlements". So she lives in a home in San Antonio Texas, and pays roughly ~$125 on a home costing $878 a month. The US taxpayers pay the rest.

The husband lives there as well, however he leaves when they get their announced visit from the social worker.

They have more government program money coming into that household, than Donald Trump has bank accounts. They know how to work the system, and do so to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars a year. And we pay for it. Now that's working the system.

Liberals turn a blind eye to this corruption, because they love power, and votes provide that potent elixir. Like I said – "It pays to be poor in America.  And they are getting a pay raise, this year!"

That's my rant!

© 2009 Kevin Jackson – The Black Sphere All Rights Reserved



Anonymous said...

On my way to the market I noticed all the obama signs were still out in front the democrats houses. I asked one why they hadn't taken them down. An old Marine stepped up and said that's so obama will know which house to send the welfare checks to!.......made perfect sense to me!

Rose-Bud said...

OMG Kevin! I was just debating a co-worker about the same subject two days ago. She started talking about being poor, and living paycheck to paycheck, yet she drives to work in her own car, attends a community college on grants, and has not lost any weight that I can see from not being able to eat what she wants. Her wardrobe is so so, but I know she can do better. She pissed me off so badly, that I had no choice but to state the facts that you listed in your rant. I ended it with telling her when we see our children begging in the streets, and have tent cities in our parks, then talk to me about being poor in America. She looked at me like I was crazy, and I knew it was because she is white and I am black, so, me being black people, I was suppossed to agree with her fooliness, and nod my head.
Ha, I fooled her!:)

The Black Sphere said...

Anon, I blogged on that subject some time ago, so glad somebody is stealing my ideas...they are indeed original! :-)

The Black Sphere said...

Rose-Bud, EXCELLENT retort to that liberal White woman, who thought she had you pegged. They need to know to "approach with caution", as all Blacks don't drink kool-aid!

Anonymous said...


This guy is freaking awesome.

SureHowDoYouKnow said...

We can't grow our own poverty very well here in the USA, so we import it.

Thanks for another great article!

Alberto said...

It's true, there are a lot of people who are statistically "poor", yet are wasteful and do not manage their money.

However there are those who are legitimately struggling, and even if they own a house, that doesn't mean there aren't psychological consequences to living from paycheck to paycheck, wondering when you'll be kicked out of your house because you're not paying the mortgage, etc.

Digital Publius said...

This needs to be widely read!

Lilly said...

I love reading your posts. You put things so well! Thanks!

Anonymous said...


It pays to be poor and rich in America. For the rest of us, we're caught in between trying to make a living. You can 'equalize' everything in this country and guess what---there will still be poor and rich people. It is the middle class that will suffer mightily.
Great article. Thanks for posting.

The Black Sphere said...

Digital - From your pen to God's eyes! Hopefully it will be widely read...

Anonymous said...

From: Suzanne Moles
Date: January 12, 2009

Wow Kevin! Ain't that the truth. We are continually told by liberals that we are poor and they are going to help us out because we cannot survive without their intervention. Some of us are not as stupid as to believe this "garbage" as we know that is not the case but as we have just witnessed in the last election, if you say it enough, people believe they are poor so therefore their vote goes to the messenger!
Handouts and entitlement are what is going to bring this country to its knees and that is the sad part...

Rosemary said...

I live in the Washington DC area (praying for a major snowstorm on the 20th) and there are a lot of those kind of "poor folks" here driving BMWs and wearing lots of "bling", however the smarter ones are renting in the local subsidized apartments watching their TVs (yes plural) all day..

Funny thing, 15 years ago my brother in law in Maryland used to yell out of his car window "get a job!" when he drove by the apartments near his home.

I enjoyed this. Well done Kevin.
I am honestly quite worried for our county. Hubby and I are part of the ignored, doing well middle class, but it is my country I am worried about. We are going farther down the slippery slope into the sea of socialism and I do not see how we will every go back.

DaveG said...

This is the direct result of the last few decades of Hollywood, Congress, and the press removing all vestiges of shame and pride from our society.

There was a time when people were too proud to accept a handout that they knew they didn't need or deserve, but not any more.

You can see this every year around Christmas at charity toy give aways. People in Lincoln Navigators are lined up for their free toy, and then complain about the quality of what they were given.

I'm old school, I suppose. I worked my way through college with veterans benefits and part-time jobs rather than take out loans or chase gov't grant money. It took 9 years to finish, but I felt that I had earned it, and therefore I value it far more highly than I would have if it been handed to me after the gov't had stolen from someone else's pocket.

April tax season is the absolute worst time of the year for me. It infuriates me that I have to spend days figuring out how to account for every penny spent, saved, or earned to a gov't organization that hasn't been able to balance its own books for decades, only to have the money confiscated from me given to someone unwilling to provide for himself.

And that's my rant!

Julie said...

Great post and that is my rant also. I have a sister who has spent her entire life milking the system and teaching others how to do it also. Off my back and good work ethics. Ticks me off. Glad to have found your blog.

The Black Sphere said...

Julie, Welcome! And for those of you who do not comment, but visit, and like the blog, learn from her!

I know it's irritating to watch the thieves at work. It's frustrating knowing that the gov't won't do anything about it.

Thanks for checking us out, and hopefully you will visit often. Read "Day Old Bread" there is some good stuff there!

Anonymous said...


American government's "safety nets" long ago turned into "hammocks".

Anonymous said...

"Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity, nothing exceeds the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed."

-- Herman Melville

First and foremost you need to put some facts in your post. You link to a heritage foundation report that does not back up any of your assertions. There is no reference note or data presented to back up the quoted portion. The nearest footnote is talking about per cpaita expenditure difference between 1988 and 1955.

Your definition of poverty for 09 has no links at all much less a hint of your source for this information.

At least start with wikipedia and work your way out.

The Black Sphere said...

@ANON (previous post) - I cite actual 1990 data for poverty statistics. Though they are from the Heritage Foundation site, they are indeed fact. You can check for yourself.

As for the other "facts", well I reference "real life". You see my family and friends are overwhelmingly Black and, well that's how we roll!

I know that is difficult to believe, when you are from...well you didn't say, but I will guess Meddlersville USA?

What I provide readers is the real scoop on my people, and others in America. Are we all this way, certainly not. But I don't make this stuff up.

The fact is that a great percentage of America is self-indulgent. We want what we want when we want it. But that doesn't make for good fiscal policy.

And oh yeah, you are right. Poor people in America have NONE of the things that I wrote about. My bad...

"Kevin...ack away slowly from the looney...slowly, sudden moves". That was close!

ANON said...

You linked to reference number 34 which is a reference to nutrition. The section you quoted has no reference or data to back it up. Go look at the page for yourself there is no footnote or link provided.

There is no evidence presented to back up the claims that:
"* 38 percent of the persons whom the Census Bureau identifies as "poor" own their own homes with a median value of $39,200.

* 62 percent of "poor" households own a car; 14 percent own two or more cars.

Where you were obviously wrong above:
The poverty rate is 12.5 percent as of 2007 (, not five percent.

"As for the other "facts", well I reference "real life". You see my family and friends are overwhelmingly Black and, well that's how we roll!

I know that is difficult to believe, when you are from...well you didn't say, but I will guess Meddlersville USA?

I'm a lower-class southern boy whose anecdotal evidence is contrary to yours. Also you cannot extrapolate "I've seen some people abusing government money" to "all people abuse government money". The plural of anecdote is not evidence.

If anyone is going to be called nutters here it should be you for not responding to my perfectly valid and civilly presented points and instead using anecdotes and insults instead of data to "counter" me.

The Black Sphere said...

ANON, you obviously have a computer. I publicly challenge you to DISPUTE with evidence my facts. Tell me what you, poor person in America doesn't have. Can you live on $2.50 an hour. Do you own more than ONE of something that you don't need?

Are you on this site begging for welfare? What is your actual point?

My insults to you are that you argue with no reason. Tell me that America's poor don't have these things and you win...else you lose.

Here, unlike Digg and other social sites, I will block your ass if you don't come CORRECT!

madmath1 said...

When I was teaching, the kids could afford $200 jackets, $200 shoes, Ipods, Mp3 players, psp's, drugs, Xboxes, Flatscreens, you name it, but couldn't afford paper, pencil, notebook, anything for education, etc. They had cars, warm homes in the winter, cool in the summer, etc. The arrongance and narcissism was just unbearable. The 3 things I remember most when I went to the Philipines: 1) the humidity. I nearly fell down when I got hit with it when I left the air conditioned airport. 2) the smell. There is no garbage service in the Philippines so people either burn it or, as I quickly learned, throw it out in the streets. 3) what real proverty is. The "poor" here don't have a clue what proverty really is. I witnessed homes that had no doors or in some cases even walls. One looked like a chicken coop with a hun hat roof. Walking skeletons from those that couldn't earn the $3 a day (at least things were really cheap there like a large pizza for $4) needed to feed themselves, those wearing clothes that I think haven't been cleaned for weeks because they have no other and on a few occassion, some where running in their birthday suits because they just didn't have any at all. Most didn't have a car and had to either walk or use the public transportation (most of the working class that used a vechicle, about 20%, used a Vespa motorscooter) which, in my opinion, is far better than ours in the US but when the poor can have a car, why have an efficient public transportation system. BTW, most "public" transporation where individual enterprises, not governmentally subsidized. I have picture of these observations and my children no longer complain about how "poor" they are. What little they have in their homes, most don't have TV and all go to the one relative if they want to watch something, many didn't even have a bed. I was stunned when I witness some of my in-laws sleeping on the nice hard floor. I didn't know after I left that my mother-in-law sleep on the floor while we got use of the house and they were what we would called upper middle class there. Many don't have AC and with the climate there, that's quite a luxery. Jobs, our current economy is a boom in comparision. Crime, terrorist threats, lack of infrastructure (many didn't have indoor plumbing), the whinning, demanding, selfish poor here, not only don't have a clue what real proverty is, they, and remember, I'm part of the working poor, make me sick. Spend a week living as a typical Filipino and came back to me with their grievence then.

Anonymous said...


Kevin makes a valid point and I agree with him... 'American poor' is not the true definition of poor. If you own a car, diamonds and get your nails done I don't consider you poor or deprived.

Anonymous said...


Almost no one in this country is truly poor, they simply choose to spend their money on things that aren't necessities and as a result don't have the money they need for necessities because they know if this is the case the government will be there to bail them out.

Anonymous said...

From: Chip Robison
Date: January 13, 2009

Great blog Kevin! I hate the fact that liberals exploit minorities & the poor to get votes!!

Conservatives are disillusioned now. Many just don't know what to do? We have conservative leaders still wanting to govern from the center instead of to the right. If we do not get back to the Ronald Reagan style of conservatism we will lose again in 2012!

We are not content to give our country away but this country is full of ignorant fools! Just look at the arrogance of the obvious cheating that is going on with the senator's race in Minnesota. How is it that an idiot like Al Franken gets as many votes as he did? When our conservative leaders become empathetic & pander to liberal views, they lose focus and the core values of our party.

Just don't be fooled by the pseudo-Repubs! McCain lost for a reason

Anonymous said...

From: Melinda Lane
Date: January 15, 2009

ok. I make less than $10,000 a year, would love to make more, but haven't had a decent job and am constantly being told I lack experience. I am single, have no illegitimate children and would not take a dime of charity from the government or anyone else. I vote Republican because I don't believe in the gov't supporting people, work for what you have----but you need the opportunity to work.

Hand-outs aren't a good thing, even if I wanted one I don't think I could get one because I don't have a string of illegitimate offspring. Being offered the chance to make a living would be a good thing though, and that's a chance I'd like to have. I have a college degree and some experience, I thought Republicans, and this country were about giving people a chance. I don't want a hand-out, I want a chance.

Anonymous said...

From: Kimberly Haines
Date: January 15, 2009

Great blog as always Kevin! I always think of "poor" people as being really poor - like people in the underdeveloped countries who would kill you for a bowl of rice, or previous generations of Americans during the Great Depression who had no shoes, begged for a growler of soup at the church to feed their kids, and shared a toilet in the tenements with 7 other families. I'm sick to death of seeing the "poor" with 3 gold earrings in each ear, cars in the driveway, and the kids getting a Wii for Christmas from some local do-gooders who want to supplement what they are already getting from the government. These are the same people who use food stamps for shrimp and sushi in the supermarket while I'm using our hard earned money to buy essentials.

Melinda, I hope things get better for you. I'm like you - I'd rather go with less than take a handout from the government. But without the 3 illegitimate kids (assuming you were 18 and started having them when you were 14), you like me wouldn't qualify anyway. The government doesn't worry about those of us who don't take what they have to offer - the politicians suffer from Munchausens, and want to tell the sick ("poor") people how much sicker they are so they can heal them with handouts. Handouts=votes

Anonymous said...

From: Al Adelgren PE CVS
Date: January 16, 2009

Another awesome blog! MSM has spun conservatives into the role of oppressor of poor and minorities, yet it is the liberal mantra of entitlements that creates dependency and disincentivizes the individual. There is a YouTube video from before the election that uses the phrase "escape the plantation" to capture the concept of breaking the dependency on government entitlements, the MSM and its minions.