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By the Best Definition, the Poverty Rate Should Be Tripled


By the Best Definition, the Poverty Rate Should Be Tripled

Paul Buchheit

Poverty should not be defined simply by the number of dollars that an American can scrape together each year. But poverty deniers won't look deeper, because they don't want to admit that anyone willing to work could be suffering in the richest country in the world. It's easier to blame the poverty-stricken for their own misfortunes.

The Best Definition of Poverty


From the article:

“Depressing news doesn’t sell on our news shows.”

If you think “news shows” are intended to provide the public with accurate and useful information, you’ll always be confused. The purpose of corporate media is to reinforce the dominant narratives of American exceptionalism, unregulated capitalism and redemption through consumption.

Thus telling the truth about poverty, homelessness, unemployment and the real costs of Empire would contradict the dominant narrative—as hungry as the public is for truth, and how much we might benefit from hearing it.


There are people who are working 40-50 hrs a week in the Portland, Oregon area, and living ( sleeping mostly ) in their cars and vans, etc. Try that for 6 months or a year. Some have school age children. It is getting worse here, not better.
Today it is 40 degrees and feels colder.
Our minimum wage goes to $12.50 an hour in July. It is still not enough but people are " couch surfing ", using storage facilities for their personal items, etc. and trying to maintain their mental and physical health. One mishap and you could be toast and our Congress is the toaster.
It is a rolling national disaster and disgrace.


Cloud cover blanketing the Pacific Northwest from November through March indeed make “40 degrees feel colder”…Lewis and Clark highlighted that fact in their journals.

Ever since Republican Ford and Democrat Carter lost their respective POTUS elections in 1976 and 1980 (both partially the result of the gubmit accurately calculating stats like rate of inflation, unemployment, poverty, etc.), there has been bipartisan cooking the books to understate those stats. Neither party wants to ever again be blamed for high inflation, high unemployment, high poverty, etc.

This bipartisan effort has resulted in serial cost of living (COLA) wage and benefit increases (or not) that come nowhere near the actual COLA, interest rates too low that contributed to the real estate crash a decade ago, and other results that benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99%. Recall candidate Trump bragging about scooping up foreclosed houses (many of which were lost by those voting for him) for ten cents on the dollar in 2008 ?


If there is a gawd, may it bless Paul for the work he does. He never takes his eye off of the ball. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. I started receiving Social Security Disability in 1993 so you can imagine the poverty within my mind.


Such a good, straightforward summary of facts and data, in this article. Unfortunately this is all by design, not by accident or lack of knowledge. Keep the people anxious and fearful (while making them perceive themselves as free and rich and exceptional), so they don’t have time to participate meaningfully in the society, and the top cliques can do what they want.

It is the same principle around which ex-“communist” eastern european countries were organized. Keep the people frightened and working for little, so they don’t have time or guts to participate meaningfully in the society or question things.


And if you work long hours, part of them at McDonalds, your only hope for a better life is to get a managers position. Obviously all 20 employees are not going to get a management job.


The mgmt gig is overrated. It’s a lot of hard work, actually.


since management is on salary, they don’t get overtime. It is a scam to get them to work a 60 hour week without overtime.


A third of Americans report they are comfortable, but 43% say they are worried that they can’t pay their monthly bills, and 22% say they leave a portion of their bills unpaid each month – all from the Fed. Reserve report Household Well-Being in America 2018, and from a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Financial Well-Being in America. So 33 are just fine, 23 are between worried and not worried, and 43 are worried and in fact unable to pay their bills. And 54% have “liquid savings” less than $5,000, 35% have less than $1,000, and 29% have less than $500, and 24% have less than $250, while the average savings per adult is over $400,000 (says the Credit Suisse bank Global Wealth Report Databook. Does this look strange? Does the $400,000 figure seem unreal? Total household net worth, which means private savings, is now $109 trillion, and divide that by the about 250 million adults age 20 and up, it’s over $400,000 per adult. The average income per household is also amazingly high. The total U.S. national income, projected in January by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation for 2018, was $15 trillion, and divide that by 127 million households, that averages to almost $120,000 per household. Yet half earn less than $61,000. The average income, pre-tax and pre-transfer, for the lower half is about $34,000. So many figures make the mind go limp, but the main idea is the extreme inequality of income and wealth in the U.S. and the human toll involved from it. The Fed. report also said that 27% of adults forwent medical treatment last year because of high cost involved. People are going into unending debt, opportunities are being lost, human potential is being flushed into the abyss because society refuses to take a serious look at how it mismanages its resources. Fortunately help is on the way. The Republican mess, and the Democratic complicity in it, is coming to an end, I hope. Thanks, Paul B. for a great report with tons of back-up data. My blog: http://benL8.blogspot.com