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Yes, Half of Americans Are In or Near Poverty: Here's More Evidence


Yes, Half of Americans Are In or Near Poverty: Here's More Evidence

Paul Buchheit

Too many Americans have been cheated out of opportunities to share in our nation's prosperity. The proof is overwhelming.


People of good will who have kindness and love towards others often find it difficult to understand how can it be that a wealthy person with more money than they can spend in several normal lifetimes will oppose giving poor and needy people aid to help them rise from poverty!

Look at Trump and the oligarchic Republicans trying to give more tax cuts to the rich by cutting social programs and Medicare etc and you will see the answer clear enough.

They just don’t care. Simple and straightforward - they just don’t have empathy for those less fortunate than they are.

For them a starving man begging for food is like that man is trying to rob them because he didn’t earn the money he asks of them.


Home economics. Is it still a subject in school? I doubt it. Education (not indoctrination) is the key. Don’t buy into what the glowbox tell you to seek. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. Find your passion. Spend your energy (and dollars) there. You will thrive. Let your internal compass guide you–ALWAYS.


Right on the money. I think that’s why it says in the Bible that a camel has a better chance of going through the eye of a needle than a rich person getting into heaven (or something similar). People who love money and themselves are sociopaths, missing a conscience/empathy. Ironically, they are the ones who are elected to positions of leading our country and deciding what is best for the rest of us who are not rich.


For the rich to get richer, the poor have to get poorer. There’s only so much money in the economy.
When the rich get richer, they are under no obligation at all to give their employees raises or hire new employees just because they can afford to do so. That’s why the Trickle Down theory is a lie. In reality, it never happens that way.


This is not going to get any better. Under Clinton, Obama, Bush II, and now Trump it just will continue to get worse. The only difference is that under the Dems, the process isn’t quite as bad. I’ve said this before that if I wasn’t the age I am and my wife was in better health, I would have been “outa Dodge” 20 yrs ago. Pretty much any place in Europe is better than the US.


Business ONLY invests in hiring and new equipt If there is a DEMAND for the product they produce. End of story, that is ALL one needs to know about “economics”.


I have been disabled for 25 years. My income is just a little over 13,000.00 a year. Now with the new tax reform bill, if passed, I will die. Why does my government want to kill me? A median income of 53,000 dollars? What? Who? Where? I wanna go there and become one of them.


Seeing how with each passing year, an ever greater percentage of the US population resides in major metropolitan areas where high wage jobs are more available, stats like the national medium income are become more and more meaningless to those of us living on peanuts in rural Murka.


I’m not sure how ironic it is that they are elected as they are part of the ruling oligarchic elites and represent that class which gets them the big donations. Besides they don’t decide what is best for the rest of us as much as they really do seem to be deciding what is best for themselves instead.


No surprise that Congress’ approval ratings have hovered just above single digits for years. Trump’s ratings are three time better than Congress’.

A one term Congresscritter who votes in favor of the 1% at the expense of the 99% has a million dollar / year K Street lobbying gig awaiting them when they retire or lose an election. Multi-term Congresscritters get $2 million or more.
Compare that to their $174k gubmit salary and having to keep running for re-election.

Its heads I win, tails you lose for Congresscritters who ignore the voters and pander to the 1%.


That is why a minimum income is a good idea. Maybe if rent and utilities (plus universal health care) were covered for incomes below a certain level then people wouldn’t have to suffer like they do.


Not to discredit Buccheit, but he makes it sound as if the low-balling in the FPL formula is the result of an oversight, no one has gotten around to adjusting it since before 1970. There is no way to believe DOL, HHS and HUD are unaware that the federal poverty line has nothing to do with the practical meaning of poverty, and we must therefore conclude that the (intentional) reason for the low-ball is either to greatly reduce the number of people getting services, or to save the government from the embarrassment of the truth.

"The median working-age couple has saved only $5,000 for retirement, and almost 70 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 saved. "

How can this be? “Median” means 50% are at or below this level, but then he says 70% are not only below the median, but also below the $1000 mark. Unless the second sentence refers to individuals, which makes it an awkward comparison.


You do? Here in New Hampshire, news channels recently bragged that the state has the highest median household income.

Every one of them forgot to mention the state also has the lowest minimum wage in the country.

Aside from the allusion to the restless corpse of Charles Dickens, who, like one of his characters, is only supposed to be dead as a doornail, what does this say about our culture?


I would love to live where I received 50,000 bucks, I could buy food, pay rent, go to dentist, buy new clothes not thrift store worn-outs…in other words live like a human in amurika…I am damn sick from being #1 disabled #2 a throw away.


Does the old saying " Figures don’t lie but liars figure " apply here ?


Not sure why it hadn’t occurred to me since my first reading, but did it really matter if 50% are near poverty?

Doesn’t disputing the statistic send the message, “Well, it’s only one in three, so screw 'em”?


Incorrect. The economy is not a zero-sum game. The fact of the matter is that the percentage of people living in poverty, and extreme poverty are smaller today than at any other time in history.


The rich have most definitely been getting richer - they are taking a larger percentage of the increase in worldwide wealth. But, it is not a zero-sum game


Is 2 times the poverty level actual poverty? Some say so, Peter Edelman for one. I looked at the EPI.org charts called Family Budget Calculator and compared them with the official U.S. Census poverty thresholds. The FBCalculator tries to measure “the income families need in order to attain a secure yet modest living standard where they live”. Des Moines, Iowa is the nation’s median expense area – half the nation has higher expenses, and half the nation has lower expenses. I compared the federal poverty threeshold for 1 person, $12,060 with the EPI basic expense budget for 1 person, $26,830. I did this for other household sizes. One person needs 2.2 times the official poverty level, 2 adults need 2.3 times poverty, 3 persons need 2.7 times the poverty level, 4 person family with 2 children needs 2.6 times poverty. I went to U.S. Census pinc and hinc, and looked for the median incomes for each household size, and fortunately well over half had incomes above EPI basic income level. For instance the group living in a 4 person household has a median income of about $89,000, the highest median among all household sizes. And they need an income of $63,741 says the EPI basic family budget calculator. I also went to Citizens for Tax Justice, their “Who Pays Taxes in America” page, and it looks like after tax income for this 4 person family is about $63,000. So maybe half of all Americans are living with that modest life-style if not very precarious or poor life-style. The Supplemental Poverty Measure shows that 43% of Americans live below 2 times the poverty measure. Are they all poor? The SPM shows that 13.9% are poor, not 30% (at 140% of poverty) and not 50% at just about 2.3 times poverty. But maybe precarious and insecure should be classifications? The accurate level of poverty is actually 140% of the poverty threshold, stated one author of the SPM, below which a “safe and decent standard of living” was not possible. If I also factor in family savings I get a much higher level of insecurity. Therefore, it’s probably safe to say that half of the nation lives in a state of moderate to high insecurity regarding wealth/income. This is ridiculously unfair and unequal. The mean average savings per adult is just under $400,000 per adult, says the study by Washington Center for Equitable Growth. And the mean average income per worker is close to $100,000. The national income is around $14.5 trillion, and there are about 150 million workers everyday, and that comes out just under $100,000 per worker. The SSA report states that $44,000 is the average wage income. It should be about $56,000. The lower-earning half of all workers, 80 million workers, have an average income of under $13,000, says the Social Security Administration report on wage income (the median worker income for 2015 was $29,930 I believe). If a worker earned just $7.25 an hour and worked the normal 1,790 hours a year, his annual income would equal the average annual income of half of U.S. workers, about $13,000. None of this is visible, and that’s a shame, because then it would be dealt with politically. Instead we get a con job promising great jobs, and we get a sad story about lazy people choosing to live in dependency. Too many listened to the con artist and the sad story about lazy parasites. The true story is about greedy people paying incredibly low wages. We have to change that. It should be obvious that I really admire Paul B. work. Thank you Paul, B. – My blog http://benL8.blogspot.com – Economics Without Greed


It actually is a zero sum game. Capitalism requires constant growth to work and we live on a finite planet. At some point it has to crash and crash badly, and we appear to be right at that point.

If you dig into where Max Roser gets his numbers for the world poverty numbers, he gets them from the World Bank which has every reason to phony up economic numbers.

If you just look at poverty in the US all you have to do is open your eyes to how so many people are living to realize that things are much worse now than in the 1960s and 70s. It hasn’t been this bad since the 1930s. BTW using averages skews things badly when there are people making annual incomes of more than a billion.