Defining poverty

“It is fundamentally wrong to say someone is living in poverty in the United States who has all of life’s basic necessities, plus a whole lot of modern amenities. Poverty should not be defined by a number you tell the IRS, it should be a measure of an individual or family’s ability to meet its basic needs (housing, food, medical), after accounting for government and charitable assistance.”

Charlie Leonard contrasted the reports of high poverty levels in the United States to his experiences in traveling around the country. The reports didn’t fit with what he saw so he’s Drawing the line on poverty at the Aspen Times.

“As someone who has traveled the length and breadth of this country, as well as many Third World countries, I immediately thought it’s simply not possible that 46 million Americans are “living in poverty.” And, after doing about 10 minutes of Internet research, my suspicions were confirmed.”

This illustrates the need not to swallow what you hear ‘as-is’ but rather to see how well it fits with other things and to apply a bit of skepticism. On the matter of U.S. poverty, there is an agenda that distorts the reality. That tends to make finding solutions to the actual problems more difficult.

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