Poverty in America is essentially eliminated today in America, but the Government and the media will never report to you the correct economic numbers, as the truth would defeat their agendas and raisons d'etre. In keeping with our JAM Views mission, you must learn and understand this truth. Yet, the truth also confirms that although this nearly 15% of our country is not living in poverty, it is living in bondage and servitude to the very people who claim to be their benefactors.
John F. Early, former Assistant Commissioner at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Phil Gramm, former Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, have released an updated report on wage and taxes in the country, and I want to explain some of these facts, along with a few other relevant analyses, so you may understand the true economics.
Following World War II, through capitalism and growth our nation was able to radically reduce the portion of the country living in poverty from 32.1% to 14.7%. Then in 1964, President Lyndon B.. Johnson declared that his new War On Poverty is "not a struggle simply to support people. It is an effort to allow them to develop and use their capacities." What his War actually did was remove this amazing group of Americans from the game and rewards of capitalism, and cause them to become dependent on the Government. Their drive, hope and stability of the family unit disintegrated in opposite statistical correlation to the tremendous expansion of Government.
The Census Bureau reports that in 2016 some 12.7% of Americans lived in poverty, virtually unchanged since President Johnson declared his War (sounds as effective as the War On Drugs - Another Post). But, the Census Bureau, inexplicably, does not count transfer payments when calculating "income." It excludes food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare to low-income families, Children's Health Insurance, the refundable part of the earned-income tax credit, and 87 other federal and state means-test payments. If the Bureau counted all income, apples-to-apples, they would have to include this $1.5 trillion allocation, and the reported poverty rate would fall below 3%.
Flipping the tables and only counting the consumption side, these numbers confirm this 3% exactly. This number also reconciles with the recent Department of Energy Residential Consumption Survey which tracks the rising spending among poor families on cars, home electronics, cable, appliances, and smartphones.
Now, if we add the $500 billion of private charitable giving in our country, this 3% drops to 1% - 2%. Isn't that hard to reconcile with everything the world tells you each evening? Tom Giovanetti, President of the Institute for Policy Innovation, points out that a family of four earning $80,000 will pay a 15.3% combined rate for Social Security and Medicare, amounting to $12,240 per year on top of their federal and state income taxes. This is where the $1.5 trillion in transfer payments come from.
But, by design, the Government and the elites, have coerced this amazing 15% of Americans out of capitalism and into "self-imposed" bondage. Otherwise, we all would not not believe that we need a Government even 1/10th the current size, and the elites would have 50 million more brilliant Americans competing with them in education, innovation, and leadership of the country.
White House economists recently confirmed that a person can lose up to 35 cents in food stamps for every extra dollar earned from working. Two-thirds of adult food-stamp recipients are not disabled or seniors, yet more than 50% of this group reported working zero hours a week while receiving the benefits. These transfer payments now constitute 84% of the disposable income for the poorest group and even 58% for lower-middle-income Americans. The poorest group has 37% more families than the middle-income group with a prime-working age head and no one working. The middle-income group has 5-times as many families with two or more workers than the poor group. What happened to President Johnson' pledge to help everyone become self-sufficient? He didn't understand Economics 101 like JAM Views members do. Or, did he?
I have struggled forever with the question of, "Do all of these bureaucrats, redistributionists, and seemingly well-intentioned people just not understand economics, or are they truly selfish and evil and only promoting their own self-interests veiled as a cause for equality and helping others?" What do you think? Please let our Friends of JAM members know your thoughts. I have been baffled by these ironies, these paradoxes, my entire adult life, my entire career. If we simply set up financial models which allowed, and required, individuals to work in their own self-interest (Adam Smith), not only would our country's wealth and prosperity exceed all expectations, but all of our citizens would fully participate in the American Dream.
So now you know that by the true numbers we have eradicated poverty in the United States of America. Or, have we intentionally, inexcusably, guaranteed its continuance?
"The lessons of history show conclusively that continued dependency upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber." - President Franklin D. Roosevelt