This article's premise is that we are all coddled, and that if you compared what we have today with what someone had 40 years ago, then we'd look just as silly as Paris Hilton and the rest of the rich. I disagree.
The primary problem with this premise is this: Paris isn't living 40 years from now. She's living now, she lives in a life of luxury, and she's as inable to live in reality as a human being can be. She's spoiled, beyond that of which it's possible for me to believe.
But his statistics for the poor get me. Here's the quote:
No, I'm not overlooking the poor, especially at this time of year. They are indeed always with us, but not the way they used to be. Some 21% of U.S. families were poor in 1960, while in 2001, the latest year for which figures are available, just 10% were. And those official statistics exclude the value of noncash government benefits like food stamps and Medicaid, which didn't exist in 1960. That's why some economists estimate that today's real poverty rate is much less than officially reported, maybe only half.
I'm gathering his idea of "poor" is earning below the poverty line -- which is not just "poor" but very, very poor.
From the "http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p60-222.pdf">Census Bureau, the level of poverty for a 4 person household with 2 children is $18,244. If both parents work, that's $4.50/hour each parent. And it's not exactly high pay.
For those of us without kids, the figure drops by 1/2 -- to $9,359. That's $4.68 an hour for a full time job.
Both of these, by the way, are less than the minimum wage -- hence, if you have a full time minimum wage job, you're not poor. And those benefits stated above? They cut off at the poverty level.
The poor is less than 10 percent, my ass.
(Just for kicks... Poverty level for 1960 was $1,982 for a 2 child household. In 1980, it was $8,633. In 1990, it was $13,254. )
The point being: reality is something the poor can ill afford to forget. And while the definition of poor seems to be something this joker can fiddle with, the reality is the jokers who are 21 and richer that small countries seem to be as clueless as a newborn. That's what we're laughing at -- people without any ability to rationally judge and weigh decisions.
The "poor" -- really, the average person -- rushes for $29 DVDs, because they know it's the only price they can afford one. (Not to mention, that woman who was injured has since been found to be a serial litigant, so I'd think twice about using that anacedote). Also note, movies aren't getting released on VHS as much, so in order to see movies cheaply they have to have one.
The poor know they're "obese" -- that's because many can't afford healthy foods. Healthy foods, like salad and such require a) time to cook, b) equipment to cook/store them with, and c) most often money to purchase them with. Salads are not expensive, per se; but tomatos, carrots, and such add up when you also have to buy meats. Canned and frozen foods keep better than fresh, and don't take as long to cook. Eating healthy does cost, in time and energy as well as money.
And instead of help, the poor get assholes like me and this joker talking about them from our on-high views.
Gefforey Colvin, bite me. I'm not Paris Hilton, and neither are most people we know. We may have cool new technologies, but a DVD player doesn't make me think Wal-mart sells walls.Posted by Ted Stevko at December 14, 2003 06:19 PM | TrackBack