Rage. Probably political rage. Maybe just personal rage. Lots of sarcasm and cynicism. Also pretty pictures.
99% have refrigerators? You food-chilling motherfuckers! How dare you? That’s why it makes complete sense that the word poor in that graphic is in quotations. These people aren’t poor! They’re “poor.” I’m sure the other 1% of people who don’t have refrigerators don’t have them not because they don’t have food but because they’re always ordering room service.
Jon Stewart, commenting on Fox News’ infograph claiming that “99% of ‘poor people’ have refrigerators.”
Everything about that Heritage Foundation report was awful, and every response to it has been amazing.
Modern Poverty is far different than the poverty experienced a century, even decades ago. Access to certain amenities is not the same as ownership, first of all. Second, the current measures of poverty are grossly outdated. Due to the fact that refrigerators, A/C, heat, and other amenities are often standard in inexpensive and even HUD housing and other living quarters that are occupied by those living below the poverty line - these are no longer measures that are applicable to determining this status. Also, television and other entertainment items are more accessible - standards of living are quite different and these things could be purchased in place of clothing or something else in a singular incident of the occurrence of having the amount of money at the right time rather than it being put into a savings account (which most often require the maintenance of a minimum balance that isn’t always achievable for those living paycheck to paycheck or on fixed incomes.)
Mismanagement of money in our eyes is not the same to all. All sorts of factors could have played into having that one opportunity to purchase something that seems to be a luxury only accessible to the well off or to those who can properly feed and care for their families. Cable is almost considered a necessity, as is access to internet. The way our society is shaped today almost requires access to this information in this manner if for nothing else education or to pay bills or to access email. Cell phones are cheap as are the plans and can be more accessible to those who don’t have the money for a monthly landline (these days a land-line is almost superfluous anyway,) or the credit for the deposit that is so often required for utilities. Vehicles have payment plans and attractive “no credit required” deals. Things that we used to think of as status symbols are not so much today.
But refrigerators. Seriously? The members of the Heritage Foundation should be ashamed of themselves. And that is the real point of my rambling. These are a group of academics, and sadly, the only ones that the GOP can use without seeming like “elitist liberal intellectuals.” They’ve sold out to the big bucks and can’t be trusted. Their studies are one-sided; their results are skewed if not entirely spurious. Granted, we’ve know this about them for as long as the foundation has lasted. It’s sickening to me that they exist. It’s an abomination and gross misuse of the public’s trust in knowledge. The media that reports on these “findings” should know better as well – but this is what we’ve come to expect, at least from the “news” organization FOX.
If you want to know more about modern poverty, I’d suggest checking out this site: http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_831.html The link will take you to the National Center for Children in Poverty, more specifically to a “Statement on Establishing a Modern Poverty Measure” by Nancy Cauthen published in 2008 (however, still quite relevant.) Also there are other links to information on the topic.
11 Things The Wealthiest Americans Could Buy For the U.S. That Most Families Can’t Afford For Themselves
The most important short-term problem is jobs. The human and social costs of unemployment are crippling – you stay poorer for a far longer time, your health is worse, you die younger, your children do worse in school, your family is more likely to break up, you are more likely to fall into poverty, you lose your trust in public institutions, and the social bonds that knit communities together dissipate. During this recession, unemployment spiked, and it hasn’t really fallen. This is a jobless recovery, quite different from the trajectory of past recoveries. There are a number of reasons for this. First, demand is still in a slump, and so firms are not producing. This is not too surprising in the aftermath of a major collapse in housing and financial markets. Second, the sorry state of the housing market is inhibiting mobility – it has become much harder to follow the jobs. So clearly, fixing the problems in the housing market is a priority. Other policies include direct hiring subsidies, payroll tax holidays, or a spurt of labor-intensive public investment in needed infrastructure. Sadly, none of these items are on the agenda. Instead of being the most important policy challenge, it is being ignored.