# Poverty

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Moderator Note

Consolidated these from the Spending cuts and flat tax threads

The U.S. Census Bureau.

http://www.scienceforums.net/index.php?showtopic=52710&view=findpost&p=581782

Wups, guess I'll have to scratch the flat-screen TV. Gee.

How about we cut the crap, Pangloss? Your source was not the Census Bureau. Your source was an ideologically biased site for an organization whose stated purpose is
to formulate and promote conservative public policies

This is a secondhand source which fails to make the distinction between poor and below the poverty line. Does the census bureau define poor as below average or does it define poor as below the poverty line? Your source does not say and it doesn't give a link to the actual report so you can quickly find out yourself. Now, let's take a look at your pretty little list there.

According to the Census Bureau:
- 43% of all "poor" households own an average 3-bedroom, 1.5-bath house
- Almost 75% of "poor" households own a car; 31% own 2 or more
- 97% of "poor" households have a color television; over half own 2 or more
- 78% have a VCR or DVD player; 62% have cable or satellite TV
- 89% have a microwave oven; over half have a stereo, more than a third have a dishwasher
- Only 6% of all "poor" households are overcrowded. More than 67% have more than two rooms per person.
- Average child dietary consumption of poor children is on par with children of middle and upper income parents
- 89% of poor families have "enough to eat"; only 2% report "often" not having enough
- 80% of all "poor" households have air conditioning
- The average American "poor" person has greater living space than the average person in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and many other European cities. (The average citizen there, not the average "poor" citizen.)

Does the average person below the poverty line own two cars? Let's look at the numbers you gave. Even if(and that's a big if) 'poor' here does mean a person below the poverty line, you're incorrect. Only 31% have two cars. Almost 3/4 of the 'poor' have any car at all. What is the average condition of the car; is it a brand new Lexus, or is it a '84 Ford POS whose doors must be tied shut with string and whose engine barely makes it through the ride between multiple minimum wage part time jobs? That means over a quarter of those below the poverty line(and presumably more if the 'poor' here is in fact not defined by the Census Bureau to be those below the poverty line) don't even have the '84 Ford POS that's about to die. How many regions of low income housing are both within walking distance of available employment and a store(think walking home from the store in the middle of summer hoping your milk doesn't go bad). How many of these people are driving without car insurance?

The majority of the 'poor' have a colour television. Ok, is it a brand new flatscreen like you said, or is it an ancient hand-me-down? Maybe it was a christmas gift for the person when they were in high school and lived in an upper middle class family and they just happen to still have it now that they're on their own below the poverty line. Maybe it was bought before mommy and daddy got laid off. Maybe daddy used up his whole tax check to get an old TV so Suzie can watch cartoons and have a sense of normalcy. The statistics lack vital context. Perhaps that number about the VCR can give us a bit more info on the state of technology of these televisions.

As for the DVD players, I bought a DVD player 5 years ago at Walmart for less than $15(and I still have it). We aren't still living in the days where DVD players cost hundreds of dollars. If they already have the television, is it too much for daddy to spend less than$15(probably less than $10 by now) on a DVD player for the family for Christmas? The average dietary consumption of 'poor' children is on par with that of the middle class ones? You know, that'd make sense if they eat half their meals at school and public schools all have essentially the same food. The last two(air conditioning and average footage) don't really say much at all about poverty; it's more about the state of the modern American housing market. The vast majority of houses in the US have air conditioning and happen to be larger than most European houses. That means if anyone(poor or not) lives somewhere in the US, they more than likely live in a place with air conditioning and square footage more representative of America than Europe. Or should the poor specifically seek out cramped housing with no air conditioning as punishment for not being rich? You know what, most 'poor' also eat on a significantly raised surface like normal Americans rather than at floor level like the traditional Japanese; HOW DARE THEY! The numbers you presented lack all vital context of origin and condition, many of them are completely irrelevant as they aren't really indicative of poverty, and some of them even go so far as to prove the point opposite of what you want to make. So, not only are you (and your admittedly biased source) lying with statistics, you're doing so poorly. I'll be sure to tell the TEA Party to shut up because Pangloss says the poor aren't really poor. Now, how does any of this impact what I said about flat taxes disproportionately burdening the poor? Oh, wait, it doesn't. Let's look at some numbers(we'll analyze for a couple at the poverty line): I(Income at Poverty Line for households of two people): 1,214.17/month US Federal Payroll Tax: 15.3% Rent for a dilapidated unsafe efficiency from a slumlord:$350/month

Grocery for a weeks worth of meals and leftovers: $35 Water:$40/month

Lights: $40/month Federal taxes withheld(poverty line times tax rate):$185.77
Income after taxes: $1028.40 Income after taxes and vital expenses above:$458.40

Note the absence of any state tax, health insurance, or

That's a 37% cushion from a normal flat tax.

Now, let's look at a couple with someone making $40,000/yr with the same basic needs. Income:$3333.33/month
Withheld: $510 After taxes:$2823.33
After expenses: \$2253.33
Cushion: 68%

That's a 31% difference in cushion between the poverty line and the middle class(not to mention the difference between the poverty line and the rich). Keep in mind that many of the 'poor' are under rather that at the poverty line. How does a normal flat tax not disproportionately burden the poor?

Now, let's look at a modified flat tax for the same two cases. This raises the cushion of the poverty line case to 45% and the middle class cushion to 70% which is only a difference of 25%. Everyone is taxed less, but the effect diminishes as income increases; that means everyone's surplus is taxed the same, but it results in help for those who need it. The obscenely rich aren't really affected by the change at all, but they don't need any extra help; the upper class are helped a little; the middle class more; and those below the poverty line most. If the poor are so well off as you imply, what's the big deal? It's effectively a tax cut for the vast majority of the population. Edited by swansont
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How about we cut the crap, Pangloss? Your source was not the Census Bureau.

Yes it was. I quoted analysis from a conservative think-tank, but their analysis was based on data straight from the US Census Bureau.

And I noticed that in all that text you didn't refute a single statistic.

This is a secondhand source which fails to make the distinction between poor and below the poverty line.

The Census Bureau doesn't make such a distinction. That's part of the problem. Too many people want the data to suit their ideology. Not enough people want to find out what's really going on.

What is the average condition of the car

What difference does that make? You started this thread by complaining about the impact of a flat tax on the cost of food. In my opinion the fact that most families below the poverty line own two cars and all that other stuff suggests that the basic cost of food, for most of those people, is not a major concern. Prove me wrong. Until then I'm calling them the "Playstation Poor".

I'm not saying there aren't people who struggle with basic needs. I'm saying we don't know how many of those people there are. Which means we have no reason to believe that it's a large number. Which means we have no logical reason to shape major policy direction around that point.

Don't yell at me, yell at the Census Bureau.

Now, how does any of this impact what I said about flat taxes disproportionately burdening the poor? Oh, wait, it doesn't. Let's look at some numbers(we'll analyze for a couple at the poverty line):

Yeah, the poor people don't have as much of a "cushion" as the middle class. So what?

The real problem is that right now most poor don't pay any annual income/payroll tax. This was discussed in several news stories following the last major tax cycle in 2010. Under a flat tax they would have to pay the same as everyone else. So what you should be doing is hootin' and hollerin' about how they'd face a massive tax increase.

Mr Skeptic's idea of allowing deductions ahead of a flat tax calculation seems like a reasonable idea. If, for the sake of argument, that allowed the working poor to stay off income tax (after all they still pay sales tax, etc), then that would probably mean a higher flat tax for everyone else.

The hard part, of course -- the political struggle -- would be deciding where to draw that line.

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Yes it was. I quoted analysis from a conservative think-tank

So, YOUR source was not the Census Bureau. Thanks for confirming what I said. You used a secondhand source. Then again, I like your style. I'm gonna start quoting wikipedia and claiming its sources are my own.

And I noticed that in all that text you didn't refute a single statistic.

That greatly depends on how you define 'refute'. Did I show that they were irrelevant, out of context, and actually went against what you said? Yes. Did I show that you were blatantly wrong? Yes. Did I show that the cited numbers were incorrect? No.

You were completely unable to show that the average person below the poverty had either a flat screen or two cars, let alone both.

The Census Bureau doesn't make such a distinction.

The Census Bureau doesn't define what they mean by poor? o.O

I doubt they randomly select a portion of the population and declared them poor.

What difference does that make?
To what you were saying, it makes a world of difference. You were claiming that the poor weren't really poor, but had a great standard of living. But if quality doesn't make a difference, I'll trade you my car for yours.

You started this thread by complaining about the impact of a flat tax on the cost of food.
You can have your straw man back, thank you.

In my opinion the fact that most families below the poverty line own two cars and all that other stuff suggests that the basic cost of food, for most of those people, is not a major concern. Prove me wrong.

I already did. Your "facts" are devoid of anything of the sort. The numbers you provided proved you wrong. And for many people, transportation is required to get food or employment.

Until then I'm calling them the "Playstation Poor".
And I'm gonna call you dishonest. Thanks.

I'm not saying there aren't people who struggle with basic needs. I'm saying we don't know how many of those people there are.
How don't we? We have tax records and we have ballpark numbers for basic needs.

Don't yell at me, yell at the Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau isn't the one dishonestly trying to imply a high standard of living using statistics that are completely out of context. That's you; you're the one lying with statistics.

Yeah, the poor people don't have as much of a "cushion" as the middle class. So what?

So, they're disproportionately burdened. I didn't even take into account state taxes or healthcare, let alone the gas and insurance for the two cars you say each of them has. That means they have no safety net at all. Even without any extraneous goods and living in horrible conditions, they're still completely and utterly screwed if they have get hurt and have to go to the hospital. Do you know the average cost of an ambulance ride and a few stitches?

I see you're conflating the difference between my rejecting your characterization of government merely charging for goods and services with rejecting government goods and services. I'm not interested in toll roads. Not sure what you read that made you think so.

You said it's the worst model ever. So, presumably, you'd rather pay the direct cost.

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So, YOUR source was not the Census Bureau.

No, the source for the statistics I quoted was the US Census Bureau.

You were completely unable to show that the average person below the poverty had either a flat screen or two cars, let alone both.

I retracted my comment about the flat screen. Regarding the two cars, I quoted a government source that said exactly that.

The Census Bureau doesn't define what they mean by poor? o.O

I doubt they randomly select a portion of the population and declared them poor.

That's not what I said. What I said is that they define a "poverty line" that includes the statistics I mentioned, including:

According to the Census Bureau:

- 43% of all "poor" households own an average 3-bedroom, 1.5-bath house

- Almost 75% of "poor" households own a car; 31% own 2 or more

- 97% of "poor" households have a color television; over half own 2 or more

- 78% have a VCR or DVD player; 62% have cable or satellite TV

- 89% have a microwave oven; over half have a stereo, more than a third have a dishwasher

- Only 6% of all "poor" households are overcrowded. More than 67% have more than two rooms per person.

- Average child dietary consumption of poor children is on par with children of middle and upper income parents

- 89% of poor families have "enough to eat"; only 2% report "often" not having enough

- 80% of all "poor" households have air conditioning

- The average American "poor" person has greater living space than the average person in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and many other European cities. (The average citizen there, not the average "poor" citizen.)

All of those statistics are directly supported by the US Census Bureau in direct study.

You were claiming that the poor weren't really poor, but had a great standard of living.

No, what I said was that I have been given no reason to believe that the Playstation Poor has any difficulty buying food.

The numbers you provided proved you wrong.

Prove it. All I know is this data from the United States Census Bureau.

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No, the source for the statistics I quoted was the US Census Bureau.

Sweet. Thanks for the awesome citation method, dood.

I retracted my comment about the flat screen. Regarding the two cars, I quoted a government source that said exactly that.

Um, no. Not even close. In fact, they said the opposite. Perhaps you should learn to read your own statistics before you make stuff up.

That's not what I said. What I said is that they define a "poverty line" that includes the statistics I mentioned, including:

No, you didn't. You said that they made no distinction. What is their definition of "poor"? Is it the people below actual poverty line to which I linked, or is it some other number. Your actual source made no such explication. If they are not the same, then you are equivocating as well as lying with statistics.

Prove it. All I know is this data from the United States Census Bureau.

I already did. You know that long post you nearly completely brushed off. Full of math and numbers and showing that your statistics are irrelevant at best and go directly against what you said at worst....you know, that one?

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Here's where I retracted my comment about the flat-screen TVs:

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/54666-is-a-fair-flat-tax-possible/page__view__findpost__p__588262

The statistics on cars said exactly what I said they did.

According to the Census Bureau:

- 43% of all "poor" households own an average 3-bedroom, 1.5-bath house

- Almost 75% of "poor" households own a car; 31% own 2 or more

- 97% of "poor" households have a color television; over half own 2 or more

- 78% have a VCR or DVD player; 62% have cable or satellite TV

- 89% have a microwave oven; over half have a stereo, more than a third have a dishwasher

- Only 6% of all "poor" households are overcrowded. More than 67% have more than two rooms per person.

- Average child dietary consumption of poor children is on par with children of middle and upper income parents

- 89% of poor families have "enough to eat"; only 2% report "often" not having enough

- 80% of all "poor" households have air conditioning

- The average American "poor" person has greater living space than the average person in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and many other European cities. (The average citizen there, not the average "poor" citizen.)

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Here's where I retracted my comment about the flat-screen TVs:

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/54666-is-a-fair-flat-tax-possible/page__view__findpost__p__588262

The statistics on cars said exactly what I said they did.

According to the Census Bureau:

- 43% of all "poor" households own an average 3-bedroom, 1.5-bath house

- Almost 75% of "poor" households own a car; 31% own 2 or more

- 97% of "poor" households have a color television; over half own 2 or more

- 78% have a VCR or DVD player; 62% have cable or satellite TV

- 89% have a microwave oven; over half have a stereo, more than a third have a dishwasher

- Only 6% of all "poor" households are overcrowded. More than 67% have more than two rooms per person.

- Average child dietary consumption of poor children is on par with children of middle and upper income parents

- 89% of poor families have "enough to eat"; only 2% report "often" not having enough

- 80% of all "poor" households have air conditioning

- The average American "poor" person has greater living space than the average person in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and many other European cities. (The average citizen there, not the average "poor" citizen.)

And what you just bolded invalidated the other part of the statement. By your sweet math skills and the bolded statement, we can say that the average person in this 'poor' category(regardless of whether or not it actually means someone below the poverty line) has no car. So, how do we know if the average is no car or two?

Edited by ydoaPs
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By your sweet math skills and the bolded statement, we can say that the average person in this 'poor' category(regardless of whether or not it actually means someone below the poverty line) has no car. So, how do we know if the average is no car or two?

What we know, thanks to the Census Bureau and it's "sweet" math skills, is that 75% of those who live below the official poverty line have a car, and 31% of them have two.

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What we know, thanks to the Census Bureau and it's "sweet" math skills, is that 75% of those who live below the official poverty line have a car, and 31% of them have two.

And that you were blatantly wrong. Good job.

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This is reminding me of pcollins - I think that's his name. Do I have that right Pangloss? He would "hide" the crux of his points with repeated appeals about how someone was wrong and never give away that precious nugget that made it so.

How about cut the shit and share that nugget, ydoaPs? Where is he wrong on his "sweet" math skills? This Sarah Palin method you're using is just as unsuccessful as when she uses it.

31% has two cars

<25% has NO car

How on Earth does that statistically amount to the average person having two cars? That's right, it doesn't....at all. So, I'll say again, the statistics Pangloss posted directly contradict his statement.

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And more so if we are talking about "people" rather than "households".

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How on Earth does that statistically amount to the average person having two cars? That's right, it doesn't....at all. So, I'll say again, the statistics Pangloss posted directly contradict his statement.

You're right it doesn't. And that has nothing to do with how many cars the average person below the poverty line has.

Just kidding. I know what you meant. I honestly did not see the "two" car claim by Pangloss until you repeated it in post 52. Your previous reference was post 25 at the tippy top of a paragraph you spent mostly assailing the stats with car quality.

I have to take responsibility for missing it though, so I humbly apologize for giving you shit about it.

I do think it would help to recognize when you are locked in a "you're wrong" "no, you're wrong" back and forth. When that happens, you can bet somebody missed a crucial nugget. I was starring at the math trying to figure out how Pangloss was wrong about interpreting the stats to say the average poor person below the poverty line had a car. I wonder if Pangy missed it too...

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Rofl, sure sure, I'm completely wrong.

Yep, you sure are. I'm glad it didn't take more than 2 pages for you to figure that out.

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Well I have to say you're right about one thing -- the poor often have trouble buying basic necessities. I have a student who has put off purchasing new eyeglasses and has been struggling to see the whiteboard and projector screen from the front row for the last two quarters. During which time he's purchased three video games on release date, a new laptop, and an iPhone. (chuckle)

Gotta love the Playstation Poor!

I was starring at the math trying to figure out how Pangloss was wrong about interpreting the stats to say the average poor person below the poverty line had a car. I wonder if Pangy missed it too...

Waaay too subtle, man.

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• 2 weeks later...

Uttery misery, you say? According to the Census Bureau:

- 43% of all "poor" households own an average 3-bedroom, 1.5-bath house

- Almost 75% of "poor" households own a car; 31% own 2 or more

- 97% of "poor" households have a color television; over half own 2 or more

- 78% have a VCR or DVD player; 62% have cable or satellite TV

- 89% have a microwave oven; over half have a stereo, more than a third have a dishwasher

- Only 6% of all "poor" households are overcrowded. More than 67% have more than two rooms per person.

- Average child dietary consumption of poor children is on par with children of middle and upper income parents

- 89% of poor families have "enough to eat"; only 2% report "often" not having enough

- 80% of all "poor" households have air conditioning

- The average American "poor" person has greater living space than the average person in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and many other European cities. (The average citizen there, not the average "poor" citizen.)

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2007/08/how-poor-are-americas-poor-examining-the-plague-of-poverty-in-america

I saw the link to these stats in your signature, from which you conclude that

According to the US Census Bureau, most of those who live below the poverty line have a 3-bedroom house, multiple color TVs with cable or satellite and a VCR or DVD, a microwave oven, a stereo, a dishwasher, air conditioning, enough to eat, and are not overcrowded. They have at least one car, many with two, and their children have dietary intake on par with middle and upper income children.

Unfortunately, this is not supported by the statistics. The most obvious error is that "more than a third have a dishwasher" is not "most." But a little more subtle is that, even though a majority may have a stereo, and the majority may have 2 TVs and the majority may have stereo, the statistics do not say that this is simultaneously true. In the situation that 51% had X and 51% had Y, it's possible that just 2% have both, which is far from most. Further, 43% own their own home, and of that group, the average is three bedrooms. That does not imply that the average poor person owns a three bedroom house. The "average" poor person (one of the 57%) does not own a house at all.

The statistics do not support your signature.

As to other items, since 57% rent (less the ones who have no housing at all), is it really surprising that they have amenities that can come with a rental property? When I lived just a tad above the poverty line (six years of grad school) the properties I rented had some of those items (e.g. dishwasher, disposal). Of the one who owned their home, I see no mention of the status of their mortgages.

Comparing living space with European city living space is disingenuous, because of the premium on living space in large cities. It's not an outright falsehood, but is cherry picking.

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I saw the link to these stats in your signature, from which you conclude that

Unfortunately, this is not supported by the statistics. The most obvious error is that "more than a third have a dishwasher" is not "most." But a little more subtle is that, even though a majority may have a stereo, and the majority may have 2 TVs and the majority may have stereo, the statistics do not say that this is simultaneously true. In the situation that 51% had X and 51% had Y, it's possible that just 2% have both, which is far from most. Further, 43% own their own home, and of that group, the average is three bedrooms. That does not imply that the average poor person owns a three bedroom house. The "average" poor person (one of the 57%) does not own a house at all.

The statistics do not support your signature.

As to other items, since 57% rent (less the ones who have no housing at all), is it really surprising that they have amenities that can come with a rental property? When I lived just a tad above the poverty line (six years of grad school) the properties I rented had some of those items (e.g. dishwasher, disposal). Of the one who owned their home, I see no mention of the status of their mortgages.

Comparing living space with European city living space is disingenuous, because of the premium on living space in large cities. It's not an outright falsehood, but is cherry picking.

We've had this conversation before. Not only do the statistics not support the letter of his comments, given the severe lack of context of the statistics, any attempt at drawing the implication of the spirit of his comments is incredibly intellectually dishonest(unless Pangloss has the level of understanding of statistics as to believe that the average human has both one testicle and one ovary). In addition, many of the statistics don't reflect the difference between the 'poor' and the rest of the population at all as discussed in the post to which I linked.

These comments are coming from someone who claimed(for two pages) that if 31% of a group(not necessarily 'those below the poverty line' as that was not established as the meaning of 'poor' in his source) have 2 cars and >25% have no car at all, then the average person in that group have 2 cars.

Edited by ydoaPs
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Yeah yeah, and my mother dresses me funny.

I appreciate the corrections and I will adjust my signature accordingly. I was trying to save space, and in the process I clearly introduced additional error. Thanks.

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Yeah yeah, and my mother dresses me funny.

I appreciate the corrections and I will adjust my signature accordingly. I was trying to save space, and in the process I clearly introduced additional error. Thanks.

One wonders why it would be in your signature at all since you can't really draw much of any implication on quality of living out of the statistics.

At least you're not passing legislation based on lies and (heavily edited) video tape.

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Sure, the analysis is mainly a political statement, but so is the "poverty line", at least in terms of its usage in support of social spending programs. The oft-heard meme is something like this: "The nation's homeless/poor is a growing problem. Over 40 million Americans now live below the poverty line."

In my opinion the Heritage Foundation analysis in response to that usage is valid. You think otherwise, more power to you.

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Sure, the analysis is mainly a political statement, but so is the "poverty line",

Your source does not indicate that 'poor' was taken to be those below the poverty line. Now, the 'poverty line' is something we can actually analyze. We can do calculations to get an idea of the quality of life of people at and below the line.

The statistics you cited cannot be used to make valid judgements as they are completely without context and many of them are irrelevant or directly contradict the implications you are trying to make.

In my opinion the Heritage Foundation analysis in response to that usage is valid. You think otherwise, more power to you.

Lying with statistics is always invalid. Especially when your quoted statistics don't even support your position.

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Your source does not indicate that 'poor' was taken to be those below the poverty line.

Of course not, it doesn't even claim to do that. The error in the example I gave is on the part of any reporter who erroneously draws the conclusion that the "poverty line" supports conclusions about the number of homeless or poor people in the country.

Now, the 'poverty line' is something we can actually analyze. We can do calculations to get an idea of the quality of life of people at and below the line.

Sure. And the quality of that life is accurately reflected in the numbers gathered from those statistics, which are reported in the analysis in my signature.

The statistics you cited cannot be used to make valid judgements as they are completely without context and many of them are irrelevant or directly contradict the implications you are trying to make.

You mean they're without the ideological context that you would have added to them in order to make a political point. When you start elevating the value of context over data, then you're well outside of the realm of science and well into the realm of politics.

Lying with statistics is always invalid. Especially when your quoted statistics don't even support your position.

What lying are you referring to? What position are you referring to?

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Of course not, it doesn't even claim to do that.

Then why do you equate the two in your sig?

Sure. And the quality of that life is accurately reflected in the numbers gathered from those statistics, which are reported in the analysis in my signature.

No, it's not.

You mean they're without the ideological context that you would have added to them in order to make a political point.

I mean that they're without ANY context to make any sort of point from them.
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The poverty line may be skewed upwards in the US (as compared to a number of European countries) due to the high income of the super-rich.

This may lead to over-estimation of poverty. However, in addition to the already mentioned fallacies regarding the presence of amenities, there is also the additional factor of high houusehold debt, which may have helped financing things like cars and TVs (items that are not already included in standard apartments).

Looking carefully over the data will be required for real comparative measures, however the presented data is clearly insufficient to declare (as has been in the sig and a number of posts) that the US poor are extremely well off, or that there are no (or very few poor) at all.

Edited by CharonY
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There are a lot of poor where I come from. Yes, most of them have a car, but it's usually a used car. Yes, most have a TV, but it's not a flat screen. There aren't really any hungry people, because it's nearly impossible to go without food in the US due to the many government programs in place. I don't understand why some statistics would lead to the conclusion that there are no poor in the US.

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Then why do you equate the two in your sig?

I don't. I ask a question.

I mean that they're without ANY context to make any sort of point from them.

How much context is there in a reporter citing the poverty line statistic with no explanation of what that statistic means?

The poverty line may be skewed upwards in the US (as compared to a number of European countries) due to the high income of the super-rich.

This may lead to over-estimation of poverty. However, in addition to the already mentioned fallacies regarding the presence of amenities, there is also the additional factor of high houusehold debt, which may have helped financing things like cars and TVs (items that are not already included in standard apartments).

Looking carefully over the data will be required for real comparative measures, however the presented data is clearly insufficient to declare (as has been in the sig and a number of posts) that the US poor are extremely well off, or that there are no (or very few poor) at all.

I agree, it's a wealthy country and that suggests that the line is being drawn pretty high. Unfortunately that leaves us wondering about the difference between Playstation owners and the homeless.

There are a lot of poor where I come from. Yes, most of them have a car, but it's usually a used car. Yes, most have a TV, but it's not a flat screen. There aren't really any hungry people, because it's nearly impossible to go without food in the US due to the many government programs in place. I don't understand why some statistics would lead to the conclusion that there are no poor in the US.

It shouldn't. It should make one wonder why we're being told that we have 43 million poor people in the US, when the numbers say no such thing.

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