No, Joe, Half of Americans Aren't Poor

In a huge pander to his base, Biden claims "almost half" are "living in poverty."

Robin Smith · Jun. 25, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden recently declared to the attendees of the Poor People’s Campaign Candidate Forum, “We have … almost half of the people in the United States living in poverty.”

Huh? The population of the U.S. in 2018 was estimated to be just over 327 million. So, according to the leading Democrat presidential candidate, about 163 million individuals in this nation are living in poverty — in what may be one of the best economic windows of time in modern history. The U.S. currently enjoys essentially full employment, wage growth is on the upward swing, GDP growth is around 3%, and investors are loving a stock market flirting with a historic 27,000 points.

Poverty is calculated in different ways, as reported by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker that gave a bit of analysis on Uncle Joe’s tall tale. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 12.3% of the population, not almost 50%, were below the federal poverty line back in 2017. Individuals in that slice of the demographic pie were making less than $12,060 in 2017, with families of four earning just $24,600. Even applying the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) of the Census Bureau that employs a more generous definition as to the unit of family measured, as well as lowers the reported income by removing expenses such as childcare and any medical costs, those falling below the poverty level at most totaled 13.9%.

So, Joe, where are you getting that “almost half”?

The Biden campaign responded to the WaPo Fact Checker that they were using the SPM and looking at all whose incomes fell below 200% of poverty level. That does move the figure to 43.3% — which Biden then embellished even further — but it’s really not about the numbers. Focus on the tactic and message.

“It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant,” President Ronald Reagan once said. “It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

Nowhere near half of America’s population is poor. But, in 2019, the Left’s only effective message involves the contagion of envy, not empowerment or even equality. The best way to ensure that there’s a great pandemic of resentment and discontent is to preach the hateful spew of victimhood — to half of the population.

(Conversely, remember how savagely Mitt Romney was attacked for rightly noting that “47% of Americans pay no income tax” and thus would be less inclined to vote for him.)

The Poor People’s Forum was the perfect place for Biden to read from the holy screed of covetousness and ill will. It makes Democrats the saviors of the malcontents who look at another’s success not with hope or inspiration but hatred and resentment. Nevertheless, Joe and the other Democrats were faithful to proselytize to their prospective campaign congregants with the prejudicial posits that the evil Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, are the real cause of their supposed victimhood status.

The “War on Poverty” through the “Great Society” began in the 1960s. Here we are 55 years later and, using 2014 figures, having spent more than $22 trillion (What was that pesky national debt figure?), we’re still hearing that government is the solution to those in need. The fire of Freedom is being snuffed out with every single entitlement, program, and agency created to stifle self-reliance and the will to be independent of a growing population.

What else did Biden say at the Poor People’s Forum? He promised, “First thing I would do as president is eliminate the president’s tax cut.” Yes, your math is accurate — that means tax increases all around. This is right in line with an interview the champion of socialism held last week. Bernie Sanders proclaimed, “I suspect that a lot of people in this country would be delighted to pay more in taxes if they had comprehensive health care as a human right.”

Let’s correct that, Bernie. There are a lot of people who’d like other peoples’ taxes to go up to pay for health insurance that they currently may not have, along with any other goodie from the list of freebies coming from the Democrats. Sanders himself pays only “the taxes I owe” — not what he demands of others.

If Biden and Bernie, along with the rest of the field of Democratic Socialists, get their way, the elimination of Republican tax reform will mean that a single parent will “be delighted” to pay $1,300 more in taxes and a family of four having a combined income of $73,000 will boost their patriotism, as Biden declared in 2008, by paying $2,000 more to Uncle Sam.

Joe, it just ain’t so that almost half of Americans are living in poverty. Even an article at the leftist rag Vox challenges the premise that millions of Americans are destitute. The writer, Ryan Briggs of Virginia Tech, flatly noted, “Don’t believe it.” Citing the measurements for the poor globally reflect consumption as compared to the U.S. metric of income and a study establishing that “very few Americans are deprived of their most basic material needs,” the Vox analysis contradicts Joe, Bernie, and the gang attempting to win the hearts and minds of the disgruntled.

There is poverty. There are inequities. But the correction is not to take from those who are productive in some faux philanthropy to boost voter rolls. The playbook of the Democrats for this election cycle is exactly the same: lie, preach victimhood, and grow the government to plunder from those who are law-abiding and productive to sustain the malcontents, not just those in true need.

Don’t be ignorant; see through the things that just aren’t so.

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