Over on SurvivalBlog, Monday’s quote of the day was:
"Americans who are in the bottom 10th of income distribution live better today than kings lived in 1800. They have better health care, cheaper entertainment, cheaper books, longer life expectancy, air conditioning, central heating, and much more. This has come as a result of the private property system, the future-orientation of a broad mass of savers, and the willingness of entrepreneurs to invest their time and money to meet the wants of consumers in the future." - Dr. Gary North
A couple of years ago or so, I posted this:
“Overall, the typical American defined as 'poor' by the government has a car (31% of ‘poor’ households own two cars), air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR, or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry, and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs... A third of ‘poor’ households have both cell and land-line telephones... If work in each family were raised to 2,000 hours per year—the equivalent of one adult working 40 hours per week... nearly 75 percent of poor children would be lifted out of official poverty... If poor mothers married the fathers of their children, nearly three quarters of the nation’s impoverished youth would immediately be lifted out of poverty... A quarter of legal immigrants and fifty to sixty percent of illegals are high-school dropouts. By contrast, only nine percent of non-immigrant Americans lack a high school degree. As long as the present steady flow of poverty-prone persons... continues, efforts to reduce the total number of poor in the U.S. will be far more difficult. A sound anti-poverty strategy must not only seek to increase work and marriage among native born Americans, it must also end illegal immigration, and dramatically increase the skill level of... legal immigrants.” —Robert Rector
About 25 years ago, a social worker in my rural Appalachian county’s health department told me this true story. A woman participating in one of the health department programs mentioned she needed a bed for a couple of her children, but they just didn’t have the money to buy one.
My friend A., a social worker there, decided to take it upon himself to meet this family’s need. So, over the next couple of weeks, he talked to merchants, churches, and individuals getting a headboard here, a footboard there, some rails another place, and finally, a new mattress and box springs.
A. called the woman and told her he had a bed for her kids. They arranged for her to pick it up at the health department. On the appointed day and time, there she was. She had borrowed a pickup truck and was ready to take delivery. After they loaded the bed into the truck, the woman turned to A. and said, “You don’t know how much we appreciate this. Our two youngest are sleeping in the box the color television came in.”
Having been very “poor” as the government measures it, I must say that, at least in America, poor is more an attitude, and sometimes culture, rather that a measure of income or assets.