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Monday, July 14, 2008


Poverty in America

The city of New York, sensibly realizing that federal poverty standards based primarily on the cost of food are invalid, has updated their measuring methods to include clothing, shelter, transportation, utilities and out-of-pocket medical expenses. Not exactly a radical concept. As a result, the number of people they consider are living in poverty in New York City is now an almost unbelievable 23 percent. Not that the previous rate, 18.9 percent, was much better. Whether the number is 1 in 4, or 1 in 5, it's still an utterly appalling reflection on a country and, ultimately, on the economic system on which it rests - capitalism.

By the way, this new "method" of measurement, hardly requiring brilliant insight, was actually proposed to Congress in 1995 by the National Academy of Sciences. However Democrats and Republicans alike have no interest in seeing poverty statistics, any more than unemployment statistics, accurately reflect the state of the country. Calling capitalism into question isn't something they are about to do.

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