I had this scum bag parasite student in my economics class one time. He claimed he was the "poor starving college student" and had to go on "MinnCare" Minnesota's state subsidized health care.
So there I, as well as all the other working students in class, are paying for this little brat's health care.
Next day he comes in with a brand new portable DVD player and "The Family Guy" DVD set.
Another interesting anecdote is about strippers and dental work.
Friend of mine just opened up a dental practice and was amazed how many strippers she has patronizing her practice. She was even more amazed with their spending patterns in that when it comes to "basic" dental work like fillings, braces, etc., the (again) beloved State of Minnesota takes mine and your money to help these...err...um.."disadvantaged women."
But if they want non-basic or "cosmetic" dentistry done (teeth whitening, caps, etc.), which the beloved State of Minnesota does not pay for, they have more than enough cash to afford it.
It is the disparity between the "poor" status these people claim to the state in order to get other people's money and how they actually live that angers me, and no doubt some of you, to no end.
This poses an interesting case then for a different way to measure "poverty."
Officially, government statistics look at an "income based" approached to ascertain whether you are poor and can suck off the money blood of Captain Capitalism and all the other producers of society. However, this is frought with one glaring oversight in that it really isn't "income" that determines your standard of living, but your consumption.
Say you have a suburbanite trophy wife who files seperately in her taxes. She works part time at the local fru-fru shop selling fluff. She only makes say, $10,000 per year to chat and discuss gossip with the other trophy wives. By an income tested means she is "poor."
However, her husband is a VP at the regional investment bank and takes down $250,000 per year, allowing her to spend $249,999 of that money. By a consumption tested means she is rich.
Such an extreme example is not typical for your "poor" or "lower income" folk, but when you consider the bevy of government programs and subsidies that go to "poor" people it shouldn't be a surprise that with free housing, food, day care, child care, and health care, these people have the discretionary income to go and afford themselves DVD players, luxury dental services and so forth.
It may also go a long way in explaining why, when I drive through the public housing projects enroute to the radio show, that the majority of these "poor" people have nicer cars than me.
But fear not ladies and gentlemen, for at the forefront of every battle against socialism are your highly trained, highly intelligence and highly sexy Jedi Knights of the social sciences; economists. They've developed a consumption based measure of the poverty rate that considers what "poor" people consume, rather than earn.
Of course, it would be an easier battle if it seemed all of America wasn't hell-bent on becoming a socialist country in the first place (see post below). Maybe Ireland could use some Jedi Economists.