Nobel Laureate Eliezer Wiesel once stated that “the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” Indeed, our nation is filled with individuals who are aloof toward the general welfare of their fellow man. It would be awesome if our country and our world were totally free from the painful and oppressive grip of poverty. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
There are more than one billion people in the world who live on less than one dollar a day. Every year, six million children die from malnutrition before their fifth birthday, and more than 800 million people go to bed hungry every day. A total of 114 million children do not get a basic education.
In America, such sobering statistics are not atypical. According to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 39.8 million people and 8.1 million families that are living below the poverty line and 15.4 million Americans that are in extreme poverty, which means that their family’s cash income is less than half of the poverty line, or less than about $10,000 a year for a family of four. Per hunger facts from Feeding America, there are more than 50.2 million Americans who live in households with very low availability and access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food and who frequently visit emergency kitchens and pantries.
Interestingly, the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation believes that impoverished individuals in America really are not poor despite the abovementioned data. To be sure, there are varying degrees of poverty when comparing Third World and developed countries. Yes, one can arguably state that the poor in certain areas of East Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Caribbean suffer more than individuals here in the States. But, the fact remains that being poor is multivariate and relative to each environment and cannot be discredited upon comparative analyses.
Instead of focusing on the facts and thoroughly researching the complex nature of the topic, the Heritage Foundation chose to center on general stereotypes to paint the remarkable picture that the poor in America are living large and “ballin.” Hence, in their opinion, “entitlements” such as welfare, food stamps and the like should be abolished. Of course, these are certainly not the views of every Republican. But, the Heritage Foundation and certain Fox News hosts do believe the following five reasons why the poor in America really are not poor.
1. The poor in America have nice kitchens.
Yes, according to the Heritage Foundation, the typical “poor” household has a refrigerator, coffee maker, a microwave and an oven and stove. Wow! So, members of the conservative think tank have personally observed impoverished individuals in blighted areas around the country with plush kitchens. Seriously?
2. The poor in America have air conditioning.
According to the Heritage Foundation, more than three out of four “poor” households have air conditioning. This is certainly a misleading fact when multiple reports have indicated that the recent heat wave is disproportionately affecting millions of poor individuals around the nation who have no electricity nor running water in their homes.