Object or Action… The Verb and the Noun



The other day I attended an meeting at my Church, they have decided it was time to make some much needed changed to the religious education of the middle school youth program. It was time to re-evaluate how they approached the faith formation of youth, what books to use, if any, what grades will be changed and how do we change it… All questions that need answers, along with a million others.

The process of change is hard, as everyone knows, no one likes change, and God knows the Catholic Church does not come to change easily, this is true for the local parish as much as for the Vatican. Change with in the Church is a slow moving process, and for the most part I thing that is a good thing. The Church is not an institution that should change with every new fad in faith. Her traditions and teachings must remain constant, the stability of the Church is one of her strong points. But sometimes even the most simplest of changes take time. Lets face it, the Church moves slow.

Well, back the the meeting, my parish has decided that change is needed, that we must approach the youth is a format and fashion that appeals to them, and I’m sorry, most of what is currently offered as “religious formation” is nothing but memorization of religious facts. Really, facts = faith? Knowing the prayers of the faith is important, memorizing bible passages is important, but does that make one faithful?

Lets look at it in a different light…

Learning math, 2+2=4, does not make me a mathematician, it makes me able to add, subtract and do the simple math needed to navigate life. It also introduces me to math, allowing me to explore it more deeply, if I choose, and maybe I will become a mathematician latter in life. If not no harm, I now know how to add 2+2.

So, as a math teacher (I am not one) my job would not be to create mathematicians but rather to foster the desire to become one. I teach the basics and leave the rest up to the individual.

Much is the same with most things taught, The object of teaching is to pass on the knowledge, not to create new experts.

The exception to the rule…

Once a path has been chosen, such as Doctor, than the object become creating a new expert. So far I would assume that most would agree with me, education, in is simplest form is to pass on needed information, not to create new experts.

Object or Action

I look at it like this, The object of Faith Formation is not to create new Theologians or Priest, but rather to foster the desire to grow more deeply in the faith. Another way to look at it, Are we creating Theologians or Catholics?

Theologian is an object, a noun

Catholic is an action, a verb

The point of faith formation is not to create nouns but to foster verbs.

I would rather see the youth excited about the faith than to see them recite a prayer, yet have no attachment to the faith. With the basics of the faith instilled in them in a new and exciting way we will be creating a new generation of dynamic Catholics, Catholics that are on fire for knowledge, and some will become the new Theologians and Priest and others will be the new laity, the laity that is involved in parish life, that look at the parish as part of, not separated from, the family dynamics.

What will happen at my local parish, will we see the change that needs to come, or will continue to look at faith formation in the same old way? Only time will tell, but with the grace of God and the working of the Holy Sprit we just may…

God Bless

Paul Sposite

Guided Insight Life Coach

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The future of reading?

ted books

It has been sometime since I last posted a blog… But I decided that I should post an update on that’s going on. Any one who reads this blog knows, I love to read all kinds of things. I read Stephen King books, books on politics and faith and the American way, but I was never one to read books on lost of social issues or scientific findings, but that has changed, thanks to TED*.

I am sure all of you have heard of TED Talks, the web-based video talks all around 15 minutes or so on a range of topics. They are informative and often times humorous.  Well they now have a service for TED Books, short, about 30 pages each, informative and humorous. And the topic range is also wide and varied. They are designed to be read in one sitting, something that never happens for me because I love to read 3 or 4 books at one time, depending on my mood and need. But I have read several of the TED Books and can say that so far only one has not inspired or interested me, but I will finish it… One day…

Reading is the fuel of the mind, it opens up new worlds and ideas, it allows your imagination to grow and powers your life. Reading is one of the most important skill sets you can ever have, followed closely by communication skills, verbal and non-verbal.

As someone who makes their living communication daily I know and understand the power of reading. It has opened up my mind to new and powerful thoughts and ideas. It has given me confidence to boldly state my beliefs and defend them, but the coast of books, be they eBooks or paper books, they add up quickly, and that can be a burden on someone who loves to read. But Ted Books are different, it’s a subscription to the library of titles, with new titles added monthly. For about $5 per month I can read as many or as few Ted Books as I want. It’s a wonderful thing…

The books are interactive, with links to the web, TED Talks and other documents or photos to help support the authors topic. You are free to dig-in to the topic or just read straight on through. The amount if knowledge you intake is up to you. Fantastic idea, only wish I would have thought of it!

Every once in a while an idea comes across that will change the world, Well I’m not sure TED Books will change the world, but I know it will change the concept of eBooks and how people will learn. TED Books allows you, the learner, to control what you learn and how much you learn. Click the link or don’t, it’s all up to you. I can see this technology being expanded to include eTextbooks or eManuals, and I hope and pray that some smart and rich Catholic will develop a TED Book type of Catholic library. Quick, easy and informative set of books to help form and teach the 1.2 million Catholic world-wide. If I have the money I would be doing it now. Think of the possibilities, think of the reach, think of the hearts and souls that could be touched.

This is also a perfect outlet for self-help and Life Coaching, quick, to the point and interactive… Often times books can be just to long, the point could have been easily made in a few well worded paragraphs, but due to the nature of books, three paragraphs does not constitute a chapter, but with TED Books it allowed and encouraged. Forcing the author to be direct and to the point. Less room for ambiguity and personal opinion. Often times I have read books where the author spends more time on what they wish or thing than on the facts at hand, confusing the reader and placing a fog over the concept. To me, this is just filler, to make the book thicker, justifying the price. Some of my favorite books are under 100 pages, the point has to be made quickly and the author has to be direct.

In the digital age and the 24/7 age of information we should expect and we should demand or information to be direct and to the point, with the opportunity to dig deeper into the concept if we so choose, and TED Books offers just that.

Give yourself a treat, subscribe to TED Books, check it out, read a few, and if you don’t like it, cancel it, but I am sure you wont, I am sure you will be addicted to them, like I am.

God Bless

Paul Sposite

Guided Insight Life Coach 

*Guided Insight Life Coach nor Paul Sposite are not paid to indorse TED Books, this is just a personal opinion and no money is made from your transactions with TED Books

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Retreat to Success: A Book Review

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Anyone who has read my blog or knows me, knows that I love to read. You would also know that I love to read all different types of books, from Catholic to Stephen King and everything in-between, reading is the elixir of life, books are your friend when no one else it, books are the educators that don’t judge and the parents that teach you silently. I love books, I love to read, even in this day-and-age of eBooks, I still prefer the good old fashion paper books.

When ever I travel I always bring a few books, on my last trip to Mexico City I brought along a Stephen King book, “The wind through the key hole” and “Bill & Billy Moyer and Amber Fogarty’s “Retreat to Success”. This is the second book I have read by Bill & Billy, their fist, “Seeds of Success” was a joy to read and I was looking forward to reading “Retreat to Success”.

Product Details

Like there first book, “Retreat” was short and to the point, something I love in self-help books. They see no reason to waste the reader’s time with lots of words, but rather, they get to the point and move on. Time is valuable and they understand this. But leaving out the unneeded words does nothing to diminish the effectiveness of this little book, in fact, if anything, it makes this book even more valuable is someone’s collection.

Each chapter of this book alternates between the three different authors as they journey together through a retreat. The insights they gain, the struggles they face and the lessons learned are laid out. Each unit contains the retreat masters questions and the attendees take-a-ways. Having attended weekend retreats before, I understand the mental and physical toll this can take on a person, the pure physical exhaustion one feels at the end of the retreat along with the feeling of accomplishment. I know, for me, that my mind races and new thoughts and ideas abound within me, and I seem to find new and exciting insights in every word uttered by the retreat master. To me that hard part is digesting the information, to find the one of two points that speak directly to my life, to my needs. Bill, Billy and Amber did just that, they where able to find the nuggets of information that not only spoke to them and there needs, but also to me. They made it personal, not only to themselves, but also personal to me. That is a hard thing to do, I know, I try to make that happen in each and every blog I write, it a fine wire between writhe an article that speaks to everyone and a journal that speaks to only the author, “Retreat to Success” does just that, if speaks to everyone.

I would recommend this book, along with their first book, to anyone who is serious about wanting to grow, to grow as a parent, a wife or husband or a business leader. Leadership is not just a corporate thing, in fact I would say that true leadership is more a  humanity thing than anything else. We all are leaders, or at least we all should be. By spend a few hours with a hot cup of tea, curled up in your favorite chair reading “Retreat to Success” will be time well spent. 

I love to read, I love to learn and I love to grow, and “Retreat to Success” fulfilled all three objectives. So what was my take-a-way from this book, what one nugget did I dig out of the book, that a goal should not be a tangible thing but an idea. For example, my goal should not be “I want to make a million dollars”, sure it’s a fine goal, but once I make it, than what. My goal should be “I want to be successful in my company”. The difference, the first goal places a value on my success, a million dollars, the second leaves room for continues improvement. Success is a moving target, something I need to always be monitoring and adjusting my actions to achieve, and in truth, one never fully achieves this goal, because success is a continuation, it never stops calling to you. Success is not measured by dollar amounts, but by relevance. How relevant are you? Whose life have you effected today, in a positive manner and how have your actions or lack of actions made a difference in the world around you, these are the measures of success, not how much money you have or how big your house is. Success is not things, success is legacy, what did you leave behind for others?

Read, learn and grow, the keys to success. Add Bill, Billy and Amber’s book “Retreat to Success” to your book collection, read it, learn from it and grow. It will be time well spent.

God Bless


Paul Sposite

Guided Insight Life Coach

Link to their web site, SOS Leadership


Could Boys Town work today? And other thoughts on Charity and Social Justice.

Cover of "Boys Town"

Cover of Boys Town

“What’s “just” has been debated for centuries, but let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then, tell me how much of what I earn “belongs” to you — and why?”
— Walter Williams

Williams was born into an AfricanAmerican family. His family during childhood consisted of himself, his mother, and his sister. His father played no role in raising either child.[3] He grew up in Philadelphia. The family initially lived in West Philadelphia, moving to North Philadelphia and the Richard Allen housing projects when Williams was ten. His neighbors included a young Bill Cosby. Williams knew many of the individuals that Cosby speaks of from his childhood, including Weird Harold and Fat Albert.[4]

Williams was a talented high school student who displayed a very inconsistent performance in his studies. Following high school he came out to stay with his father in California, and attended one semester at Los Angeles City College, in regard to which he would later state that he was not ready yet to be a serious student.[5] In 1959 he was drafted into the military, and served as a Private in the United States Army.[4][6] While serving in the Army, he “waged a one man battle against Jim Crow from inside the army (where he was nearly court-martialed for challenging the racial order).”[4] Williams:

wrote a letter to President John F. Kennedy denouncing the pervasive racism of the American government and military. “Should Negroes be relieved of their service obligation or continue defending and dying for empty promises of freedom and equality,” Williams demanded of the president. “Or should we demand human rights as our Founding Fathers did at the risk of being called extremists….I contend that we relieve ourselves of oppression in a manner that is in keeping with the great heritage of our nation.”[4]  (Link)

The above article, or at least part of the article from Wikipedia and the beginning quote should be an inspiration to all Americans, it talks of Faith, faith in the American system, faith in self and faith in humanity. It talks of self-reliance and justice, not handouts and welfare.  It talks about picking yourself up and taking care of business, your business, and not relaying on the government to do it for you. I like that!

So what is “just”?

As a Catholic, social justice is a huge part of my faith, we have Bishops and everyday pew sitters working on this issue daily, we have documents coming from the Vatican and our local Church. I could spend hours reading and re-reading the documents, many of them online and available for free. I can read the words of many a great men, saints and some not so saintly. But in the end, I think that simple quote above states it very distinctly:

I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then, tell me how much of what I earn “belongs” to you — and why?”


That about states it all… Now I can hear everyone asking, what about the poor, who is going to help them… We need to take and give to them.. True, I agree, you are correct. But… And this is a big but… It’s not the government’s job to decide who or what charities I want to support, it is not the governments job to decide how much is too much. That my friends, it totally up to me… That is “just”.

Humanity will, if allowed, care for herself. In the United Stated we have proven this, prior to big government stepping in, it was left to the local communities to care for one another, and they always did. During the many recessions and depressions this country has gone through, the local community always cared for their own. As it should be. The “Great Society” and the “New Deal” and all other forms of Social Engineering has done nothing to change the simple fact that we will always have the poor. But what it has done is created a whole generation that is now dependent upon the government to fix and provide for all there needs. No longer is it a community coming together, but now it laws and regulations and dependency.

The local out reach programs, Faith based community services and alike are now governed by the Federal Government, bogged down with regulations and paperwork that much of there “good deeds” go undone due to lack of resources to meet the ever-expanding hands of Big Brother. Prior to the government handing out the tax payers money, the local community gathered its resources from the community itself, depended on the community and thrived with in the community it served.

The Catholic church was the prominent provider in many communities, depending upon the Church and the community at large to provide free services to whomever needed them, regardless of their faith. Look at Boys Town as a perfect example. Fr. Flanagan did not ask the Federal Government for moneys to build his Town, nope, he depended upon the common person to send in donations, and the work of building the town, well that was left up the him and the boys. In todays “regulated” world this could never happen, the government would not allow the young men who made up the community of Boys Town to do the labor, they would consider it “degrading” and “child labor”, were as Fr. Flanagan and his boys considered it “Character building” and “Edifying” . How times have changed.

The government would have required trained social workers were as Fr. Flanagan required love and respect. There is not law or regulations for love and respect, so the government would not consider them to be important. How times have changed…

“Charity” and “Social Justice” and not be regulated or forced, they have to be organic in nature. they have to come from the souls of the ones offering. When government sticks its hands into our pockets and forces us to “give” the act of Charity and Justice has just become an act of redistribution and extortion.

In the books “Who Really Cares” and “Gross National Happiness” Arthur C. Brooks, the author, makes the case that charity is a human act, not a governmental act. That it is the benevolence of man and not the redistributionist of government that keeps charities rolling. Both books are well worth the reading.

The Catholic Church, like many organization, has its fair share of redistributionist, who feel that humanity in-of-its-self is not able or capable of caring for each other. To me this is a travesty and a slap in the collective face of man kind! But, truth be told, we allowed this mind-set to happen, we, as a nation have become “dependent” upon the government to not only govern our national affairs, but also our personal affairs.

A return to a simpler time, a time when communities cared for each other, relied upon each other and depended upon their neighbors was when true social justice existed in this nation. We now live in a nation of not social justice, but a nation of social engineering, other wise know as socialism, tyranny or any other work to describe personal liberties and personal responsibilities being replaced by group think. We are teaching our children not to depend upon themselves and the community at large, but rather to look to and depend upon the government. We have generations of Americans that have no concept of charity and giving, of time, talent and treasure. But we do have generations of Americans who understand the concepts of give me, I deserve and “fairness”. Using the term “fairness” not as it was meant, “Equal opportunity” but rather as “Equal treasures” regardless of effort put forth.

The America of pre-New Deal and The Great Society is not yet lost, but is quickly becoming so. We have the opportunity and obligation to change the course of this great nation. To right the wrongs and return American and her citizens back to personal responsibility and community minded obligations. We have a unique opportunity in America, the opportunity to wage a revolution with our guns and blood, a revolution that uses the most powerful weapon ever know to man, the vote. This November we must vote to return America back to Americans, to restore Charity and Social Justice back to the people. It is time to take up the mantel of liberty and forge a new path to prosperity by returning to the founding principles of this great nation. Principles spelled out in our founding documents, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Documents that outline the path to prosperity and freedom, documents that never, not once, call upon the Government to care for the personal lives of its Citizenry. But rather call upon its Citizenry to care for the Government.

God Bless


Guided Insight Life Coach 


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Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox: What is Poverty in the United States Today?


heritagePublished on July 18, 2011 by Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield Backgrounder #2575

Abstract: For decades, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that over 30 million Americans were living in “poverty,” but the bureau’s definition of poverty differs widely from that held by most Americans. In fact, other government surveys show that most of the persons whom the government defines as “in poverty” are not poor in any ordinary sense of the term. The overwhelming majority of the poor have air conditioning, cable TV, and a host of other modern amenities. They are well housed, have an adequate and reasonably steady supply of food, and have met their other basic needs, including medical care. Some poor Americans do experience significant hardships, including temporary food shortages or inadequate housing, but these individuals are a minority within the overall poverty population. Poverty remains an issue of serious social concern, but accurate information about that problem is essential in crafting wise public policy. Exaggeration and misinformation about poverty obscure the nature, extent, and causes of real material deprivation, thereby hampering the development of well-targeted, effective programs to reduce the problem.

Each year for the past two decades, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that over 30 million Americans were living in “poverty.” In recent years, the Census has reported that one in seven Americans are poor. But what does it mean to be “poor” in America? How poor are America’s poor?

For most Americans, the word “poverty” suggests destitution: an inability to provide a family with nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter. For example, the Poverty Pulse poll taken by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development asked the general public: “How would you describe being poor in the U.S.?” The overwhelming majority of responses focused on homelessness, hunger or not being able to eat properly, and not being able to meet basic needs.[1] That perception is bolstered by news stories about poverty that routinely feature homelessness and hunger.

Yet if poverty means lacking nutritious food, adequate warm housing, and clothing for a family, relatively few of the more than 30 million people identified as being “in poverty” by the Census Bureau could be characterized as poor.[2] While material hardship definitely exists in the United States, it is restricted in scope and severity. The average poor person, as defined by the government, has a living standard far higher than the public imagines.

As scholar James Q. Wilson has stated, “The poorest Americans today live a better life than all but the richest persons a hundred years ago.”[3] In 2005, the typical household defined as poor by the government had a car and air conditioning. For entertainment, the household had two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR. If there were children, especially boys, in the home, the family had a game system, such as an Xbox or a PlayStation.[4] In the kitchen, the household had a refrigerator, an oven and stove, and a microwave. Other household conveniences included a clothes washer, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, a cordless phone, and a coffee maker.

The home of the typical poor family was not overcrowded and was in good repair. In fact, the typical poor American had more living space than the average European. The typical poor American family was also able to obtain medical care when needed. By its own report, the typical family was not hungry and had sufficient funds during the past year to meet all essential needs.

Poor families certainly struggle to make ends meet, but in most cases, they are struggling to pay for air conditioning and the cable TV bill as well as to put food on the table. Their living standards are far different from the images of dire deprivation promoted by activists and the mainstream media.

Regrettably, annual Census reports not only exaggerate current poverty, but also suggest that the number of poor persons[5] and their living conditions have remained virtually unchanged for four decades or more. In reality, the living conditions of poor Americans have shown significant improvement over time.

Consumer items that were luxuries or significant purchases for the middle class a few decades ago have become commonplace in poor households. In part, this is caused by a normal downward trend in price following the introduction of a new product. Initially, new products tend to be expensive and available only to the affluent. Over time, prices fall sharply, and the product saturates the entire population, including poor households.

As a rule of thumb, poor households tend to obtain modern conveniences about a dozen years after the middle class. Today, most poor families have conveniences that were unaffordable to the middle class not too long ago.

Poverty: A Range of Living Conditions

However, there is a range of living conditions within the poverty population. The average poor family does not represent every poor family. Although most poor families are well housed, a small minority are homeless.

Fortunately, the number of homeless Americans has not increased during the current recession.[6] Although most poor families are well fed and have a fairly stable food supply, a sizeable minority experiences temporary restraints in food supply at various times during the year. The number of families experiencing such temporary food shortages has increased somewhat during the current economic downturn.

Of course, to the families experiencing these problems, their comparative infrequency is irrelevant. To a family that has lost its home and is living in a homeless shelter, the fact that only 0.5 percent of families shared this experience in 2009 is no comfort. The distress and fear for the future that the family experiences are real and devastating. Public policy must deal with that distress. However, accurate information about the extent and severity of social problems is imperative for the development of effective public policy.

In discussions about poverty, however, misunderstanding and exaggeration are commonplace. Over the long term, exaggeration has the potential to promote a substantial misallocation of limited resources for a government that is facing massive future deficits. In addition, exaggeration and misinformation obscure the nature, extent, and causes of real material deprivation, thereby hampering the development of well-targeted, effective programs to reduce the problem. Poverty is an issue of serious social concern, and accurate information about that problem is always essential in crafting public policy.

Living Conditions of the Poor

Each year, the U.S. Census Bureau releases its annual report on income and poverty.[7] This report, though widely publicized by the press, provides only a bare count of the number of Americans who are allegedly poor. It provides no data on or description of their actual living conditions.

This does not mean that such information is not available. The federal government conducts several other surveys that provide detailed information on the living conditions of the poor. These surveys provide a very different sense of American poverty.[8] They reveal that the actual standard of living among America’s poor is far higher than the public imagines and that, in fact, most of the persons whom the government defines as “in poverty” are not poor in any ordinary sense of the term. Regrettably, these detailed surveys are almost never reported in the mainstream press.

One of the most interesting surveys that measures actual living conditions is the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS),[9] which the Department of Energy has conducted regularly since 1980.[10] The RECS survey measures energy consumption and ownership of various conveniences by U.S. households. It also provides information on households at different income levels, including poor households.

The first half of this paper uses RECS data to analyze and describe one aspect of the living standards of the poor: ownership and availability of household amenities.[11] The second half provides a broader description of the living standards of America’s poor.

Availability of Amenities in Poor Households

This section uses RECS data from 2005, the most recent year for which data are available, to analyze the amenities typically found in poor households.[12] The 2005 RECS data represent the living conditions of the poor before the current recession. Conditions are likely quite similar today.

Because the current recession has increased the number of poor persons in the U.S. since 2005, it might seem likely that poor households would have fewer amenities and conveniences today than in 2005. However, the increase in poverty during the recession is, to a considerable degree, the result of working-class families losing employment. One would not expect these families to dispose of their normal household conveniences in those circumstances. Thus, paradoxically, the increase in the number of working- and middle-class families who have become temporarily poor is likely to increase slightly the share of poor households that own various items. When the present recession ends, the living conditions of the poor are likely to continue to improve as they have in the past.

Chart 1 shows the percentage of all U.S. households that owned or had available various household amenities and conveniences in 2005. For example, it shows that 84 percent of all U.S. households had air conditioning, 79 percent had cable or satellite television, and 68 percent had a personal computer.[13]

Chart 2 shows the same information for 2005 for poor U.S. households (those with cash incomes below the official poverty thresholds). While poor households were slightly less likely to have conveniences than the general population, most poor households had a wide range of amenities. As Chart 2 shows, 78 percent of poor households had air conditioning, 64 percent had cable or satellite TV, and 38 percent had a personal computer.[14]

Percentage of All U.S. Households Which Have Various Amenities

Percentage of Poor U.S. Households Which Have Various Amenities

The Household Amenity Scale. Living conditions can be analyzed by creating a household amenity scale based on the 30 items listed in Chart 1. The RECS database reports which households have each specific amenity. For each affirmative response that a household has a particular amenity, we gave the household one point. All the affirmative responses of the household were then summed to produce an overall amenity score for the household.

Thus, a household’s amenity score can range from 0 to 30. A household that responded negatively to all 30 items would have an amenity score of zero, a household that responded affirmatively to half the items would have an amenity score of 15, and a household that answered affirmatively to all 30 items would have a score of 30. The amenity score of a household is roughly equal to the number of amenities present in the household.[15]

Chart 3 provides the cumulative distribution of amenity scores for all U.S. households in 2005, showing the percentage of all households with an amenity score at or below each specified level. The median amenity score for all households is 19. This means that half of all households had a score at or below 19 and half of households had a score at or above 19.[16]

Having determined the median amenity score, we then examined every household with that score to determine which amenities appeared most frequently within the median group.

  • The analysis showed that households with the median amenity score most frequently had the following 19 items: air conditioning, a personal computer, Internet access, a computer printer, a ceiling fan, a cell phone or phones, a cordless phone, and a coffee maker.
  • For entertainment, these households had two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR.
  • In the kitchen, the households had a refrigerator, an oven and stove, an automatic dishwasher, and a microwave.
  • In the laundry, they had a washing machine and dryer.

These amenities may then be considered representative of the living standards of the median or typical U.S. household in 2005.

Distribution of Households by Amenities Score

Amenities in the Median Poor Household. We then examined poor households, meaning households with a reported income below the official government poverty income thresholds in 2005. Analysis revealed that poor households had a median household amenity score of 14. This means that half of all poor households had a score at or below 14 and half of households had score at or above 14.

Having determined that the amenity score of the median poor household was 14, we then examined all poor households with that score to determine which amenities appeared most frequently within the median poor group.

  • The analysis showed that median poor households most frequently had the following 14 items: air conditioning, a clothes washer, a clothes dryer, ceiling fans, and a cordless phone.
  • For entertainment, these households had two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR.
  • In the kitchen, these poor households had a refrigerator, an oven and stove, a microwave, and a coffee maker.

These items may then be considered representative of the living standards of the median or typical poor U.S. household in 2005.

The median poor household had five fewer amenities than the median household in the general population. Specifically, the typical poor household lacked the following items that were in the typical middle-income household: a personal computer, Internet access, a computer printer, a dishwasher, and a cell phone.

Amenities in Poor Families with Children. Poor families with children have more conveniences and amenities than other poor families. In 2005, the median amenity score for poor families with children was 16. We examined all poor families with children with an amenity score of 16 to determine which items appeared most frequently in these homes.

  • These homes typically had both air conditioning and a personal computer.
  • For entertainment, they typically had cable or satellite TV, three color televisions, a DVD player, a VCR, and a video game system, such as an Xbox or Play Station.
  • In the kitchen, they had a refrigerator, a stove and oven, a microwave, and an automatic coffee maker.
  • Other amenities included a cell phone, a cordless phone, and a clothes washer.[17]

These conveniences may be considered representative of the living standards of the median or typical poor family with children in 2005.

Amenities in Typical Households

Improvement in Poor Households over Time. Because the RECS has reported on the living conditions of the poor for several decades, it is a useful tool for charting the improvement in living conditions among the poor over time. For example, Chart 4 shows the percentage of all households and the percentage of poor households that had any type of air conditioning between 1970 and 2005.[18] Although poor households were less likely to have air conditioning in any given year, the share of households with air conditioning increased steadily for both groups over the 25-year period. By 2005, the two rates converged as air conditioning became nearly universal in U.S. society.

Chart 5 shows the percentage of all households and the percentage of poor households that had central air conditioning between 1970 and 2005. Because central air conditioning is more expensive than window units, it is less common in U.S. society. Nonetheless, the share of the general population and the share of poor households with central air conditioning have increased at a similar pace for the past 25 years.

Finally, Chart 6 shows the share of all households and the share of poor households that had a personal computer from 1990 to 2005. Personal computers were rare in 1990 but spread widely through society over the next 15 years. Computer ownership among the poor increased substantially during the period. In 1990, only 5 percent of poor households had a computer. By 2005, the number had risen to almost 40 percent.

Households with Air Conditioning

Households with Central Air Conditioning

Households Owning A Computer

Charts 4, 5, and 6 show a common pattern. The share of poor households that have a given amenity tends to equal the share of all U.S. households that had the same amenity 10 to 15 years earlier. There seems to be a general lag effect in which poor households acquire a given amenity roughly a dozen years after the general population acquires it.

Housing and Poverty

Of course, the typical poor family could have a host of modern conveniences and still live in dilapidated, overcrowded housing. However, data from other government surveys show that this is not the case.[19] Poor Americans are well housed and rarely overcrowded.[20] In fact, the houses and apartments of America’s poor are quite spacious by international standards. The typical poor American has considerably more living space than does the average European.[21]

Forty-three percent of all poor households own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.[22]

Nearly all of the houses and apartments of the poor are in good condition. According to the government’s data, only one in 10 has moderate physical problems. Only 2 percent of poor domiciles have “severe” physical problems, the most common of which is sharing a bathroom with another household living in the building.[23]

Food Shortages, Nutrition, and Poverty

It is possible that most poor households could be well housed and have many modern conveniences but still face chronic food shortages and undernutrition. Poor families might have microwaves but a limited and sporadic supply of food to put in the microwave. Government surveys show that this is not the case for the overwhelming majority of poor families.

On average, the poor are well nourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children. In most cases, it is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than higher-income children consume, and their protein intake averages 100 percent above recommended levels. In fact, most poor children are super-nourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.[24]

However, even though the poor, in general, have an ample food supply, some do suffer from temporary food shortages. For example, a poor household with an adequate long-term food supply might need temporarily to cut back meals, eat cheap food, or go without if cash and food stamps run out at the end of the month.

Still, government data show that most poor households do not suffer even from temporary food shortages. As Chart 7 shows, 92.5 percent of poor households assert that they always had “enough food to eat” during the previous four months, although 26 percent of these did not always have the foods that they would have preferred. Some 6 percent of poor households state that they “sometimes” did not have enough food, and 1.5 percent say they “often” did not have enough food.[25]

The bottom line is that, although a small portion of poor households report temporary food shortages, the overwhelming majority of poor households report that they consistently have enough food to eat.

Enough Food to Eat over the Past Four Months

Temporary food shortages have increased during the current recession but still remain atypical among poor households. During 2009, less than one poor household in five experienced even a single instance of “reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns” due to a lack of financial resources.[26] Strikingly, only 4 percent of poor children experienced even a single instance of “reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns” due to a lack of financial resources.[27]

Food Banks and Soup Kitchens

TV news stories that inform audiences that one in seven Americans are poor routinely depict “the poor” collecting free groceries at a food pantry or eating meals at a free food kitchen.[28] The audience is led to conclude that gathering free food from a charity pantry or eating free meals at a soup kitchen is the norm for those in poverty.

In fact, while the use of food pantries and emergency kitchens has increased during the current recession,[29] poor families generally did not use charity food pantries or soup kitchens. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that only one poor family in five took food from a food pantry even once during all of 2009. Far fewer ate at a food kitchen.

In the whole U.S. population, 5.6 million households (4.8 percent of all households) used a food pantry at any point during 2009. Far fewer ate meals at a soup kitchen. Only 625,000 of all U.S. households (0.5 percent) had a member who ate a meal in a free-food kitchen at any time in 2009.[30]

Poverty and Homelessness

The mainstream press and activist groups also frequently conflate poverty with homelessness. News stories about poverty often feature homeless families living “on the street.”[31] This depiction is seriously misleading because only a small portion of persons “living in poverty” will become homeless over the course of a year. The overwhelming majority of the poor reside throughout the year in non-crowded housing that is in good repair.

The 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) states that on a given night in 2009, some 643,000 persons in the U.S. were homeless (without permanent domicile).[32] This means that at any given time, one out of 470 persons in the general population or one out of 70 persons with incomes below the poverty level was homeless.[33]

Moreover, two-thirds of these 643,000 homeless persons were residing in emergency shelters or transitional housing. Only 240,000 were without shelter. These “unsheltered” individuals were “on the street,” meaning that they were living in cars, abandoned buildings, alleyways, or parks. At any point in 2009, roughly one person out of 1,250 in the general population or one out of 180 poor persons was homeless in the literal sense of being on the street and without shelter.

Odds of Being Homeless on a Single Night in 2009

Homelessness is usually a transitional condition. Individuals typically lose housing, reside in an emergency shelter for a few weeks or months, and then reenter permanent housing. The transitional nature of homelessness means that many more people become temporarily homeless over the course of a year than are homeless at any single point in time.

Thus, HUD reports that 1.56 million persons resided in an emergency shelter or transitional housing at least one night during 2009.[34] The year-round total of individuals who ever stayed in a shelter or transitional housing was nearly four times larger than the 403,000 who resided in such facilities on an average night.[35]

Based on the year-round data on shelter use, roughly one person in 195 in the general population resided in emergency shelter or transitional housing for at least one night during a full 12-month period. Roughly one in 25 poor persons (4 percent of all poor persons) resided in an emergency shelter or transitional housing for at least one night during the full year.[36]

Despite news stories that assert that the current recession has caused a great increase in homelessness, homeless shelter use, in general, has not increased during the current economic downturn.[37] In addition, shelters are not overcrowded. On a typical night, shelters have an average vacancy rate of 10 percent.[38]

Odds of Residing in a Homeless Shelter or Transitional Housing for at Least One Night During Full Year: 2009

While the overall number of homeless has not increased during the current recession, there has been a small increase in the number of families with children who use homeless shelters. Some 168,000 families with children resided in a homeless shelter for at least one night during all of 2010.[39] This figure was up from 130,000 in 2007. The increase of 38,000 families represents only one family out every 1,000 families with children. While the misfortune is real for the families involved, these numbers scarcely show a tidal wave of increased homelessness.

Although news stories often suggest that poverty and homelessness are similar, this is inaccurate. In reality, the gap between the living conditions of a homeless person and the typical poor household is proportionately as great as the gap between the poor household and a middle-class family in the suburbs.

Essential Needs

Although the public equates poverty with physical deprivation, the overwhelming majority of poor households do not experience any form of physical deprivation. Some 70 percent of poor households report that during the course of the past year, they were able to meet “all essential expenses,” including mortgage, rent, utility bills, and important medical care.

It is widely supposed that the poor are unable to obtain medical care, but in reality, only 13 percent of poor households report that a family member needed to go to a doctor or hospital at some point in the prior year but was unable because the family could not afford the cost.[40]

Public Understanding of Poverty

In 2005, the typical poor household, as defined by the government, had air conditioning and a car.[41] For entertainment, the household had two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR. In the kitchen, it had a refrigerator, an oven and stove, and a microwave. Other household conveniences included a clothes washer, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, a cordless phone, and a coffee maker. The family was able to obtain medical care when needed. Their home was not overcrowded and was in good repair. By its own report, the family was not hungry and had sufficient funds during the past year to meet all essential needs.

The overwhelming majority of the public do not regard a family living in these conditions as poor. For example, a poll conducted in June 2009 asked a nationally representative sample of the public whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “A family in the U.S. that has a decent, un-crowded house or apartment to live in, ample food to eat, access to medical care, a car, cable television, air conditioning and a microwave at home should not be considered poor.”[42]

A full 80 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats agreed that a family living in those living conditions should not be considered poor.

Census Poverty Reports Are Misleading and Inaccurate

Nonetheless, each year, the U.S. Census Bureau issues a report claiming that over 35 million Americans live in poverty. The annual Census poverty report is flawed in two respects.

First, the report provides no information on the actual living conditions of the persons identified as poor. It simply states that a specified number of persons are poor without giving any information on what poverty means in the real world. A detailed description of the living conditions of the poor would greatly enhance public understanding. In fact, without a detailed description of living conditions, public discussions of poverty are meaningless.

Second, the Census report massively undercounts the economic resources provided to poor people. The Census asserts that a household is poor if its “money income” falls below a specified threshold. In 2009, the poverty income threshold for a family of four was $21,756. However, in counting the money income of households, the Census ignores virtually the entire welfare state. For example, there are over 70 means-tested welfare programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income persons. Major means-tested welfare programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; Supplemental Security Income; the Earned Income Tax Credit; food stamps; the Women, Infants, and Children food program; public housing; and Medicaid. (Social Security and Medicare are not means-tested welfare programs.)

In 2008, federal and state governments spent $714 billion on means-tested welfare programs, but the Census counted only about 4 percent of this as “money income” for purposes of determining whether a household was poor. The bottom line is that the economic resources available to poor persons are vastly greater than the Census claims.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor finds that the lowest-income one-fifth of households appear to spend $1.87 for every $1.00 of income that the Census says these households have. If the free medical care and public housing subsidies given to these households were counted, then the gap between expenditure and income would be even greater.[43]

Misrepresenting Poverty in America

As noted, for the average American, the word “poverty” implies significant material hardship and deprivation. Politicians, activists, and the mainstream media reinforce this image, asserting that each year, over 35 million Americans live in chronic material deprivation, unable to obtain “the basic material necessities of life.”

For example, former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards made poverty the centerpiece of his repeated campaigns for the presidency. Edwards proclaimed that 37 million Americans “struggle with incredible poverty.”[44] He explicitly equated poverty as defined by the Census Bureau with dramatic unfulfilled material need. According to Edwards, America’s poor, who number “one in eight of us…do not have enough money for the food, shelter, and clothing they need.” The poor, he said, were forced to live in “terrible” circumstances.[45]

In Edwards’s stump speeches, the “plague of poverty”[46] in America was typified by a 10-year-old girl who lacked food and clothing. Edwards proclaimed, “Tonight, a 10-year-old little girl will go to bed hungry, hoping and praying that tomorrow will not be as cold as today because she doesn’t have the coat to keep her warm.”[47] Confronted by skeptics, Edwards’s staff ultimately admitted that the girl was “metaphorical,”[48] but Edwards continued to feature her in speech after speech.

Liberal advocacy groups routinely echo Edwards’s claims. For example, the Children’s Defense Fund equates government-defined poverty with daily hardship and suffering. CDF President Marian Wright Edelman states, “It is a moral outrage that in the wealthiest nation on earth there are still 12.8 million children living in poverty” and “inexcusable that 12.8 million children are forced to suffer through hardship every day.”[49]

In a campaign to promote higher welfare spending, Catholic Charities USA tells the public that the government-defined poor lack the basic material necessities of life:

We speak of [the United States] being the land of plenty: a country with living standards so high that others wish to emulate our success. But for nearly 37 million Americans there is another story. What is life like in this other America? How can it be that millions of us lack the basic material necessities of life?[50]

Advocacy groups often equate official poverty with hunger, malnutrition, and homelessness. When asked what it means for children to live in official U.S. poverty, Marion Wright Edelman informed TV audiences that official child poverty means “hopelessness for too many, it means homelessness; it means being hungry.”[51] The activist Web site Spotlight on Poverty asserts, “An increasing number of Americans face poverty and, as a result, hunger.… In all, 15 percent of American households…did not have the resources to obtain adequate nutrition and lead a healthy lifestyle.”[52]

Confusing Poverty and Deprivation

Protestations by anti-poverty activists almost always involve two incompatible ideas: that poverty in America is widespread, affecting as many as one in seven Americans, and that being poor in this country means serious material deprivation. The fusion of these two notions leads to a profound misrepresentation of the actual living conditions in the nation.

For example, confusion of this sort can be found in Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America by evangelical Ronald J. Sider.[53] Sider begins his book with a chapter entitled “What Does Poverty Look Like?” in which he informs his readers, “In 2005, in the United States, 37 million people lived in poverty in the richest society in human history.” He asks, “Who are the poor? Where do they live?”[54] and proceeds to answer these questions with a lengthy description of the home of Mrs. Onita Skyles, a 68-year-old widow:

The foundation was collapsing. Sections of the floor had rotted. The walls and ceiling were cracked. The tub and toilet had sunk below the floor level and were unusable, and there was no running water. Mrs. Styles cooked with a hot plate and carried water in gallon jugs from a neighbor’s house.[55]

He then describes the shack where the Perez family lives: “The walls are old doors, tar paper, chicken wire, and rotting boards. The ground provides a dirt floor. There is no bathroom, no running water, no electricity, no heat. Their toilet is a reeking outhouse across the street.”[56]

The descriptions of these two individual households are indeed appalling, but Sider is seriously misleading when he implies that such living conditions are representative of 37 million poor people.[57] In fact, the situations he presents are not at all representative of the poor in America. The described conditions are very unusual and probably found in no more than one in 500 households.[58]

Confronted with this fact, activists usually respond that the exact numbers are irrelevant because no American should live in such deplorable conditions. This may be true, but when formulating effective public policy, it matters a great deal whether one in seven households or one in 500 households live in such conditions.

However, if the goal is greater income redistribution—rather than policies that precisely and effectively target those truly in need—then big numbers matter a lot. Liberal activists continue to insist that very large numbers of Americans live in severe deprivation.

This is no accident. The interlocking assertions that poverty is widespread, affecting one in seven Americans, and that the poor live in desperate conditions are both ideologically necessary for the Left. Together, they provide justification for policies to greatly expand the welfare state and further “spread the wealth.” But if one or both assertions proves to be untrue, the impetus for expanding the welfare state is greatly undermined.

Depictions of Poverty in the News Media

Mainstream news media also present poverty in America as severe material hardship. For example:

  • A CBS News story on the “faces of poverty” features a mother living with five small children in a “27 square foot camper” beside the railroad tracks.[59]
  • An NBC News story on “poverty in America” depicts the poor as homeless or feeding themselves from food pantries.[60]
  • An ABC News story represents poverty as families who are homeless or living with empty refrigerators.[61]
  • A moving ABC News story on poverty in Appalachia focuses on a 12-year-old girl whose single mother is a drug-addicted high school dropout. The girl lives in a tiny house with 11 other people, with no car and limited food.[62]
  • Another network news story features an unemployed couple living in a tent in Reno, Nevada.[63]

The families in these stories are real. Their suffering is real and a cause for serious concern. But such families are clearly atypical of America’s poor. To the extent that the networks suggest that the living standards of these families are representative of the living conditions of 35 million poor people across the nation, they are profoundly misleading viewers.

The ongoing use of examples of severe hardship in TV news should not be surprising. TV news thrives on drama, and reporters naturally seek out the starkest and most sympathetic examples of poverty to build the most compelling stories. By contrast, a realistic portrayal of the living conditions of the typical poor family in America would not make compelling viewing. In fact, the audience would be unlikely to regard such a family as seriously deprived.

While substantial hardship does occur in U.S society, it is limited in scope. At any given time, only a small portion of the more than 35 million “poor” Americans will experience the sort of dramatic deprivation presented in the above newscasts. Moreover, when dramatic hardship does occur, it is generally temporary or caused by multiple behavioral problems in the home.

Ironically, suggesting that tens of millions of poor Americans suffer from chronic substantial deprivation actually makes solving social problems more difficult. Such misrepresentation leads to a misallocation of resources and, by obscuring the causes of deprivation, impedes the development of effective countermeasures.

Official Government Poverty Numbers Misrepresent U.S. Around the Globe

One of the most regrettable aspects of official U.S. government poverty statistics is the misleading negative image that they project around the world. U.S. government poverty numbers are like a Potemkin village in reverse, suggesting to the rest of the globe that living conditions in the U.S. are much worse than they actually are.

For example, Al Jazeera uses U.S. government poverty numbers to tell the world what a terrible place the U.S. is. Al Jazeera tells a global audience: “37 million people—that is one in eight Americans—live below the official poverty line. That means these people are often homeless, hungry, and have no health insurance.”[64] Al Jazeera shows a representative poor American family: six people living in a one-bedroom apartment.[65] Other stories go farther. An Al Jazeera special report on “poverty in America” shows America’s poor as homeless or living in rat-infested, crumbling shacks while suffering from life-threatening malnutrition.[66]

Al Jazeera is not alone. The Teheran Times informs its readers:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an astonishing 47 million Americans out of a population of about 310 million live in poverty in the Unites [sic] States, a number equivalent to one out of every seven people…. [O]ne in five children in the United States live in poverty, with almost half of them living in extreme poverty. [67]

Similarly, the Chinese government uses the U.S. Census Bureau’s misleading poverty reports to condemn the U.S. government for human rights violations. In its official report on The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2010, the Chinese government asserts:

The United States is the world’s richest country, but Americans’ economic, social and cultural rights protection is going from bad to worse….The U.S. Census Bureau reported on September 16, 2010 that a total of 44 million Americans found themselves in poverty in 2009, four million more than that of 2008.[68]

Beijing fumes that, in America, the number of “[p]eople in hunger increased sharply…. About 50 million Americans experienced food shortage [in 2009]” and that “nearly one in four children struggles with hunger.”[69]

Russia Today (RT) is a multilingual television news network funded by the Russian government. RT broadcasts news in English, Spanish, and Arabic to over 100 nations around the globe. Like Al Jazeera, Russia Today has a fascination for U.S. government poverty figures, which it uses to project a horrifying picture of the U.S. around the globe. Using official Census figures, RT informs audiences that “one in seven Americans [are] living in poverty.” It then gives “a perfect example of the face of poverty in the United States”: a tent village for homeless people in the woods in New Jersey that is run by a church group. According to RT, the homeless living there apparently work without ceasing for less than the minimum wage.[70] RT leads viewers to believe that one in seven Americans crowd into charity soup kitchens each day to fend off starvation.[71] The network gleefully tells viewers that widespread poverty in America is “like a third world nightmare.”[72]

Al Jazeera and the governments of Iran, China, and Russia have their own ideological and geopolitical goals. Their depictions of the U.S. as a failed, nightmare society are no surprise. However, it is ironic that the U.S. government’s own misleading poverty report has become a major prop in anti-American propaganda around the world. Poverty in America is far from the nightmare of extreme material deprivation that it is portrayed to be, but the U.S. government has yet to explain that fact to the rest of the world or even to the American public.

Increasing the Misinformation: Obama’s New “Poverty” Measure

There is a vast gap between poverty as understood by the American public and poverty as currently measured by the government. Sadly, President Barack Obama plans to make this situation worse by creating a new “poverty” measure that deliberately severs all connection between “poverty” and actual deprivation. This new measure will serve as a propaganda tool in Obama’s endless quest to “spread the wealth” and will eventually displace the current poverty measure.

Under the new measure, a family will be judged poor if its income falls below certain specified income thresholds or standards. There is nothing new in this, but unlike the current poverty income standards, the new income thresholds will have a built-in escalator clause. They will rise automatically in direct proportion to any rise in the living standards of the average American.

The current poverty measure counts (albeit inaccurately) absolute purchasing power (how much meat and potatoes a person can buy). The new measure will count comparative purchasing power (how much meat and potatoes a person can buy relative to other people). As the nation becomes wealthier, the poverty standards will increase in proportion. In other words, Obama will employ a statistical trick to give a new meaning to the saying that “the poor will always be with you.”

The new poverty measure will produce very odd results. For example, if the real income of every single American were to triple magically overnight, the new poverty measure would show no drop in poverty because the poverty income standards would also triple. Under the Obama system, poverty can be reduced only if the incomes of the “poor” are rising faster than the incomes of everyone else. Another paradox of the new poverty measure is that countries such as Bangladesh and Albania will have lower poverty rates than the U.S.—even though the actual living conditions in those countries are extremely low—simply because they have narrower distribution of incomes, albeit very low incomes.

According to Obama’s measure, economic growth has no impact on poverty. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the incomes of nearly all Americans have increased sevenfold after adjusting for inflation. However, from Obama’s perspective, this increase in real incomes had no effect on poverty because the incomes of those at the bottom of the income distribution did not rise faster than the incomes of those in the middle.

In plain English, Obama’s new poverty-measure system will measure income “inequality,” not “poverty.” But he cannot call it an inequality index because the American voter is unwilling to support massive welfare increases, soaring deficits, and tax increases just to equalize incomes. However, if the goal of income leveling is camouflaged as a desperate struggle against poverty, malnutrition, hunger, and dire deprivation, then the political prospects improve.

The new measure is a public relations Trojan horse, smuggling in a “spread-the-wealth” agenda under the ruse of fighting significant material deprivation—a condition that is already rare in American society.

Poverty as traditionally defined by the Census Bureau has little connection with poverty as understood by the average American. The new Obama poverty measure will stretch this semantic gap, artificially swelling the number of poor Americans and severing any link between the government’s concept of poverty and even modest deprivation. It will make grappling with the real deprivation that does exist even more difficult.

Conclusion: What is Poverty?

In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau declared that one in seven Americans lived “in poverty.” Catholic Charities has declared, “The existence of such widespread poverty amidst such enormous wealth is a moral and social wound in the soul of the country.”[73]

To the average American, the word “poverty” implies significant material deprivation, an inability to provide a family with adequate nutritious food, reasonable shelter, and clothing. Activists reinforce this view, declaring that being poor in the U.S. means being “unable to obtain the basic material necessities of life.”[74] The news media amplify this idea: Most news stories on poverty feature homeless families, people living in crumbling shacks, or lines of the downtrodden eating in soup kitchens.

The actual living conditions of America’s poor are far different from these images. In 2005, the typical household defined as poor by the government had a car and air conditioning. For entertainment, the household had two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR. If there were children, especially boys, in the home, the family had a game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation. In the kitchen, the household had a refrigerator, an oven and stove, and a microwave. Other household conveniences included a clothes washer, a clothes dryer, ceiling fans, a cordless phone, and a coffee maker.

The home of the typical poor family was not overcrowded and was in good repair. The family was able to obtain medical care when needed. By its own report, the family was not hungry and had sufficient funds during the past year to meet all essential needs.

Poor families clearly struggle to make ends meet, but in most cases, they are struggling to pay for air conditioning and cable TV while putting food on the table. The current recession has increased the number of Americans who are poor, but it does not appear to have greatly reduced the living standards of the average poor family.

True, the average poor family does not represent every poor family. There is a range of living conditions among the poor. Some poor households fare better than the average household described above. Others are worse off. Although the overwhelming majority of the poor are well housed, at any single point in time during the recession in 2009, around one in 70 poor persons was homeless. Although the majority of poor families have an adequate and reasonably steady supply of food, many worry about keeping food on the table, and one in five experienced temporary food shortages at various times in 2009.

Those who are without food or homeless will find no comfort in the fact that their condition is relatively infrequent. Their distress is real and a serious concern.

Nonetheless, wise public policy cannot be based on misinformation or misunderstanding. Anti-poverty policy must be based on an accurate assessment of actual living conditions and the causes of deprivation. In the long term, grossly exaggerating the extent and severity of material deprivation in the U.S. will benefit neither the poor, the economy, nor society as a whole.

Robert Rector is Senior Research Fellow in the Domestic Policy Studies Department, and Rachel Sheffield is a Research Assistant in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, at The Heritage Foundation.


Amenities of All Poor Households

Amenities of Poor Households with Children


References in this report

[1]See Catholic Campaign for Human Development, “Poverty Pulse: Wave IV,” January 2004, at http://www.usccb.org/cchd/PP4FINAL.PDF (June 21, 2011). Interestingly, only about 1 percent of those surveyed defined poverty as the government defines it: as having an income below a specified level.

[2]The Census Bureau defines an individual as poor if his or her family income falls below certain specified income thresholds, which vary by family size. In 2006, a family of four was deemed poor if its annual income fell below $20,615, and a family of three was deemed poor if annual income was below $16,079. In 2009, the thresholds were $21,954 for a family of four and $17,098 for a family of three. U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty Thresholds by Size of Family and Number of Children, at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/threshld/index.html (June 23, 2011).

[3]James Q. Wilson, The Marriage Problem: How Our Culture Has Weakened Families (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), p. 1.

[4]U.S. Department of Energy, Residential Energy Expenditure Survey, 2005, at http://explore.data.gov/Energy-and-Utilities/Residential-Energy-Consumption-Survey-RECS-Files-A/eypy-jxs2 (June 23, 2011).

[5]According to the census, 14.3 percent of the population was poor in 2009, almost the same percentage as in 1966 when the War on Poverty was just starting.

[6]U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Planning and Development, The 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, at http://www.hudhre.info/documents/2010HomelessAssessmentReport.pdf (June 29, 2011).

[7]Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Jessica C. Smith, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States,” U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-238, September 2010, at http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p60-238.pdf (June 21, 2011).

[8]These surveys include the Residential Energy Consumption Survey, What We Eat in America, Food Security, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the American Housing Survey, and the Survey of Income and Program Participation. See U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Residential Energy Consumption Survey, at http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/recs/ (June 22, 2011); U.S. Department of Agriculture, What We Eat in America, NHANES 2007–2008, at http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12355000/pdf/0708/Table_4_NIN_POV_07.pdf (June 22, 2011); U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Security, at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB56/ (June 22, 2011); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/about_nhanes.htm (June 27, 2011); U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, American Housing Survey, at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/ahs/ahs.html (June 27, 2011); and U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2001 Panel, Wave 8 Topical Module, 2003, at http://www.bls.census.gov/sipp_ftp.html#sipp01 (June 27, 2011).

[9]U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, 2005 RECS Public Use Microdata Files, at http://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/data/2005/microdata.cfm (June 22, 2011).

[10]See U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Residential Energy Consumption Survey, 1980–2001, at http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/recs/historicaldata/historical_data80_02.html (June 22, 2011).

[11]In households that rent a dwelling, large fixed amenities such as air conditioning, refrigerators, washers, and dryers usually belong to the property owner rather than the renter. In this situation, the amenity will be available to but not owned by the renter.

[12]Although the Department of Energy has produced some tables from the 2009 RECS survey, the microdata files used in this report were not available for 2009. See U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, RECS Survey Data Tables, 2009, at http://www.eia.doe.gov/consumption/residential/data/2009/ (June 22, 2011).

[13]Statistics on the reliability of the estimates in Table 1 are presented in Appendix Table 1.

[14]Statistics on the reliability of the estimates in Table 2 are presented in Appendix Table 2.

[15]The amenity score varies slightly from the number of amenities in the home because a wide-screen television receives a score of two points: one as a television and one as a wide-screen unit.

[16]Chart 1 shows that 21 different amenities are present in over 50 percent of U.S. households. By contrast, the median amenity score is only 19. The median amenity score is less than 21 because, while those 21 amenities are widely available in U.S. households, a single household at the middle of the distribution will not have all 21 amenities simultaneously in its home.

[17]Other items that appeared frequently in poor households with children and with a median amenity score were a non-portable stereo system, a clothes dryer, and ceiling fans. These items frequently replaced the third television, computer, and coffee maker in poor households.

[18]Pre-1980 data were taken from the American Housing Survey. Data for 1980 and later years were taken from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey. See earlier reports at U.S. Census Bureau, “American Housing Survey (AHS),” at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/ahs/ahs.html (June 27, 2011).

[19]U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, American Housing Survey, http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/ahs/ahs.html (June 22, 2011).

[20]The current recession caused a slight increase in crowding among poor households. In 2009, 6.1 percent of poor households were overcrowded with more than one person per room. There was no increase in overcrowding in the general population in 2009. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Commerce, American Housing Survey for the United States: 2009, March 2011, p. 15, Table 2.3, at http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/h150-09.pdf (June 22, 2011).

[21]This comparison is to the average person in European countries, not to poor Europeans. Robert Rector, “How Poor Are America’s Poor? Examining the ‘Plague’ of Poverty in America,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2064, August 27, 2007, at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2007/08/how-poor-are-americas-poor-examining-the-plague-of-poverty-in-america.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26]According to the USDA food security report, 18.5 percent of poor households experienced “very low food security” during 2009. The report defines “very low food security” as a condition in which “the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food.” Mark Nord, Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Margaret Andrews, and Steven Carlson, “Household Food Security in the United States, 2009,” U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service Report No. 108, November 2010, pp. i and 10, at http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err108/ (June 22, 2011).

[27] Ibid., p. 12. Only 3.9 percent of poor children experienced “very low food security” during 2009. Ibid., p. i.

[28]See CBS News, “Poverty Increasing in the U.S.,” YouTube, September 13, 2010, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJIl1Zr9l7c (June 22, 2011).

[29]The number of households that used food pantries at any point during the year increased by 1.7 million between 2007 and 2009. In 2007, 3.9 million (3.4 percent of all households) used food pantries at some point in the year. By 2009, the number had risen to 5.6 million (4.8 percent of all households). The number of families that used emergency kitchens at any time during the year increased from 535,000 in 2007 to 625,000 in 2009. Mark Nord, Margaret Andrews, and Steven Carlson, “Household Food Security in the United States, 2007,” U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service Report No. 66, November 2008, p. 33, and Nord et al., “Household Food Security in the United States, 2009,” p. 34.

[30]Nord et al., “Household Food Security in the United States, 2009,” p. 34. In contrast to the USDA numbers, Feeding America estimated that 10.3 million households used food pantries in 2009, but this estimate is not scientific and is not based on a representative sample of the U.S. population. The report uses complex and subjective estimation techniques, which include arbitrarily adjusting some results upward. Feeding America, Hunger in America 2010: National Report Prepared for Feeding America, January 2010, esp. p. 38.

[31]For example, a 60 Minutes story equated child poverty with homelessness. CBS News, “Hard Times Generation,” 60 Minutes, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cR3jQOgs9gc (June 22, 2011).

[32]U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Planning and Development, The 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, June 2010, p. 8, at http://www.hudhre.info/documents/5thHomelessAssessmentReport.pdf (June 22, 2011).

[33]The 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report estimates that 633,000 individuals were homeless on a given night in 2009. The Current Population Survey states that the U.S population in 2009 was 303.6 million. Thus, the single-night homeless were 0.2 percent of the population, or one in 500 persons. The Current Population Survey states that 43.6 million persons were poor in 2009, which means that the single-night homeless were 1.48 percent of the poor population, or one in every 68 poor persons. (This calculation assumes that all of the homeless would have an annual income below the poverty level.) Technically, persons who are homeless at the point of survey would not be included in the census count of persons or poor persons. To be precise, the homeless should be added to the denominator in both calculations, but this would affect the results only marginally.

[34]U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, p. 18.

[35]The number of evictions has increased substantially during the current recession. Nonetheless, in the American Housing Survey of 2009, only 191,000 households (0.2 percent of all households) reported being evicted during the previous year. This figure does not include persons who at the time of the survey were in homeless shelters or were doubled up with relatives. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Commerce, American Housing Survey for the United States: 2009.

[36]U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, p. 26, Exhibit 3-2.

[37]U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.

[38]U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, p. 43, Exhibit 4-12, and p. 68, Exhibit 5-6.

[39]U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, p. 10.

[40]Rector, “How Poor Are America’s Poor?”

[41]Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car, and 31 percent own two or more cars. See Rector, “How Poor Are America’s Poor?”

[42]This survey question was asked of a nationally representative sample of 10,000 adults in June 2009. The poll was conducted by a national polling firm on behalf of The Heritage Foundation.

[43]For average household income by quintile, see U.S. Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009,” September 2010, p. 40, at http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p60-238.pdf (June 22, 2011). For consumer expenditures per quintile, see U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey: Quintiles of Income Before Taxes, 2009, at http://www.bls.gov/cex/2009/Standard/quintile.pdf (June 22, 2011).

[44]John Edwards, letter to President George W. Bush, July 19, 2007, at http://blog.johnedwards.com/story/2007/7/19/13140/5388 (August 21, 2007; unavailable June 22, 2011).

[45]John Edwards, “Conclusion: Ending Poverty in America,” in John Edwards, Marion Crain, and Arne L. Kalleberg, eds., Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream (New York: The New Press, 2007), pp. 256 and 257.

[46] Ibid., p. 256.

[47]Mark Steyn, “The Tearjerker,” The Telegraph (London), July 11, 2004, at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3608310/The-tearjerker.html (June 22, 2011). See also John Edwards, speech at 2004 Democratic Convention, Boston, at http://www.lademo.org/ht/display/ArticleDetails/i/137615/pid/index.php (June 22, 2011).

[48]John Tierney, “Nader Searches for His Roots” The New York Times, February 15, 2004, at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/15/politics/campaign/15POIN.html (June 22, 2011).

[49]Children’s Defense Fund, “CDF Calls 12.8 Million Children in Poverty in American Inexcusable,” August 29, 2007, at http://www.childrensdefense.org/newsroom/cdf-in-the-news/press-releases/2007/20070829-census-bureau-poverty-data.html (June 22, 2011).

[50]Catholic Charities USA, “Campaign to Reduce Poverty,” YouTube, November 10, 2008, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZpc-W7yBvg (June 22, 2011).

[51]CBS, “The Talk—Marian Wright Edelman on Children Poverty in America,” YouTube, March 21, 2011, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbvdiX6jbiQ (June 22, 2011).

[52]Jonathon Bloom, “Waste Not, Want Not: Hunger and Food Waste in America,” Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, May 9, 2011, at http://www.spotlightonpoverty.org/ExclusiveCommentary.aspx?id=b8180c74-3b26-4f85-88cb-00860489ec6b(June(June 22, 2011).

[53]Ronald J. Sider, Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2007).

[54] Ibid., p. 31.

[55] Ibid., pp. 32. Ironically, Mrs. Skyles’s circumstances were due, at least in part, to the fact that she had paid a nonprofit group to repair her house, but the work was never performed.

[56] Ibid., p. 36.

[57]On the other hand, many of the anti-poverty policies advocated by Ron Sider are quite reasonable.

[58]Estimate based on data from U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, American Housing Survey.

[59]CBS News, “Poverty at 11-Year High—and Still Rising” September 10, 2009, at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/09/10/eveningnews/main5301548.shtml (June 22, 2011).

[60]NBC News, “Poverty in America,” September 15, 2010, at http://www.heritage.org/multimedia/video/2010/09/rector-nbc-9-16-10 (June 22, 2011).

[61]Lyneka Little, “On the Brink,” ABC News, September 21, 2010, at http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Savings/face-poverty-food-banks/story?id=11682134 (June 22, 2011).

[62]ABC News, “Children of the Mountains’ Simple Dreams,” February 13, 2009, at http://abcnews.go.com/video/video?id=6848540 (June 22, 2011). This news piece is actually quite informative. It makes no suggestion that it is portraying a widespread national condition, and it clearly identifies the behavioral and cultural roots of the poverty that it is presenting.

[63]CBS News, “The Other America,” YouTube, October 1, 2008, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N6npQzqwcU (June 22, 2011).

[64]Al Jazeera English, “We the People—Poverty: No Way Out,” YouTube, October 20, 2008, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmaSrg4Ww-E (June 22, 2011).

[65]Al Jazeera, “US Poverty Rate ‘Hits 15-Year High,’” Al Jazeera English, September 16, 2010, at http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/09/2010916182855740657.html (June 22, 2011).

[66]Al Jazeera English, “Poverty USA—Healthcare,” YouTube, November 15, 2007, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUV66P5Lr6Q (June 22, 2011).

[67]Press TV, “Poverty Spikes to Record Highs in U.S.,” Tehran Times, May 8, 2011, at http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=240117 (June 22, 2011).

[68]People’s Republic of China, State Council Information Office, “The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2010,” Xinhua News Agency, April 10, 2011, at http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-04/10/c_13822287_5.htm (June 22, 2011).

[69] Ibid. The Chinese reference to 50 million persons in hunger is taken from the USDA’s annual food security report. Nord et al., “Household Food Security in the United States, 2009.” Those who read this report will find that it explicitly does not measure hunger. Moreover, the report asserts that most of the 50 million persons referred to do not experience food shortages. Regrettably, like the Census poverty report, the press consistently misreports the annual USDA food security study abroad and in the U.S. as showing there is widespread hunger in the U.S.

[70]Russia Today America, “The Poor and Impoverished Turn to the Forest,” YouTube, September 16, 2010, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGRkC4YM62k (June 22, 2011).

[71]Russia Today, “From Bad to Worse? US Face of Poverty,” YouTube, September 17, 2010, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8KS2XFUMYY (June 22, 2011).

[72]Alyona Minkovski, “1 in 7 Americans Poor: How Did This Happen?” The Alyona Show, Russia Today America, September 13, 2010, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjfmccfxTNU (June 22, 2011).

[73]Catholic Charities USA, “Poverty in America: A Threat to the Common Good,” 2006, p. 1, at http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/Page.aspx?pid=1158 (June 22, 2011).

[74]Catholic Charities USA, “Campaign to Reduce Poverty.”

About the Author

Robert Rector Senior Research Fellow

Michigan… Our current state

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Michigan Budget and Economic Facts

5/25/2011 10:02 AM

An organization called Public Notice has assembled state fact sheets that outline budget and economic facts for all 50 states. Here’s Michigan’s:


  • Total State Expenditures (FY 2010 estimated): $45.7 billion
  • Income Tax Rate (Tax Year 2011): 4.35 percent
  • Sales Tax Rate (2011): 6 percent
  • Total FY 2011 Budget Deficit: $2 billion, or 9.3 percent of the budget
  • Projected FY 2012 Budget Deficit: $1.3 billion, or 5.9 percent of the budget
  • Pension Liability and % of Liability Funded (FY 2009): $72,911,900, 79% funded


Federal Government Spending:

  • Total Federal Funds Received (FY 2010 estimated): $19.2 billion
  • Stimulus Money Awarded: $8,648,638,169
  • Examples of Stimulus Spending:
    • $3.8 million was appropriated for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy – a
      group dedicated to finding a new use for the Detroit Tigers’ former stadium.
    • $7.5 million was used to construct a new terminal with stone fireplaces and
      exposed log beams in a tiny northern Michigan airport. The airport serves an
      average of only 72 departing passengers a day.



We in Michigan need to wake up, 7.5 million for a terminal with only 75 passengers per day… Come on! –5.2% economic growth and a 10.2% unemployment rate… Give me a break!

It is time that we wake up and smell the fudge or we will be unable to save this great state of ours. Michigan has lots to offer, we have deep roots in innovation, yet we seem unable to innovate of economy, we choose to do the same old, same old. And when we do elect someone new, someone who is willing to innovate, our current Governor, Rick Snyder,  as soon has he starts to make the cuts and do what is needed, the good old unions and liberals come out and want to recall him. I don’t get it….

Are we that stupid in this state, do we really not get it? Or are the unions and there little followers that set on protecting themselves, and to hell with the rest of us. I pray that we are not that stupid, but based on past experiences I fear that we are. Look at the Detroit city council over the past years, or even the voters of Detroit who keep voting the same corrupt council members in. Look at our nation reps, Levin and Stabenow, Levin has been in office so long I think he knew President Washington.  And both are old school union supporters. To hell with everyone else, unions above all else, that’s there mantra.

I don’t have the answers to Michigan’s problems, but I do know that we must, as a state, change our way of thinking. We must get out of this union mentality. To me, unions are the death of this nation and this great state of Michigan. If I had my way, I would outlaw all unions. But I can’t and until the mentality of all who live here changes, unions will continue to hold an unfair advantage over the public and government. Out current President is not helping out much, for he is a union lover. But than again, he has never worked a  real job in his life, so what does he know….. He is nothing but a socialist and community organizer (another word for union).

God willing Governor Snyder will balance our budget and get Michigan back on the road to prosperity.


God Bless


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Immigration reform

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One of the many hot topics, both in politics and religion, is immigration reform. From the Arizona law to the US Catholic Bishops from the halls of Congress to the water cooler, everyone is talking about it. It is a hot topic, one that many have an opinion on and one that many consider to be the next great battle (oops I’m sorry, I’m not suppose to use words that sound aggressive according to CNN news…. Ah, the hell with CNN).

Americans and America has always welcomed immigrants, our country is made up the worlds unwanted or people seeking a better life. That is not an issue, I say welcome to everyone. America has always held her arms wide open and taken in the words cast off. And I say God Bless America.

But that does not, and should not mean that we as a nation should put the safety of our citizens at risk. The idea and concept of allowing anyone to enter into our county for any reason is a silly and not so humane concept. When has it ever been ok to allow others to infringe upon the safety and rights of citizens. At what time  in our history have we allowed this? Some will say slavery and the Irish immigrants or the Chinese immigrants who worked the rail road. Or what about the Japanese that were placed in camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. All scars upon America and all regretted by this nation and her people. But none were illegal immigrants, or as the liberals like to call them, undocumented workers, what ever that means. The Mexican border issue is an issue of national security, it is an issue of human rights and an issue of law.

With 6.5 million illegal aliens coming across our southern border each and every year, we must be crazy not to consider it a National Security issue. We stop little old ladies and 5 year olds at the airports for pat downs, but we think it is ok to allows millions into our country with out even asking for a passport… Come on, even a liberal must see how nuts this is.

Some facts:

  • In Los Angeles, 95% of some 1,500 outstanding warrants for homicides are for illegal aliens. About 67% of the 17,000 outstanding fugitive felony warrants are for illegal aliens.
  • There are currently over 400,000 unaccounted for illegal alien criminals with outstanding deportation orders. At least one fourth of these are hard core criminals.
  • 80,000 to 100,000 illegal aliens who have been convicted of serious crimes are walking the streets. Based on studies they will commit an average of 13 serious crimes per perpetrator.
  • Illegal aliens are involved in criminal activities at a rate that is 2-5 times their representative proportion of the population.
  • In 1980, our Federal and state facilities held fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens but at the end of 2003, approximately 267,000 illegal aliens were incarcerated in U.S. correctional facilities at a cost of about $6.8 billion per year.
  • At least 4.5 million pounds of cocaine with a street value of at least $72 billion is smuggled across the southern border every year. ..
  • 56% of illegal aliens charged with a reentry offense had previously been convicted on at least 5 prior occasions.
  • Illegal aliens charged with unlawful reentry had the most extensive criminal histories. 90% had been previously arrested. Of those with a prior arrest, 50% had been arrested for violent or drug-related felonies.
  • Illegal aliens commit between 700,000 to 1,289,000 or more crimes per year.
  • Illegal aliens commit at least 2,158 murders each year – a number that represents three times greater participation than their proportion of the population.
  • Illegal alien sexual predators commit an estimated 130,909 sexual crimes each year.
  • There may be as many as 240,000 illegal alien sex offenders circulating throughout America. Based on studies, they will commit an average of 8 sex crimes per perpetrator before being caught.
  • Nearly 63% of illegal alien sex offenders had been deported on another offense prior to committing the sex crime.
  • Only 2% of the illegal alien sex offenders in one study had no history of criminal behavior, beyond crossing the border illegally.
  • In Operation Predator, ICE arrested and deported 6,085 illegal alien pedophiles. Some studies suggest each pedophile molests average of 148 children. If so, that could be as many as 900,580 victims.
  • Nobody knows how big the Sex Slave problem is but it is enormous.
  • The very brutal MS-13 gang has over 15,000 members and associates in at least 115 different cliques in 33 states.
  • The overall financial impact of illegal alien crimes is estimated at between $14.4 and $81 billion or more per year. Factor in the crime as a result of the cocaine and other drugs being smuggled in and the number may reach $150 billion per year.

Is it the intention of our leaders both religious and political that we, law abiding citizens or law abiding visitors who entered our country legally be subjected to this? Can anyone really claim that allowing this to happen is a good thing…

I know, many are saying that’s why we need to give them amnesty, because once they are made full members of our Great Nation they will become peaceful law-abiding citizens who pay taxies and raise there children to love thy neighbor. Really… Do you really believe this, because if you do I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

America is a nation of immigrants, and we must allow immigrants to move here and to prosper, but we must enforce the law of the land, because a nation with out law is a nation destine to fail. I pray the the US Conference of Bishops (USCCB) will wake up and understand that immigration is not a one sided story, that they, the USCCB have an obligation to not only the illegals crossing our borders, but also to the law abiding citizens in there care. As for the polititions, well we can only hope for the best, that they wake up soom, or we vote them out come 2012.

God Bless


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