Poverty rate is highest in 50 years

New data shows that the poverty rate has climbed to the highest levels since the 1960s:

The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net. . . .

The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965. . . .

Even after strong economic growth in the 1990s, poverty never fell below a 1973 low of 11.1 percent. That low point came after President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty, launched in 1964, that created Medicaid, Medicare and other social welfare programs. . . .

The analysts’ estimates suggest that some 47 million people in the U.S., or 1 in 6, were poor last year. An increase of one-tenth of a percentage point to 15.2 percent would tie the 1983 rate, the highest since 1965. The highest level on record was 22.4 percent in 1959, when the government began calculating poverty figures. . . .

Analysts also believe that the poorest poor, defined as those at 50 percent or less of the poverty level, will remain near its peak level of 6.7 percent. . . .

The 2010 poverty level was $22,314 for a family of four, and $11,139 for an individual, based on an official government calculation that includes only cash income, before tax deductions. It excludes capital gains or accumulated wealth, such as home ownership, as well as noncash aid such as food stamps and tax credits, which were expanded substantially under President Barack Obama’s stimulus package.

An additional 9 million people in 2010 would have been counted above the poverty line if food stamps and tax credits were taken into account.

So, by these definitions, out of every six Americans you see on the streets, one will be poor.  One in twelve (if I’m figuring that right) will be really poor.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Not terribly surprising. All those “gains from the war on poverty” were made by borrowing from future generations, and the bill is finally coming due.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Not terribly surprising. All those “gains from the war on poverty” were made by borrowing from future generations, and the bill is finally coming due.

  • Morgan

    “[O]ut of every six Americans you see on the streets, one will be poor.”

    …and talking on his cellphone, while in his car, driving home to his house/apartment with a fridge, microwave, 2 TVs, washing machine, HVAC, etc. etc. etc. He’ll be annoyed about his kid playing that darn Playstation 3 ALL DAY. (Kids never get out anymore.)

    Sounds just like Botswana, doesn’t it?

    Our definition of poor seems to be getting a bit bloated. To me, at least, being in the two lowest quintiles or whatever (of an excessively wealthy pie) does not poverty make.

    I grew up with people that made a tiny fraction of the poverty level listed above. THEY were poor.

  • Morgan

    “[O]ut of every six Americans you see on the streets, one will be poor.”

    …and talking on his cellphone, while in his car, driving home to his house/apartment with a fridge, microwave, 2 TVs, washing machine, HVAC, etc. etc. etc. He’ll be annoyed about his kid playing that darn Playstation 3 ALL DAY. (Kids never get out anymore.)

    Sounds just like Botswana, doesn’t it?

    Our definition of poor seems to be getting a bit bloated. To me, at least, being in the two lowest quintiles or whatever (of an excessively wealthy pie) does not poverty make.

    I grew up with people that made a tiny fraction of the poverty level listed above. THEY were poor.

  • SKPeterson

    I’ll note that not too many years ago (maybe 5, if the textbooks are reliable) the poverty level for a family of 4 was at $18,000 per year. It has now risen to over $22,000, or over 20%. And here we have uber-Democrats like Paul Krugman advocating for more inflation. More. As if a 20% increase in prices helps the poor. Who in their right mind thinks that prices go up evenly, or that new money creation is spread uniformly throughout the economy? This sort of callous indifference to the plight of the poor created by policies of mindless money creation never ceases to amaze me; the very same people who say they care so much about the conditions of the poor are almost exactly the same people who push for the deterioration of the value of the money the poor earn, who seek to drive up the prices that the poor pay, and who seek to continually erode the purchasing power of the poor. And these people are lauded for their caring, when all they are doing is taking food out of the mouths of the poor, and depriving them of clothing and shelter by their policies. The ppor would be better able to manage their situation of they didn’t have to constantly fight off the assaults on their bottom liens by the armies of cheap money cranks and their abetting political allies.

  • SKPeterson

    I’ll note that not too many years ago (maybe 5, if the textbooks are reliable) the poverty level for a family of 4 was at $18,000 per year. It has now risen to over $22,000, or over 20%. And here we have uber-Democrats like Paul Krugman advocating for more inflation. More. As if a 20% increase in prices helps the poor. Who in their right mind thinks that prices go up evenly, or that new money creation is spread uniformly throughout the economy? This sort of callous indifference to the plight of the poor created by policies of mindless money creation never ceases to amaze me; the very same people who say they care so much about the conditions of the poor are almost exactly the same people who push for the deterioration of the value of the money the poor earn, who seek to drive up the prices that the poor pay, and who seek to continually erode the purchasing power of the poor. And these people are lauded for their caring, when all they are doing is taking food out of the mouths of the poor, and depriving them of clothing and shelter by their policies. The ppor would be better able to manage their situation of they didn’t have to constantly fight off the assaults on their bottom liens by the armies of cheap money cranks and their abetting political allies.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    We import huge numbers of poor people every year. So, of course we have tons of poor people. Those people also have more children than people whose grandparents were born here. No demographic group of people whose grandparents were born here has a tfr above 2.0 except the Amish and Orthodox Jews. Technically speaking some Amish and OJ are poor, but since they aren’t also dysfunctional, no one cares.

    Poorest place in America:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/nyregion/kiryas-joel-a-village-with-the-numbers-not-the-image-of-the-poorest-place.html?pagewanted=all

    The poorest place in the United States is not a dusty Texas border town, a hollow in Appalachia, a remote Indian reservation or a blighted urban neighborhood. It has no slums or homeless people. No one who lives there is shabbily dressed or has to go hungry. Crime is virtually nonexistent.

    And, yet, officially, at least, none of the nation’s 3,700 villages, towns or cities with more than 10,000 people has a higher proportion of its population living in poverty than Kiryas Joel, N.Y., a community of mostly garden apartments and town houses 50 miles northwest of New York City in suburban Orange County.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    We import huge numbers of poor people every year. So, of course we have tons of poor people. Those people also have more children than people whose grandparents were born here. No demographic group of people whose grandparents were born here has a tfr above 2.0 except the Amish and Orthodox Jews. Technically speaking some Amish and OJ are poor, but since they aren’t also dysfunctional, no one cares.

    Poorest place in America:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/nyregion/kiryas-joel-a-village-with-the-numbers-not-the-image-of-the-poorest-place.html?pagewanted=all

    The poorest place in the United States is not a dusty Texas border town, a hollow in Appalachia, a remote Indian reservation or a blighted urban neighborhood. It has no slums or homeless people. No one who lives there is shabbily dressed or has to go hungry. Crime is virtually nonexistent.

    And, yet, officially, at least, none of the nation’s 3,700 villages, towns or cities with more than 10,000 people has a higher proportion of its population living in poverty than Kiryas Joel, N.Y., a community of mostly garden apartments and town houses 50 miles northwest of New York City in suburban Orange County.

  • Tom Hering

    Cue the standard retort: America’s poor are the rest of the world’s rich. Never mind that it costs a lot more to function at a minimum in American society, than it does to live in some African backwoods. The relative nature of American poverty justifies dismissing it in most cases. Only the very poorest people on earth deserve help.

  • Tom Hering

    Cue the standard retort: America’s poor are the rest of the world’s rich. Never mind that it costs a lot more to function at a minimum in American society, than it does to live in some African backwoods. The relative nature of American poverty justifies dismissing it in most cases. Only the very poorest people on earth deserve help.

  • Tom Hering

    Morgan @ 2 beat me to it. And was serious.

  • Tom Hering

    Morgan @ 2 beat me to it. And was serious.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Only the very poorest people on earth deserve help.

    Really we don’t mind helping. We just tire of being blamed for the dysfunction while getting no credit for the success stories. If a poor person comes to the US from say, Uganda, and goes to college and has a great life, well that is because he is a super cool guy. If he comes here and is poor and dysfunctional, well that is our fault. The fact that we provided him and his family food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care means nothing. We are racist haters unless he is more successful than we are. It just gets freaking old.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Only the very poorest people on earth deserve help.

    Really we don’t mind helping. We just tire of being blamed for the dysfunction while getting no credit for the success stories. If a poor person comes to the US from say, Uganda, and goes to college and has a great life, well that is because he is a super cool guy. If he comes here and is poor and dysfunctional, well that is our fault. The fact that we provided him and his family food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care means nothing. We are racist haters unless he is more successful than we are. It just gets freaking old.

  • WebMonk

    Tom, the practical poverty line is also different in different locations even within a country – 22K / year is still a decently normal income, even for a family, where I grew up. It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper to live there than it is to live in NYC or DC.

    Where I grew up, 22K/yr can still keep a family in two cars, a house, food, clothes, phones, etc. Little will be new stuff, but it’s a long way from stuff dug out of a trash can.

    22K/yr in NYC is barely enough to cover a crappy-location rent, cheapo food, and Salvation Army clothes for ONE person. Forget a family. A family on 22K/yr would be almost entirely dependent on charity services and welfare.

    There are always these sorts of fundamental issues with broad-brush definitions of what is “poor”.

  • WebMonk

    Tom, the practical poverty line is also different in different locations even within a country – 22K / year is still a decently normal income, even for a family, where I grew up. It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper to live there than it is to live in NYC or DC.

    Where I grew up, 22K/yr can still keep a family in two cars, a house, food, clothes, phones, etc. Little will be new stuff, but it’s a long way from stuff dug out of a trash can.

    22K/yr in NYC is barely enough to cover a crappy-location rent, cheapo food, and Salvation Army clothes for ONE person. Forget a family. A family on 22K/yr would be almost entirely dependent on charity services and welfare.

    There are always these sorts of fundamental issues with broad-brush definitions of what is “poor”.

  • Morgan

    Cue strawman of “THESE AWFUL PEOPLE DON’T BELIEVE IN HELPING THE POOR!”

    Tom and his outrageous outrage @ #5 and #6 beat me to it.

  • Morgan

    Cue strawman of “THESE AWFUL PEOPLE DON’T BELIEVE IN HELPING THE POOR!”

    Tom and his outrageous outrage @ #5 and #6 beat me to it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    When was the last time you saw a NYTimes article lamenting the ingratitude of the poor in the USA? Seriously, I mean the poor here get free inoculations against diphtheria. No big deal? Well, I just looked up some rather prosperous relations of mine who were rich enough to donate some land for a church back in the 1800′s. They lost six of their eight children in a week to diphtheria. The deprivation of relative poverty in the contemporary USA is just silly. Imagine the pain those folks suffered back then despite working so hard. They didn’t even have bathrooms! The poor in the USA aren’t so afflicted.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    When was the last time you saw a NYTimes article lamenting the ingratitude of the poor in the USA? Seriously, I mean the poor here get free inoculations against diphtheria. No big deal? Well, I just looked up some rather prosperous relations of mine who were rich enough to donate some land for a church back in the 1800′s. They lost six of their eight children in a week to diphtheria. The deprivation of relative poverty in the contemporary USA is just silly. Imagine the pain those folks suffered back then despite working so hard. They didn’t even have bathrooms! The poor in the USA aren’t so afflicted.

  • rlewer

    The last I heard, government payments such as rent subsidy, food stamps, free school lunches, free state medical insurance for children, etc, were not counted as income. Some people claim that they become poorer when they make more money because of the loss of these things.

  • rlewer

    The last I heard, government payments such as rent subsidy, food stamps, free school lunches, free state medical insurance for children, etc, were not counted as income. Some people claim that they become poorer when they make more money because of the loss of these things.

  • Tom Hering

    Morgan @ 9, of course you want to help the poor. So long as you get to decide who the poor really are. (Damn that government for forcing its definition on you! :-D )

  • Tom Hering

    Morgan @ 9, of course you want to help the poor. So long as you get to decide who the poor really are. (Damn that government for forcing its definition on you! :-D )

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What is a reasonable definition of poor?

    If your kids are immunized, fed and educated, you are richer than most people who have ever lived. We provide that to people.

    Now, are they grateful?

    The lack of gratitude and appreciation is more appalling than the relative levels of poverty. The whole discussion could use reframing. We should discuss how to teach the poor gratitude and inculcate in them a desire to love and serve their neighbors. We should also be happy that we are helping so many. In 1850 probably 70% of people were poorer than the poorest 0.01% of Americans today. So, these apples to oranges comparisons are pretty meaningless. The truth may be that we have eliminated real poverty for 99.99% of people and we just can’t admit it because eliminating poverty doesn’t eliminate dysfunction or the fallen nature of humanity. It is taboo to talk about sin, and to some extent it is taboo to blame the poor for their own dysfunction, but we are allowed to talk about poverty. So here we are in the land of euphemism.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What is a reasonable definition of poor?

    If your kids are immunized, fed and educated, you are richer than most people who have ever lived. We provide that to people.

    Now, are they grateful?

    The lack of gratitude and appreciation is more appalling than the relative levels of poverty. The whole discussion could use reframing. We should discuss how to teach the poor gratitude and inculcate in them a desire to love and serve their neighbors. We should also be happy that we are helping so many. In 1850 probably 70% of people were poorer than the poorest 0.01% of Americans today. So, these apples to oranges comparisons are pretty meaningless. The truth may be that we have eliminated real poverty for 99.99% of people and we just can’t admit it because eliminating poverty doesn’t eliminate dysfunction or the fallen nature of humanity. It is taboo to talk about sin, and to some extent it is taboo to blame the poor for their own dysfunction, but we are allowed to talk about poverty. So here we are in the land of euphemism.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel D.

    Here’s how it sounds so far. Honest impressions, reading through.

    #1: Trying to help the poor just wastes money. There is no suffering in America.
    #2: There is no suffering in America.
    #3: Poor people don’t need help, help just gets in their way. Democrats cause suffering because they are stupid. I wish they knew as much as I do.
    #4: What we call “poverty” is just breeding immigrants showing up in census figures. There is no suffering in America.
    #5/6: (sarcastically) There is no suffering in America.
    #7: I don’t get enough credit for alleviating all the suffering in America (even though there is no suffering in America).
    #8: Although it is well known that the cost of living varies, I’m almost certain that poverty statistics don’t take this into account. So no matter how little someone earns, there is a good chance they are not really poor. There is no suffering in America.
    #9: Anyone who says we are saying “we don’t care about the poor” is lying.
    #10: The poor should be grateful to me that they aren’t dying of ancient diseases thanks to the efforts of people I don’t even know. There is no suffering in America.
    #11: There is no suffering in America.
    #12: It is just possible that #9 cares about helping the poor.
    #13: Low-income people should be grateful that there is no suffering in America.

    Is there anyone here whose primary concern isn’t moneybags and people getting what they deserve? Like, you know, a Gospel-minded Christian?

  • http://jdueck.net Joel D.

    Here’s how it sounds so far. Honest impressions, reading through.

    #1: Trying to help the poor just wastes money. There is no suffering in America.
    #2: There is no suffering in America.
    #3: Poor people don’t need help, help just gets in their way. Democrats cause suffering because they are stupid. I wish they knew as much as I do.
    #4: What we call “poverty” is just breeding immigrants showing up in census figures. There is no suffering in America.
    #5/6: (sarcastically) There is no suffering in America.
    #7: I don’t get enough credit for alleviating all the suffering in America (even though there is no suffering in America).
    #8: Although it is well known that the cost of living varies, I’m almost certain that poverty statistics don’t take this into account. So no matter how little someone earns, there is a good chance they are not really poor. There is no suffering in America.
    #9: Anyone who says we are saying “we don’t care about the poor” is lying.
    #10: The poor should be grateful to me that they aren’t dying of ancient diseases thanks to the efforts of people I don’t even know. There is no suffering in America.
    #11: There is no suffering in America.
    #12: It is just possible that #9 cares about helping the poor.
    #13: Low-income people should be grateful that there is no suffering in America.

    Is there anyone here whose primary concern isn’t moneybags and people getting what they deserve? Like, you know, a Gospel-minded Christian?

  • DonS

    The definition of poverty level has broadened considerably over the years, that’s just fact. And benefits received through government assistance programs are not counted when determining how many families are in poverty. That’s clearly misleading. Income is income, and at least for the purpose of determining how people are actually living it should all count.

    Joel D. @ 14 — “honest” impressions? Your synopsis of Matt’s comment @ 1 is “Trying to help the poor just wastes money. There is no suffering in America.” What he actually said was “All those ‘gains from the war on poverty’ were made by borrowing from future generations, and the bill is finally coming due.” That is totally different than your summary. Matt never said anything like “there is no suffering in America”, nor did he say that trying to help the poor wastes money. What he said was that borrowing money to help the poor is stupid, because sooner or later your economy (and your children) will suffer for it. He is absolutely right.

    And there is absolutely nothing in the Gospel regarding us helping the poor by confiscating money from others through the tax system. Reach into your own pockets and use your own time to help the poor — that is Christ’s message.

  • DonS

    The definition of poverty level has broadened considerably over the years, that’s just fact. And benefits received through government assistance programs are not counted when determining how many families are in poverty. That’s clearly misleading. Income is income, and at least for the purpose of determining how people are actually living it should all count.

    Joel D. @ 14 — “honest” impressions? Your synopsis of Matt’s comment @ 1 is “Trying to help the poor just wastes money. There is no suffering in America.” What he actually said was “All those ‘gains from the war on poverty’ were made by borrowing from future generations, and the bill is finally coming due.” That is totally different than your summary. Matt never said anything like “there is no suffering in America”, nor did he say that trying to help the poor wastes money. What he said was that borrowing money to help the poor is stupid, because sooner or later your economy (and your children) will suffer for it. He is absolutely right.

    And there is absolutely nothing in the Gospel regarding us helping the poor by confiscating money from others through the tax system. Reach into your own pockets and use your own time to help the poor — that is Christ’s message.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel D.

    “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, by your fiscal responsibility and scrupulous exacting of the gratitude you deserve.” – Jesus

    “If someone compels you to do or give something, fight back and make them pry it from your cold, dead fingers.” – Jesus

    “The best way to help people is to leave them be. Start doling out favors and they’ll just keep coming back for more.” – Jesus

  • http://jdueck.net Joel D.

    “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, by your fiscal responsibility and scrupulous exacting of the gratitude you deserve.” – Jesus

    “If someone compels you to do or give something, fight back and make them pry it from your cold, dead fingers.” – Jesus

    “The best way to help people is to leave them be. Start doling out favors and they’ll just keep coming back for more.” – Jesus

  • http://jdueck.net Joel D.

    Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons?!

  • http://jdueck.net Joel D.

    Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons?!

  • http://jdueck.net Joel D.

    The day Christians stop giving a damn (literally) about taxes is the day the salt in the US starts to regain its savor.

  • http://jdueck.net Joel D.

    The day Christians stop giving a damn (literally) about taxes is the day the salt in the US starts to regain its savor.

  • DonS

    When you’re done with your rant, Joel, let us know, and we will resume normal blogging.

  • DonS

    When you’re done with your rant, Joel, let us know, and we will resume normal blogging.

  • WebMonk

    Joel, were you serious or just making a joke? It sounded like you were vaguely serious, but if so I have to ask what you are smoking that you generated those “summaries” of the posts?

    Even taking massive amounts of possible snark into account those were still bizarrely false summaries. As the author of #8, I can authoritatively say you got it almost entirely backwards. With less authority, I can say you got most of the other summaries wrong too. Bizarrely, wildly wrong.

    If you were being completely sarcastic in #14 or were making a joke, I apologize – maybe my humor-mometer is broken.

  • WebMonk

    Joel, were you serious or just making a joke? It sounded like you were vaguely serious, but if so I have to ask what you are smoking that you generated those “summaries” of the posts?

    Even taking massive amounts of possible snark into account those were still bizarrely false summaries. As the author of #8, I can authoritatively say you got it almost entirely backwards. With less authority, I can say you got most of the other summaries wrong too. Bizarrely, wildly wrong.

    If you were being completely sarcastic in #14 or were making a joke, I apologize – maybe my humor-mometer is broken.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Obviously, if we object to the method of helping the poor that statists prescribe, it can only be because we don’t care about the poor. Because, of course, Government is the Answer.

    (yawn)

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Obviously, if we object to the method of helping the poor that statists prescribe, it can only be because we don’t care about the poor. Because, of course, Government is the Answer.

    (yawn)

  • rlewer

    The facts are that Christians give more of their own money freely than others do. Paying taxes is not love for the poor.

    But, don’t bother Joel with the facts. He likes to make up his own stuff and rewrite what others said beyond recognition. It would be nice to know what % of his income Joel DONATES to the poor. Taxes are not donations.

  • rlewer

    The facts are that Christians give more of their own money freely than others do. Paying taxes is not love for the poor.

    But, don’t bother Joel with the facts. He likes to make up his own stuff and rewrite what others said beyond recognition. It would be nice to know what % of his income Joel DONATES to the poor. Taxes are not donations.

  • Morgan

    Tom @ 12:
    You’re pretty darn adept at putting words into people’s mouths and impugning (imagined) motives. Okay, fine. Right. You good guy. Me bad guy.

    But, maybe by accident, you have hit on the original point: society, and yes at some point government, has to define “poor.” And I think we need to be wise, and thoughtful, and certainly compassionate in going about making that definition.

    And Joel D., thank you so much, that was just incredibly helpful. I don’t know how we would have managed to navigate the conversation without your boildown and analysis. Appreciate that. Disagree with high taxes? Surprise! You’re not being Christ like. Got it.

  • Morgan

    Tom @ 12:
    You’re pretty darn adept at putting words into people’s mouths and impugning (imagined) motives. Okay, fine. Right. You good guy. Me bad guy.

    But, maybe by accident, you have hit on the original point: society, and yes at some point government, has to define “poor.” And I think we need to be wise, and thoughtful, and certainly compassionate in going about making that definition.

    And Joel D., thank you so much, that was just incredibly helpful. I don’t know how we would have managed to navigate the conversation without your boildown and analysis. Appreciate that. Disagree with high taxes? Surprise! You’re not being Christ like. Got it.

  • SKPeterson

    Joel @ 14 – Yeah, you got mine at #3 wrong too. I made no mention whatsoever that the poor don’t need help. What I am saying is that advocating for inflation, and let’s face it, most of the Democrats who are “in charge” of our economic policies are rank inflationists, directly harms the poor, and almost every welfare benefit that is given with the right hand is subtly taken away with the left that pushes ever weakening dollars into the hands of the poor. If it takes $200 in food stamp benefits to purchase what used to cost only $180 dollars have you made the poor better off ? (Yes, in a technical economic sense, since $180 is better than $0) But, no, if we agree that $200 is better than $180. Moreover, some poor people also have jobs – those horrible, awful minimum wage jobs everyone always complains about. Maybe they wouldn’t be so bad if the value of the dollar wasn’t constantly being eroded. Quantitative easing of the money supply has done as much damage to the poor through inflation over the last 5 years (so its not entirely Obama’s fault) as pulling back on any sort of welfare program could.

  • SKPeterson

    Joel @ 14 – Yeah, you got mine at #3 wrong too. I made no mention whatsoever that the poor don’t need help. What I am saying is that advocating for inflation, and let’s face it, most of the Democrats who are “in charge” of our economic policies are rank inflationists, directly harms the poor, and almost every welfare benefit that is given with the right hand is subtly taken away with the left that pushes ever weakening dollars into the hands of the poor. If it takes $200 in food stamp benefits to purchase what used to cost only $180 dollars have you made the poor better off ? (Yes, in a technical economic sense, since $180 is better than $0) But, no, if we agree that $200 is better than $180. Moreover, some poor people also have jobs – those horrible, awful minimum wage jobs everyone always complains about. Maybe they wouldn’t be so bad if the value of the dollar wasn’t constantly being eroded. Quantitative easing of the money supply has done as much damage to the poor through inflation over the last 5 years (so its not entirely Obama’s fault) as pulling back on any sort of welfare program could.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Joel,

    The problem isn’t poverty.

    The problem is dysfunction.

    Dysfunction causes suffering, too.

    Poverty is not the sole cause of suffering.

    Giving people money or resources solves whatever problems are caused by poverty.

    Dysfunction, well it doesn’t appear that money fixes that.

    So, Joel, what do you think is going to help with the dysfunction among those labeled poor?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Joel,

    The problem isn’t poverty.

    The problem is dysfunction.

    Dysfunction causes suffering, too.

    Poverty is not the sole cause of suffering.

    Giving people money or resources solves whatever problems are caused by poverty.

    Dysfunction, well it doesn’t appear that money fixes that.

    So, Joel, what do you think is going to help with the dysfunction among those labeled poor?

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Joel @ 14,

    I suppose a man who is colorblind is “honest” in thinking that red and green look exactly the same. Unfortunately, such a handicap makes it difficult for him to follow a discussion on Christmas decorations.

    Whatever intellectual deficiency leads to you tack “there is no suffering in America” onto so many different statements regardless of what they actually say, you might want to dial back the arrogant denunciations until you can get your condition under some semblance of control.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Joel @ 14,

    I suppose a man who is colorblind is “honest” in thinking that red and green look exactly the same. Unfortunately, such a handicap makes it difficult for him to follow a discussion on Christmas decorations.

    Whatever intellectual deficiency leads to you tack “there is no suffering in America” onto so many different statements regardless of what they actually say, you might want to dial back the arrogant denunciations until you can get your condition under some semblance of control.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK said (@3):

    I’ll note that not too many years ago (maybe 5, if the textbooks are reliable) the poverty level for a family of 4 was at $18,000 per year. It has now risen to over $22,000, or over 20%.

    I really don’t get your point here. That more or less mirrors the CPI over that same time.

    This may or may not be the most relevant definition of poverty, but I looked up the Census Bureau’s poverty thresholds over the past half-century, and what I found was that things had remained surprisingly constant — when adjusted for inflation.

    In 1959: $2955 ($21507 in 2009 dollars).
    In 1969: $3715 ($21496 in 2009 dollars).
    In 1980: $8351 ($21462 in 2009 dollars).
    In 1990: $13254 ($21482 in 2009 dollars).
    In 2000: $17463 ($21541 in 2009 dollars).
    In 2009: $21756 ($21756 in 2009 dollars).

    Given the slight uptick since 2000, I’d expect to see an increase in those officially in poverty over that period.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK said (@3):

    I’ll note that not too many years ago (maybe 5, if the textbooks are reliable) the poverty level for a family of 4 was at $18,000 per year. It has now risen to over $22,000, or over 20%.

    I really don’t get your point here. That more or less mirrors the CPI over that same time.

    This may or may not be the most relevant definition of poverty, but I looked up the Census Bureau’s poverty thresholds over the past half-century, and what I found was that things had remained surprisingly constant — when adjusted for inflation.

    In 1959: $2955 ($21507 in 2009 dollars).
    In 1969: $3715 ($21496 in 2009 dollars).
    In 1980: $8351 ($21462 in 2009 dollars).
    In 1990: $13254 ($21482 in 2009 dollars).
    In 2000: $17463 ($21541 in 2009 dollars).
    In 2009: $21756 ($21756 in 2009 dollars).

    Given the slight uptick since 2000, I’d expect to see an increase in those officially in poverty over that period.

  • SKPeterson

    No super important point Todd – just that inflation has an impact on the purchasing power of the poor and that the adjustments are an after-the-fact occurrence. The poverty level amount has a definite lag – prices go up first, then the poverty level changes and then welfare benefits, etc. are determined. The poor end up being last in line and are the least capable in handling ever rising prices. The consistent deterioration in the value of the dollar makes it that much harder for those on the margins to escape a cycle of poverty.

    Look at it like this. Say you have an income of $10,000 and inflation is clicking along at 2.1%, so over the course of the year your purchasing power has declined to the extent that it will now take $10,210 just to equal your purchasing power from the year before. BUT, you’ve been losing that $210 over the course of the entire year, bit by bit, such that the $10,000 you would have had over the course of the year is buying less than that. Now, if your income was sufficiently low so that you received welfare benefits, say a monthly cash outlay equally $2000 over the course of the year so that you reach an arbitrary poverty line of $12,000 – you are better off, but you are still losing the $210 as well as another $42 in purchasing power over the course of the year. Inflation is putting you in the hole – even with the welfare subsidy you end up being below the poverty level because of inflation eating away at the value of the dollar.

    Now, at the end of the year, the poverty level gets recalibrated such that poverty is now defined as incomes below $12,252. Great – you can expect an additional $21 per month. Except that the recalibration probably won’t happen until the end of March, so you down three months of inflation already. Also, the poverty level is basing its increases on CPI as you note. However, a lot of the inflation hasn’t been happening in core CPI – it’s been happening in the more “volatile” food and energy prices that are excluded and seasonally weighted out. After the recession gas prices declined to $1.60 per gallon on average, but since then have roughly doubled. That’s an average year over year price change of over 14%, and a lot of food prices have not been in CPI range as well. These price changes do reflect changes in supply and demand considerations, but they also have a substantial money supply induced change. And what constitutes a major portion of poor income household expenditures? Food and energy – two of the items that have had the most inflation in tandem with the enormous increase in money supply over the last 4 to 5 years. Any CPI induced changes just add insult to injury.

    The simple point is that pumping money into the economy to foster inflation-led growth has negative consequences for the most vulnerable people in our society, and that it is morally repugnant to advocate for such economic and financial policies if one is positing that they are implementing policies that look out for the best interests of the poor. Actually, it’s morally repugnant even if you aren’t positing yourself as a benefactor of the needy.

  • SKPeterson

    No super important point Todd – just that inflation has an impact on the purchasing power of the poor and that the adjustments are an after-the-fact occurrence. The poverty level amount has a definite lag – prices go up first, then the poverty level changes and then welfare benefits, etc. are determined. The poor end up being last in line and are the least capable in handling ever rising prices. The consistent deterioration in the value of the dollar makes it that much harder for those on the margins to escape a cycle of poverty.

    Look at it like this. Say you have an income of $10,000 and inflation is clicking along at 2.1%, so over the course of the year your purchasing power has declined to the extent that it will now take $10,210 just to equal your purchasing power from the year before. BUT, you’ve been losing that $210 over the course of the entire year, bit by bit, such that the $10,000 you would have had over the course of the year is buying less than that. Now, if your income was sufficiently low so that you received welfare benefits, say a monthly cash outlay equally $2000 over the course of the year so that you reach an arbitrary poverty line of $12,000 – you are better off, but you are still losing the $210 as well as another $42 in purchasing power over the course of the year. Inflation is putting you in the hole – even with the welfare subsidy you end up being below the poverty level because of inflation eating away at the value of the dollar.

    Now, at the end of the year, the poverty level gets recalibrated such that poverty is now defined as incomes below $12,252. Great – you can expect an additional $21 per month. Except that the recalibration probably won’t happen until the end of March, so you down three months of inflation already. Also, the poverty level is basing its increases on CPI as you note. However, a lot of the inflation hasn’t been happening in core CPI – it’s been happening in the more “volatile” food and energy prices that are excluded and seasonally weighted out. After the recession gas prices declined to $1.60 per gallon on average, but since then have roughly doubled. That’s an average year over year price change of over 14%, and a lot of food prices have not been in CPI range as well. These price changes do reflect changes in supply and demand considerations, but they also have a substantial money supply induced change. And what constitutes a major portion of poor income household expenditures? Food and energy – two of the items that have had the most inflation in tandem with the enormous increase in money supply over the last 4 to 5 years. Any CPI induced changes just add insult to injury.

    The simple point is that pumping money into the economy to foster inflation-led growth has negative consequences for the most vulnerable people in our society, and that it is morally repugnant to advocate for such economic and financial policies if one is positing that they are implementing policies that look out for the best interests of the poor. Actually, it’s morally repugnant even if you aren’t positing yourself as a benefactor of the needy.

  • Michael B.

    @Joel D. @ 16

    You’re right that tax-relief wasn’t on the agenda of Jesus. But where do we see him setting up public or even private programs for poor people? The message of Jesus is primarily concerned with the afterlife. Even if men lived to be a trillion years old, that would still be a blink of an eye in terms of eternity.

  • Michael B.

    @Joel D. @ 16

    You’re right that tax-relief wasn’t on the agenda of Jesus. But where do we see him setting up public or even private programs for poor people? The message of Jesus is primarily concerned with the afterlife. Even if men lived to be a trillion years old, that would still be a blink of an eye in terms of eternity.

  • formerly just steve

    sg, #4, did I read you right that KJ is not dysfunctional? Really? If every community had it’s own internal method of handling crime rather than reporting it to the proper authorities, there might be a fair comparison. There is plenty of crime, welfare fraud, tax fraud, internecine squabbles that lead to mini-riots, etc in this and other OJ communities. Don’t kid yourself. Then there’s the issue of genetic disorders that are much more rampant in these communities which is not an issue less insular communities have to deal with. Combine that with a 60+% rate of government subsidy and you have a pretty hefty expense.

    All of that just speaks to the earlier point made about the Poor in the West having relative affluence compared with the poor in most of the world. But how long can that last when the population growth rate of poor communities is dwarfing all others?

  • formerly just steve

    sg, #4, did I read you right that KJ is not dysfunctional? Really? If every community had it’s own internal method of handling crime rather than reporting it to the proper authorities, there might be a fair comparison. There is plenty of crime, welfare fraud, tax fraud, internecine squabbles that lead to mini-riots, etc in this and other OJ communities. Don’t kid yourself. Then there’s the issue of genetic disorders that are much more rampant in these communities which is not an issue less insular communities have to deal with. Combine that with a 60+% rate of government subsidy and you have a pretty hefty expense.

    All of that just speaks to the earlier point made about the Poor in the West having relative affluence compared with the poor in most of the world. But how long can that last when the population growth rate of poor communities is dwarfing all others?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @30 We are all dysfunctional to some degree. That said, KJ does not have many of the same problems that other communities with similar per capita income levels. I was not implying they have absolutely no problems. As for welfare fraud/abuse, I can’t say that I know what their levels are, but we don’t have evidence that it is higher than in other communities of similar per capita income. Everything is relative when discussing levels of human failing. No one is perfect.

    At least the KJ kids and Amish kids have fathers. Probably the worst thing that poor kids so much more often suffer is being without their fathers. That is a far greater poverty than lacking material affluence.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @30 We are all dysfunctional to some degree. That said, KJ does not have many of the same problems that other communities with similar per capita income levels. I was not implying they have absolutely no problems. As for welfare fraud/abuse, I can’t say that I know what their levels are, but we don’t have evidence that it is higher than in other communities of similar per capita income. Everything is relative when discussing levels of human failing. No one is perfect.

    At least the KJ kids and Amish kids have fathers. Probably the worst thing that poor kids so much more often suffer is being without their fathers. That is a far greater poverty than lacking material affluence.

  • kerner
  • kerner
  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    There are no communities with a dysfunction rate of zero. Duh.

    The comparison is to other communities of similar income.

    Poverty ≠ Dysfunction

    However, in general they correlate because dysfunction often causes poverty. Just trying to clarify which way the arrow points.

    Dysfunction => Poverty

    I am not trying to establish that some very unusual communities are utopias.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    There are no communities with a dysfunction rate of zero. Duh.

    The comparison is to other communities of similar income.

    Poverty ≠ Dysfunction

    However, in general they correlate because dysfunction often causes poverty. Just trying to clarify which way the arrow points.

    Dysfunction => Poverty

    I am not trying to establish that some very unusual communities are utopias.

  • kerner

    sg: True enough, sometimes. Some forms of dysfunction tend to cause economic poverty. Some don’t, or are offset by other factors.

  • kerner

    sg: True enough, sometimes. Some forms of dysfunction tend to cause economic poverty. Some don’t, or are offset by other factors.

  • Michael B.

    @sg@33

    I disagree. Dysfunction can cause poverty, but it doesn’t have to. I’m sure you know many rich, dysfunctional families. Also, poverty can easily cause dysfunction. You take a happy family with a husband that provides for his wife and kids, and then lets say he loses his job and can’t get another one. Can we expect the same happy, healthy family that we had before?

  • Michael B.

    @sg@33

    I disagree. Dysfunction can cause poverty, but it doesn’t have to. I’m sure you know many rich, dysfunctional families. Also, poverty can easily cause dysfunction. You take a happy family with a husband that provides for his wife and kids, and then lets say he loses his job and can’t get another one. Can we expect the same happy, healthy family that we had before?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Can we expect the same happy, healthy family that we had before?”

    If the prosperity is not compensating for the effects of dysfunction, then you will find that plenty of people can cope and be content. Consider professional athletes making millions who find themselves destitute and indebted with many personal problems just a few years after retirement. This is an extreme case, but highlights the fact that even significant prosperity often doesn’t mitigate dysfunction. Meanwhile, I have friends of only middling ability who are joyful and productive despite feeling the pain and unhappiness of job loss and profound setbacks including serious health problems and disabilities. They are very high functioning and very pleasant despite some pretty awful things that happened to them through no fault of their own. I can’t say directly the incidence rate of these people but it is not zero. Poverty caused them no real loss of interpersonal social function. They didn’t get divorced, abuse their kids, get hooked on drugs despite being pretty danged poor due to various external factors.

    Just an aside. We hear of creating your own reality. Well, why is it we think only the rich or middle classes can benefit from a positive outlook, self-discipline or even esoteric education? If middle class house wives can escape tedium by reading light weight fiction, why not poor women? Why do you need to be rich to tidy up the house? Why is there despair? It doesn’t seem to be coming from external things as much as from the people themselves.

    I am not arguing that the directionality is absolute, rather predominant. So, generally, but not absolutely, dysfunction causes poverty. And generally, but not absolutely, poverty does not cause dysfunction.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Can we expect the same happy, healthy family that we had before?”

    If the prosperity is not compensating for the effects of dysfunction, then you will find that plenty of people can cope and be content. Consider professional athletes making millions who find themselves destitute and indebted with many personal problems just a few years after retirement. This is an extreme case, but highlights the fact that even significant prosperity often doesn’t mitigate dysfunction. Meanwhile, I have friends of only middling ability who are joyful and productive despite feeling the pain and unhappiness of job loss and profound setbacks including serious health problems and disabilities. They are very high functioning and very pleasant despite some pretty awful things that happened to them through no fault of their own. I can’t say directly the incidence rate of these people but it is not zero. Poverty caused them no real loss of interpersonal social function. They didn’t get divorced, abuse their kids, get hooked on drugs despite being pretty danged poor due to various external factors.

    Just an aside. We hear of creating your own reality. Well, why is it we think only the rich or middle classes can benefit from a positive outlook, self-discipline or even esoteric education? If middle class house wives can escape tedium by reading light weight fiction, why not poor women? Why do you need to be rich to tidy up the house? Why is there despair? It doesn’t seem to be coming from external things as much as from the people themselves.

    I am not arguing that the directionality is absolute, rather predominant. So, generally, but not absolutely, dysfunction causes poverty. And generally, but not absolutely, poverty does not cause dysfunction.

  • Michael B.

    @sg@36

    “If middle class house wives can escape tedium by reading light weight fiction, why not poor women?”

    Your second paragraph kind of answered my main objection to your first paragraph. These lower class people can’t be happy or escape their problems through a good book because their problems are constantly rearing their ugly face. I don’t know your friends, so I’m just making general statements here. You say your friends have bad health problems. I could understand being happy with a disability, but how can they be happy if they’re in chronic pain? And do they have health care? Losing your job would be bad enough, but what if you do it and your wife needs your health care? And all this must be especially irksome if you live in one of the richest countries in the world — not being able to get health care while people nearby live in McMansions. And how can you define yourself as a productive man if you’re family is in need and you aren’t providing for their needs? It may be no fault of the man, but I think one has to lose the “productive” adjective.

  • Michael B.

    @sg@36

    “If middle class house wives can escape tedium by reading light weight fiction, why not poor women?”

    Your second paragraph kind of answered my main objection to your first paragraph. These lower class people can’t be happy or escape their problems through a good book because their problems are constantly rearing their ugly face. I don’t know your friends, so I’m just making general statements here. You say your friends have bad health problems. I could understand being happy with a disability, but how can they be happy if they’re in chronic pain? And do they have health care? Losing your job would be bad enough, but what if you do it and your wife needs your health care? And all this must be especially irksome if you live in one of the richest countries in the world — not being able to get health care while people nearby live in McMansions. And how can you define yourself as a productive man if you’re family is in need and you aren’t providing for their needs? It may be no fault of the man, but I think one has to lose the “productive” adjective.

  • Michael B.

    @sg@36 :: followup

    I was thinking about your post after I responded, and I realized I’m probably not giving it near enough thought as it deserves. I’m not sure if you ever had the opportunity to visit a foreign nation and interact with some of the very poor people there, but I’ve found some of the very attitudes that you describe in a few of your friends. In my case it was India. Their living conditions and working conditions were horrible. It wasn’t uncommon for one of their family members to die from some preventable health problem. And yet, I could not deny that they seemed to be happy and productive. It was as if they adopted the creed, “this is my lot in life…I’m going to accept it and make the most of it”.

    They is certainly some value in their attitude. They are certainly much happier with much less. And yet, there is also this sense in that they’ve paid a price for their happiness. I mean they’ve basically had to convince themselves that somebody else deserves a yacht, and they might not be able to even feed their kids. I’ve wondered the same thing about modern day blacks verses slaves on plantations. I wouldn’t be surprised if one found happy slaves, who just were simply convinced that this was their lot in life, and just to make the best of it.

  • Michael B.

    @sg@36 :: followup

    I was thinking about your post after I responded, and I realized I’m probably not giving it near enough thought as it deserves. I’m not sure if you ever had the opportunity to visit a foreign nation and interact with some of the very poor people there, but I’ve found some of the very attitudes that you describe in a few of your friends. In my case it was India. Their living conditions and working conditions were horrible. It wasn’t uncommon for one of their family members to die from some preventable health problem. And yet, I could not deny that they seemed to be happy and productive. It was as if they adopted the creed, “this is my lot in life…I’m going to accept it and make the most of it”.

    They is certainly some value in their attitude. They are certainly much happier with much less. And yet, there is also this sense in that they’ve paid a price for their happiness. I mean they’ve basically had to convince themselves that somebody else deserves a yacht, and they might not be able to even feed their kids. I’ve wondered the same thing about modern day blacks verses slaves on plantations. I wouldn’t be surprised if one found happy slaves, who just were simply convinced that this was their lot in life, and just to make the best of it.

  • Marie

    “And yet, I could not deny that they seemed to be happy and productive. It was as if they adopted the creed, “this is my lot in life…I’m going to accept it and make the most of it”.

    I just finished reading Doc Watson’s biography, and this seems to be the mindset of a lot of poor folks in the mountains at the beginning of the last century. And of the Ingalls family (I did not realize how poor they were until I read the Little House books as an adult to my own kids). We are to be “content in every situation” with our own lot. Envy is a sin. However, we are to be compassionate and merciful and generous to those around us in need, as far as we are able. (And those in need should not be proud, rejecting charity)

    “Never mind that it costs a lot more to function at a minimum in American society, than it does to live in some African backwoods.”

    There is no shame in being poor. However, the expected–almost required–standard of living in this country is very hard to maintain. The fees and regulation and licensing required to do anything approaching self-sufficiency is a huge burden. Since my husband (laid off March 2010, unable to find a job) started his own business last year, I have come to realize how unfriendly to to the poor the automobile and a car-driven culture is. Thankfully, my husband can walk to work, but the amount of money we have lost to our car is depressing. But it’s a necessity, as is the internet for him to run his business. And traditional “survival” skills or habits are popular now among the wealthier and environmentally minded, keeping them out of reach of poor folks. As a high school student I used to shop for vintage and used clothes at Goodwill regularly. I rarely paid more than $2 for anything. Now, with thrift store shopping becoming popular of the middle class and wealthy, dresses are $6 (!) and shirts $3-4 at my local thrift store. And Etsy or eBay shop owners swoop in, buying the all best or name-brand items, and sell them online for $10 or more. I read somewhere a lot of the cheaper clothes donated to thrift stores are made into rags or sent overseas to “real poor people.” So I depend on garage sales and people giving me clothes.

    Meanwhile, it’s a luxury–a sort of sport–to hunt or fish. Equipment, travel, limits on weight or number of animals, license fees + the possibility you may not shoot anything worth eating all, hinder hunting for economic reasons. CSAs are definitely a white, upper-middle class trend.

    I could go on and on. It’s frustrating. Also, you all should consider how hard it is to “downsize,” to go from wealthier to poorer, even if “poor” is relative. I feel bad for friends who have fallen from $120K income to $80K, even though we’ll probably never have an annual income approaching that.

    We’re buying a used chest freezer off craigslist, and I just bought a years’ worth of chickens from a friend. We’re also thinking about raising rabbits to eat, since chickens aren’t really an option in the city. Food is always on my mind. (Yay for zucchini and cabbage!)

  • Marie

    “And yet, I could not deny that they seemed to be happy and productive. It was as if they adopted the creed, “this is my lot in life…I’m going to accept it and make the most of it”.

    I just finished reading Doc Watson’s biography, and this seems to be the mindset of a lot of poor folks in the mountains at the beginning of the last century. And of the Ingalls family (I did not realize how poor they were until I read the Little House books as an adult to my own kids). We are to be “content in every situation” with our own lot. Envy is a sin. However, we are to be compassionate and merciful and generous to those around us in need, as far as we are able. (And those in need should not be proud, rejecting charity)

    “Never mind that it costs a lot more to function at a minimum in American society, than it does to live in some African backwoods.”

    There is no shame in being poor. However, the expected–almost required–standard of living in this country is very hard to maintain. The fees and regulation and licensing required to do anything approaching self-sufficiency is a huge burden. Since my husband (laid off March 2010, unable to find a job) started his own business last year, I have come to realize how unfriendly to to the poor the automobile and a car-driven culture is. Thankfully, my husband can walk to work, but the amount of money we have lost to our car is depressing. But it’s a necessity, as is the internet for him to run his business. And traditional “survival” skills or habits are popular now among the wealthier and environmentally minded, keeping them out of reach of poor folks. As a high school student I used to shop for vintage and used clothes at Goodwill regularly. I rarely paid more than $2 for anything. Now, with thrift store shopping becoming popular of the middle class and wealthy, dresses are $6 (!) and shirts $3-4 at my local thrift store. And Etsy or eBay shop owners swoop in, buying the all best or name-brand items, and sell them online for $10 or more. I read somewhere a lot of the cheaper clothes donated to thrift stores are made into rags or sent overseas to “real poor people.” So I depend on garage sales and people giving me clothes.

    Meanwhile, it’s a luxury–a sort of sport–to hunt or fish. Equipment, travel, limits on weight or number of animals, license fees + the possibility you may not shoot anything worth eating all, hinder hunting for economic reasons. CSAs are definitely a white, upper-middle class trend.

    I could go on and on. It’s frustrating. Also, you all should consider how hard it is to “downsize,” to go from wealthier to poorer, even if “poor” is relative. I feel bad for friends who have fallen from $120K income to $80K, even though we’ll probably never have an annual income approaching that.

    We’re buying a used chest freezer off craigslist, and I just bought a years’ worth of chickens from a friend. We’re also thinking about raising rabbits to eat, since chickens aren’t really an option in the city. Food is always on my mind. (Yay for zucchini and cabbage!)


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