Why is it that when wingnut pundits try to appear reasonable, they always manage to come across as arrogant assholes? Case in point: John Hood’s daily drivel reflecting on the real needs of the poor in America.
In a breathtaking flight of fantasy and pseudo-analysis, Hood determines to his own glib satisfaction that the poor are doing just fine, thank you. Here's the kind of evidence he provides:
And just since 1992 . . . the share of households containing stereos rose to 73 percent from 57 percent. VCRs are as commonplace now as color TVs at 87 percent, up from 68 percent. And only 19 percent had computers in 1992, compared with nearly 60 percent in 2002.
Gee, John. Looks like we can go full speed ahead and trash the safety nets. Woohoo! Three in five households have a computer! But wait. There’s also this little tidbit as well . . .
Among those with incomes below the poverty line, 92 percent say they have enough food, 86 percent say they have no unmet medical needs, and 87 percent say they have no unpaid rent or mortgage.
So let’s see . . . I guess that means all those poor folk must be really doing just fine. Our could it possibly be that Hood’s simple-minded conclusion depends on the selective statistics he chose. Because the Center on Budget Policies and Priorities has a slightly different take on things.
According to the Center . . .
the number of people in poverty has risen by 4.3 million since 2002 and median income has fallen by $1,535, after adjustment for inflation, and the number of people with no health insurance has increased by 5.2 million.
The increase in poverty was concentrated among children. The poverty rate among children under 18 jumped from 16.7 percent to 17.6 percent between 2002 and 2003, and the number of poor children rose by 733,000, to 12.9 million. This rise accounted for a majority of the increase of 1.3 million in the overall number of poor people, which climbed from 34.6 million in 2002 to 35.9 million in 2003. More than one in every three poor people in 2003 were children.
But I can understand Hood’s reluctance to disregard reality in favor of ideological fantasy. After all, the only real problems facing society today are those imagined by “left-leaning analysts who use questionable statistics and apocalyptic rhetoric to assert a lack of economic progress.”
But give John his due. He does acknowledge that “there remain families with uncertain prospects, uneven work experience, inadequate incomes, and unsustainable debt loads. There are missed opportunities, crushing disappointments, tragic mistakes, and agonizing failures. We need to improve educational opportunities for low-income youths and adults. We need to promote job creation in distressed communities, through devices such as lifting costly taxes and regulations that squash entrepreneurship.”
And just how the hell are we going to do all that, Mr. Hood, after you and your kind succeed in dismantling the very structures and programs designed to help people find workable paths out of poverty? These people are not passing on entrepreneurship because of costly taxes. They’re passing because they’ve given up hope in a system that favors the arrogant affluent like you at every turn.
John Hood has no standing to be speaking to what the poor need or don’t need. And he should shut his uninformed mouth until he’s walked in their shoes. (And for the record, I have.)
Looks to me like Hood and Charles Krauthammer may have been separated at birth . . . though their brains seem to be still connected.
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