Monday, November 26, 2007

Selling Poverty Diminishes True Poverty

The way the 'do-gooders' use language for describing poverty in Canada diminishes what truly is poverty and makes it difficult to take their claims seriously.

A new report is due out today in Toronto by the United Way. Newspapers report that it shows poverty is up substantially in Toronto. The Sun article paints a picture of families all over the greater Toronto area living in squalor. "Nearly 30% of Toronto's families were living in poverty in 2005". Sadly, the language of the left paints pictures that don't square with reality.

The report uses a definition of 'poverty' that is peculiar at best. Poverty is defined as when the family income is 50% below the median family income. Therefore, the poverty line in Toronto is $27,500. Keep in mind this is after taxes and 'transfers'. While no one family is getting rich on $27,500 in income they are not living in poverty as most understand the term. The do-gooders purposely use the term income in an effort to conflate gross income and net income. Most people assume gross income instead of net. This conflation makes the picture worse.

Poverty once commonly meant, according to Merriam Webster, "debility due to malnutrition". This came with visions of starving African children used in television fund-raising campaigns.

Today 'do-gooder' have stipulatively redefined poverty such that Merriam Webster also defines poverty alternatively as "the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions".

When these 'do-gooders' use statistical methods to define poverty it will not be eliminated unless and until all incomes are equal and form no distribution - i.e. full income redistribution.

Instead, a real definition of poverty should include a cost-based analysis for what is needed. This way a true evaluation can help drive what proper solutions may be required.

Withouth a clear and proper definition of poverty, carelessly tossing around the label 'living in poverty' is almost meaningless.

1 comment:

Maureen Bader said...

Poverty in Canada as measured by Statscan is relative, not absolute. Poverty in Canada, measured in terms of basic needs, has declined dramatically since 1951. Poverty industry workers will always have a job as long as the poverty line continues to move relative to the success of average Canadians.

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