3.5 Million children in “extreme poverty” say the Dems, Hooey say I!

Figures lie and liars figure, an old adage.  Yet it is the credo of politics. Both sides. Data is the answer.

After President BILL CLINTON signed the welfare reform bill 20 years ago the left has been waiting to reverse the situation.  Our current president has done so by executive order, somewhat.

The question is, is the safety net catching folks that need help, and are we requiring, not hoping, they get back to work, with assistance.

The attached article from the Daily Signal, 8/22/16, puts forth data that totally contradicts the claim above, totally. So, is it more important to throw out lies to get elected so to have power–it seems so to me, both sides.

We as citizens must look at the data, please.

Did Welfare Reform Really Throw 3.5 Million Children Into Third World Poverty? The Facts May Surprise You

Today is the 20th anniversary of welfare reform. Two decades ago, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, known as welfare reform, into law.

The highly popular reform cut welfare caseloads by over 50 percent, sharply boosted the employment of the least-skilled single mothers, and pushed the poverty rates of black children and single-parent families to historic lows.

But the left always hated welfare reform. It now claims that reform has thrown 3.5 million children into “extreme poverty,” the kind seen in the developing world, living in destitution on less than $2 per day.

Read the Full Report: Did Welfare Reform Increase Extreme Poverty in the United States?

CBS News asserts that, because of welfare reform, “ … America is joining the likes of Third World countries.” The New York Times proclaims “welfare reform has resulted in a layer of destitution that echoes poverty in countries like Bangladesh.”

Bloomberg News gasps that millions of Americans now “live on less than the average GDP [gross domestic product] per capita of a low-income country such as Afghanistan, Mozambique, or Haiti.” It insists millions in America are poorer than the “disabled beggars of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.”

The origin of these sensational claims is a recent book, “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America,” by Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer.

The authors argue that welfare reform has led 3.55 million children (and 1 in 25 of all families with children) in America to subsist on less than $2 per person per day, which they identify as “one of the World Bank’s measures of global poverty.” According to Edin and Shaefer, these families live in “extreme destitution,” regularly engaging in prostitution, selling their blood, and collecting scrap metal to survive. Edin claims that “extreme poverty” is actually“much worse” in the U.S. than in developing nations because there is no “barter economy” here.

Edin and Shaefer’s bizarre charges are based on the government’s Survey of Income and Program Participation. However, examination of the survey data reveals that the families Edin and Shaefer claim are living in “extreme poverty” don’t actually appear to be particularly poor, let alone living in “extreme destitution.”

According to the data, some 67 percent of families with children allegedly living in “extreme poverty” have a computer, 86.5 percent have air conditioning in their homes or apartments, 89 percent have cellphones, and 88 percent have a DVD player, digital video recorder, VCR, or similar device.


What about hunger? Surely, hunger must be widespread among families in “extreme destitution.” But, according to the survey data, only 1 percent of families allegedly living in “extreme poverty” report that they “often” did not have “enough food to eat” over the previous four months; another 8 percent said they “sometimes” did not have “enough to eat.” The remaining 91 percent report that they “always” had enough food to eat.

Despite having alleged incomes of less than $2 per day, only 1 percent of these families were evicted during the prior year, while 4 percent had their oil, gas, or electricity cut off.

Edin and Shaefer concoct their remarkable claim that 3.5 million children routinely live in “extreme destitution,” on $2 per day or less, through a combination of statistical sleight of hand and lousy data. In 2014, federal and state government spent $221 billion on cash, food, and housing for low-income families with children. That’s two and a half times the amount needed to eliminate all poverty among families with children.

But when Edin and Shaefer calculate “extreme poverty,” they exclude nearly all of that welfare spending from their count of family income. With welfare out of the picture, it’s not hard to find families with very low incomes.

The authors admit that if food stamps and the earned income tax credit are counted, the number of kids in “extreme poverty” drops to 1.2 million. But that number is still misleading because the survey used by Edin and Shaefer undercounts receipt by more than 20 million welfare benefits distributed to recipients each month.

In a nutshell, Edin and Shaefer have used a survey that omits more than 20 million welfare benefits each month to conclude that 1.2 million children live in families that go without welfare in that month. They are simply measuring large data gaps in a flawed survey, not actual holes in the safety net.

Poverty experts understand that government income surveys, such as the Survey of Income and Program Participation, always underreport the incomes of the poor, especially welfare and off-books earnings. No surprise then that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Consumer Expenditure Survey has shown for decades that the poor households routinely report spending roughly $2.40 for every dollar of apparent income. For families in Edin and Shaefer’s “extreme poverty,” the expenditure-to-income ratio in the Consumer Expenditure Survey rises to around $25 to $1.

Based on self-reports of consumer spending, “extreme poverty” has been practically nonexistent for three decades.

From 1984 through 2015, the Consumer Expenditure Survey shows only 61 instances in which a family reported spending less than $2 per person per day out of a total of 272,597 quarterly family records. (Two-thirds of the 61 underspending families lived in public housing.) According to spending data reported by the families themselves, the number of families with children living on $2 per person per day is not 1 in 25, as Edin and Shaefer contend, but 1 in 4,469. 

Edin and Shaefer argue that welfare reform increased poverty, but expenditure data show that, after reform, both official poverty rates ($17.44 per person per day for a three-person family) and deep poverty rates ($8.72 per person per day) fell sharply for the main group affected by reform: single parents with children.

In fact, poverty fell much more for single parents than for other groups in society. In other words, the group directly affected by welfare reform had the greatest drop in poverty.

Exaggerating poverty has been a mainstay of progressive politics since the beginning of the war on poverty. No matter how much the taxpayers spend on welfare, the sky is always falling. Bogus claims of widespread “extreme destitution” promote social polarization and political paralysis, distracting attention from the real problems crippling low-income communities.

The Warren, Watch what he does, not what he says.

The Economist, August 13, 2016 “Don’t Buff it up”

Warren Buffett has always been a Democrat, very vocal at times about taxes, etc.

But what he does is buy oligopolies like Gillete and Coca-Cola (not exactly brands that are cheap); pay low taxes, last year Bershire paid 13%; he likes spending time with prominent politicians alone; partners with companies like 3G who like to buy out companies and reduce payrolls, Heinz and Kraft, etc.

Like a politician, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do. He is a good politician, he misleads.

Business is business, when you can’t compete, get better or get cheaper, he certainly knows how to do that for sure.  But being friendly with those in power certainly helps.

What we need are a million new businesses. He is not in favor of this so his large businesses have pricing power.

I am not a fan, won’t buy his stock, just like I won’t go see a movie with Barbara Streisand, or Danny Glover, or many more.

Government Stimulus results?

Globally lots of countries have, or are trying government stimulus to revive flagging economies. How’s that hope and change working for us?

Not too well. Japan has been trying for 25 years; China did more than we did after 2008, no help; Europe, ouch; Africa, more ouch; need I go on?

This is giving someone a fish rather than teaching them how to fish.

Reduce regulation, make it easier to open businesses, tax less, reduce the size and reach of government, ….  Yet a guy named Bevins of the Economic Policy Institute says we should spend even more. ( It is affiliated with the labor movement,[3] and is usually described as presenting a liberal[4] viewpoint on public policy issues; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_Policy_Institute)

Insanity, “Doing the same thing that hasn’t worked again expecting a different result.” QED

Vietnam edges out U.S. kids in math and science

The Economist, 8/6/16, “Good Afternoon, Vietnam.” This article in the Finance section of the edition was talking about how Vietnam has benefited from the Asian economic growth through many good decisions of the government, as well as being on China’s southern border.

One of the those decisions is education. They spend more than most countries in their situation and, “15 years-olds beat those in America and Britain in maths and science.”

The Dems, under pressure have strengthened their plank for the election to push charter schools out of competing with public schools, Black Lives Matter, the NAACP and the teacher union power is evident.  Interestingly two organizations opposed the move, “Other groups have pushed back. Both the Democrats for Education Reform and the Black Alliance for Educational Options challenged the NAACP moratorium, and the latter’s president, Jacqueline Cooper, called the resolution “ill-conceived and based on lies and distortions about the work of charter schools.”” This from the article noted below.

AEI just came out with a study of Charter Schools concerning whether they cherry pick kids, they don’t, http://www.aei.org/publication/a-different-kind-of-charter-diversity/?utm_source=paramount&utm_medium=email&utm_content=AEITODAY&utm_campaign=081716. HRC was booed at a teachers organization by talking about giving charter schools an opportunity.

It is so obvious that we as a country refuse to address the issue of the downward trend of our public education results. Competition is the key. Choice is the key. Try something new. Shake off the control of the special interests that refuse to admit the problem to protect their jobs and benefits.

We are screwing our next generation, wake up America.

Alaska, A minor young woman must have permission to go on a field trip, but not have an abortion.

According to the Daily Signal, http://dailysignal.com/2016/08/16/alaska-courts-ruling-on-abortion-and-parental-notification-hurts-teens/?utm_source=TDS_Email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MorningBell&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWTJNelpUWXdaVFZrWlRnNCIsInQiOiJ1UEt6cm82c3pjTGZpVE5jeUVyREVra3ZYRDVVK3p1SlZEdWNCU3M1TVVHRjgxM00zZ2hrSTg2ZXJXUWdGSEpYWXltb1VZRFBZRlhET0xKSWx6OU9tSjZFNzVwXC9OVHlLRk5GbUw3S1FFRVk9In0%3D, a minor girl must have parental permission go on a field trip, but not for an abortion, the Alaska Supreme Court just decided.

Good old Planned Parenthood sued over the issue.  They provide roughly 1/3 of abortions in the U.S.  The girl who wants an abortion cannot be prevented from having one under former law, only that parents have the need to know.

We as a society believe and support parental supervision.  Except here. Why? Politics!

An unexpected pregnancy is a tough situation for an unwed mother to be in. Parents could react very negatively. Most parents don’t, they love the daughter and will support her; how about not telling parents they can’t know and trusting them in this area also? Another sign of large governments who know better than we do what is best for us.

PC University, Formerly Yale

Yale University is one of many places where political correctness rules the roost. Elihu Yale (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elihu_Yale) gave the money to establish a college in Connecticut which was later named in his honor.

Well, Elihu was employed by the East India Company and used his position to enrich himself at the company’s expense, and happens to have gained further wealth in the slave trade.  He was fired, went back to England to live out his life in comfort. http://digitalhistories.yctl.org/2014/11/01/elihu-yale-was-a-slave-trader/.

So, the PC crowd wants to rename the University, pull statues down, rename buildings, etc., etc.

My question, who today can look back and say their ancestors were without questionable histories. None of us. Some certainly are better than others, but we are all at fault. That is part of being human. We mess up, we don’t protest when our basic nature says something is wrong.

The error the PC crowd is making is to not acknowledge the facts of the case and recognize we are able to learn from our mistakes and become better people. The Africans who were complicit in the slave trade, where is the condemnation. The American natives who took slaves from other tribes regularly, and Caucasians when they arrived. Slavery is as old as our written history, until, in the late 19th century, we decided it wasn’t good and outlawed it. Today there are still folks who use their faith to justify slavery, but thank God they are few and far between.

I am sure the PC crowd goes to the Frick art gallery in NY to view the amazing works of art contained there, I have been to see the “Woman in Gold”, the painting featured in the recent movie of the same name. Well Mr. Henry Frick ran Carnegie’s steel business and was notorious for violence against workers, many were killed. Mr. Carnegie gave millions to establish libraries in the U.S. so citizens can learn, be part of the government. I am sure the PC crowd uses those libraries. Bill Gates has been cited as a very tough boss, implemented policies that reduced competition in the software business. His foundation has done wonderful work.  Hillary Clinton has sold her office for money donated to the Bill and Hillary “charity.” The Hill and Bill organization has done much good. Trump has gone bankrupt but also donated millions. Romney has created companies, hired thousands, fired many but gives away 20% of his income every year. Will Smith advocates “cleansing” the U.S. of Trump supporters while pumping his new movie in Dubai, a place that suppresses women and jails homosexuals.

By covering up we don’t learn. Keep the name, create a place where our human failings generate learning that brings us closer together over time, that would be heaven on earth. Instead of protesting for changing the name, use the name to educate, recognizing we are the same as Elihu in many ways.  All are fallen.

Home Ownership

WSJ, 8/12/16, “The Housing Non-Crises”. an editorial.

The Census Bureau reported two weeks ago that home ownership peaked in 2004 at 69.2% and has continued to fall to a 51 year low. Many are lamenting about the continuing fall in that rate, the failure of the “American Dream.”

We know now that that rate was a bubble, caused by, government policies to pump ownership up (CRA, bank regulatory pressure, etc.) and markets fueling of the fire (unethical brokers, S&P ratings on bonds, investors wanting higher yields, etc.).

Research has shown that since 1890 the return on owning a home has been a cumulative zero, 0%, nada, nill, nothing!  Bonds and stocks are much better methods to build wealth.

Yet, the housing industry is powerful ( millions of jobs), and politicians like to use their power to fuel growth through home interest tax deduction, low down payment rules, mortgage guarantees from Fannie and Freddie, etc.

With the “solution” put in place after the bust, mortgages are tough to get, the “recovery” is the worst in history so wages aren’t growing, and who is blamed, well, all “those” people who always try to keep the middle class down of course.

We don’t blame the government folks who know better than we do about how to fix the problem.  Results matter, so far, the government is failing. Why is it bad to rent?  Well, it isn’t. You aren’t tied to a house if you want to move. You don’t have lots of costs, like insurance, repairs, etc. If you want to grow your wealth invest in vehicles that work to grow the economy.

So, the solution. Grow the economy by reducing the cost to open businesses so they can hire people, create demand for employees which drives up wages. That is proven to work. Have competitive tax rates to the rest of the world so that investment continues to flow into the U.S. versus go elsewhere. Ensure global trade is fair, millions of jobs depend on global trade.

Work together versus portray those who disagree with you as evil, love them and work out a compromise.

Hillary, Reverse “Citizens United”

HRC has decided to rail against the recent SCOTUS case noted above as detrimental to our republic. She rails against billionaires, corporations, etc. overpowering the everyday folks.

Trump has done somewhat the same, singling out hedge fund folks for increased taxes.

As an aside, so where, as of now, are hedge fund folks putting their money into this election? AEI recently published an article, noted below, that states HRC has received 2,000 times more money from the hedge fund folks than Trump, $46.5 million. Trump has followed in the footsteps of Bernie by obtaining more small donations than HRC.

What I don’t understand is the total disregard for the facts that money doesn’t win elections, whether from the left or the right. There is tons of data out there on this, look at Tom Steyer in the last cycle, tens of millions of dollars spent and no winners.  So if a corporation wants to spend money, let them, lots of well paying jobs result. You would think Hillary would like that. All that money spent on campaigns without decent results.  That sounds like our public education dilemma.

This is a diversion by HRC so we don’t talk about the fact that most of her policies have long records of not working to solve our problems, or it is a red herring. (A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring)

But, politics is about appealing to to basest of our instincts rather than to our highest instincts.  Both candidates today are doing so.  Both are flawed.

A constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United: Really? How?

This is a peculiar claim to make after almost eight years of the Obama presidency, in which the most significant government actions—the Dodd-Frank Act, ObamaCare, and various tax increases on corporations and wealthy individuals—could hardly be said to favor corporations or business interests generally. It is also peculiar in light of a recent Wall Street Journal report that hedge fund contributions to Clinton superpacs have outraised those to Trump superpacs by a ratio of more than 2000-to-1 ($46.5 million to $19,000).

The great provincial obstacle course

The Economist, July 23rd, 2016. The Americas section.

This article talks about the barriers to trade within Canadian provinces. Provincial governments act for various reasons to protect jobs in their geography to the point that importing product from the U.S., or from overseas is easier than buying the same product from within Canada.

Our lesson? Fair trade is good for us. We do need to be sure it is fair, but the two candidates for the presidency are both screaming about “protection.”

This is bad for the middle class. This is bad to form businesses to sell overseas. This is bad for wage growth.

Reduce regulation and costs so businesses can be formed and the energy and initiative of people can be released.

Being “provincial” is bad.

Get big money out of politics

George Soros, $25 million to HRC and other candidates and PAC’s who support Democrats.

Tom Steyer, $32 Million to Democratic causes, $74 million in the last election

Haim Saban, $11 million

Fred Eychaner, $11 million

Don Sussman, $13 million

Pritzkers, James Simmons, Herbert Sanders, many millions more

HRC has said she will work to take “big money” out of politics, that is after she takes it to get elected.

The definition of hypocrisy.