Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Country Where Poor People Are Fat
Mike Rappaport

Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield issue a report on the state of the poor in America.  The short answer is that the poor, by historical standards, are doing well, enjoying what were considered luxuries a few generations ago.  President Obama, as usual, seeks to obscure these issues and to implement a new definition of poverty that assumes economic growth never helps the poor.  

Rector has issueds these reports over the years, and they are always informative.  

Reviewing the report, John Hideraker sums it up well:

I am reminded of Dinesh D’Souza’s anecdote about a friend from India who told him that he was emigrating to America. When Dinesh asked why, his friend said, “I want to live in a country where the poor people are fat.”


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Mike Rappaport


I agree that many members of the Democratic Party often elide the fact that the poor in America today seem to live much better than last generation's middle class, in absolute terms. However, with regard to fatness/obesity, I'm not sure that's a good indicator of economic well-being. Studies show that obesity is negatively correlated with wealth, which makes sense because fatty fast food/junk food is cheaper than healthier offerings.

Posted by: Tung Yin | Jul 19, 2011 9:39:44 PM

Actually, "the poor" haven't been visible on either party's agenda for quite some time now. The welfare reform of the mid-90s (and accompanying economic boom) destroyed the previously distinct interest-group status of the underclass, effectively merging it into the low end of the working class. As a result, today's government giveaways, unlike those of previous decades, never even bother to identify, let alone target, "the poor" as a specific victim class. The recent health care reform, for instance, could have focused on massive expansion of Medicaid, for the sake of "the poor"--but instead devoted most of its political capital to improving health care for "the uninsured", who are by definition not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

Posted by: Dan Simon | Jul 19, 2011 10:20:31 PM

Isn't this like judging the health of a farm by the size of the cows in the feed lot?

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