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Istook856 What is Poverty?

Recorded on September 14, 2011

From The Heritage Foundation, I'm Ernest Istook.

The Census Bureau says that poverty is up in America. That's bad.

But the good news is that poverty in the USA is not destitution. Because we have numerous social safety nets, what we call poverty is a higher standard of living than in much of the world.

85 to 95 percent of America's poor have plenty to eat. 40 percent own their own home. Most have more living space than an average family in much of Europe and Asia. 80 percent of our poor have air-conditioning, 92 percent have a microwave, three-fourths have a car, two-thirds have cable or satellite TV

We say they're in poverty only because government definitions don't take these into account. If government would quit stifling our economy, America would have fewer poor people. But it's better by far to be poor in America than to live anyplace else.

From The Heritage Foundation, I'm Ernest Istook.