Thursday, December 3, 2009

Covetousness and Poverty

The way we define poverty is inherently sinful.  A Heritage Foundation study recently found the following statistics regarding those under the "poverty" line:
  • Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
  • Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
  • Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
  • The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
  • Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.
  • Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
  • Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
  • Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher. 
This cannot be considered poverty.  Poverty is an lack of things that you need.  People who have cable television do not really need anything.  America is a nation in which poor people suffer higher obesity than rich people.  WHAT?  This is the most unique "problem" in human history.  A nation so wildly wealthy that our poor people are fat.  And yet we continually cry for more aid to the poor.

No doubt there are some real poor people in America.  Poverty has many sources.  People are taken advantage of.  People don't plan well for their future.  People are lazy.  People are mentally ill.  People just suffer through a tough time in their lives. But our definition of poverty relies on a sinful desire of humanity; covetousness.  Our very definition is covetous.  We do not ask how much a man needs to survive.  This would be a good question to ask regarding poverty.  We ask, how much does our neighbor have?  What percentage of the average income will it take to declare someone poor?  How can one use random, shifting, determinations to determine poverty?  The "definition" of poverty is determined in money rather than in food, shelter, and clothing.  This cannot be a Biblical definition.  Further, the definition goes up every year.  How can poverty change?

Let's worry about some real poverty abroad, and export the greatest destroyer of poverty in human history, capitalism.  And let's get closer to capitalism at home.  An increasingly centrally planned economy will destroy the very thing that makes our poor people fat.


  1. Hmm, now I never thought my family was wealthy, but being considered below the poverty line for having more than 2 cars and cable, I'd hate to see what their definition for homeless is hahaha. But yes, I totally agree, great article...this is just another indicator of how completely materialistic and immoral our society is and has become.

  2. Here's a statistic I like. The major health problems of the poor are almost all related to obesity.