No Poverty In America?!

No Poverty In America?!

Walter E. Williams is a black American economist. I have read many of his works and I am impressed with his perspective on what is going wrong in America. Economic systems affect cultural evolution in many ways. As important as any, is the fact that they structure contingencies of reinforcement, extinction  and punishment, all of which motivate the prime ingredient for success in almost all dimensions of human existence: Work!

You owe it to yourself and to the success of your socioculture to read his following article. Also, to review his statistics, click on his reference URLs.


Walter E. Williams | Feb 12, 2014

There is no material poverty in the U.S.

 A few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor. Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor” (, report: 80% of poor households have air conditioning; nearly 75% have a car or truck, 31% have 2 or more; 66% have cable or satellite TV; 50% have one or more computers; 42% own their homes.

 Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K.

 We have dependency and poverty of the spirit, people make unwise choices and lead pathological lives aided and abetted by the welfare state.

 The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 35% and among whites at 13%. The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72%, and among whites it’s 30%. The poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for 20 years, currently at 8%. For married white families, it’s 5%. Whose fault is it to have children without marriage and risk a life of dependency? Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?

 Pinhead sociologists blame the weak black family structure on racial discrimination. Why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14% in 1940, and why, as Dr. Thomas Sowell reports, do we find that census data “going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery … showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940”? Is anyone advancing the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity?

 No one can blame a person if he starts out poor; how one starts out is not his fault. If he stays poor, he is to blame, because it is his fault. Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior. It turns out that a married couple, each earning the minimum wage, would earn an annual combined income of $30,000. The Census Bureau poverty line for a family of two is $15,500, and for a family of four, it’s $23,000.

 By the way, no adult who starts out earning the minimum wage does so for very long.

 Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent $18 trillion at the federal, state and local governments on programs justified by the “need” to deal with poverty. In 1995 the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, “you could purchase every U.S. factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building. With what’s left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet. If you’re still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation” (

 Today’s total of $18 trillion spent on poverty could purchase everything produced in our country each year and then some.

 There’s no guts in the political arena to address the basic causes of poverty. To do so risks being labeled racist, sexist, uncaring and insensitive.

 Today’s dependency is likely to become permanent.


It is so. VTM, 2/13/14

Thanks to Lee Hornack for sending this to article to me.


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