Everybody’s poorer—even the rich!

Chris Brady cdbrady at sbcglobal.net
Sun Sep 28 15:55:57 MDT 2003

The US Census Bureau just revealed that the population has beome
poorer.  The media had to report the Census Bureau’s study—sneakily
released on a Friday in an out-of-the-way location to detract
attention.  Still, it was the lead story for Saturday, September 27,
2003.  The top, front page story from the New York Times yesterday was

More Americans in Poverty in 2002, Census Study Says

But this was followed by another report that made it appear the economy
hit even the wealthiest, with the implication that we were all in it
together: tough times for America.

Top 1% in ‘01 Lost Income, but Also Paid Lower Taxes

What the Times failed say was whether savings from tax cuts offset the
declines in incomes for that wealthiest subset of the capitalist class.
Forgive us if we fail to feel any great pity for them.

The Washington Post reported the Census Bureau’s study but included a
quote from “the chief of the bureau’s housing and household statistics
division” wherein this modern-day Dr. Pangloss “suggested the numbers
might have been worse had it not been for President Bush’s $1.35
trillion tax cut passed in 2001
”  (The Washington Post, Saturday,
September 27, 2003).

Two further items should be considered as well.  The methods of the
Census Bureau are obsolete and provide a rosier state of affairs than
really exists.  See:

Who’s Poor? Don’t Ask the Census Bureau

New York Times, Friday, September 26, 2003

Today the Census Bureau will release the official poverty rate for 2002.
While that figure is likely to indicate that the ranks of the poor have
increased, it unfortunately won’t really tell us much of anything about
the true extent of poverty in America.

The problem is that the official definition of poverty no longer
provides an accurate picture of material deprivation. The current
measure was created 40 years ago by a government statistician, Mollie
Orshansky, and hasn’t much changed since. “Anyone who thinks we ought to
change it is perfectly right,” Ms. Orshansky told an interviewer in

Full story:

And The Times article about the impoverished super-rich notes “Because
spending did not decline, the government borrowed to make up the
difference, in effect deferring the cost.”  It did not say who would be
saddled with the burden of making up that difference, although the hints
are in the piece.  The rich pay less taxes, so it won’t be them.  Their
banks, however, loan the government funds that will have to be paid
back—with interest—through the taxes of workers.  This provides yet
further evidence that the capitalist system is corrupt.  It has passed
the time for a new arrangement.

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