Defining Poverty Not So Simple in Land of Plenty

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), November 11, 2011 | Go to article overview

Defining Poverty Not So Simple in Land of Plenty


The "poverty issue" opens a vast highway system of social and economic observations headed in every direction. Some say poverty is a national disgrace. Some say it's the poor people's own fault. Some say the government must end it through bigger subsidies and more services for the poor -- others by reducing that help and instead expanding economic opportunity.

The most interesting battle rages over the very definition of poverty in this land of plenty. Conservatives often argue that the official poverty line has been set too high. Many who live below it are actually doing reasonably well. Liberals frequently answer that, no, poverty is worse and more widespread than the government count would suggest.

Conservatives are right about one thing: The federal government's longtime metric for drawing the poverty line is primitive and does exaggerate the hardship felt in this country. (It is being replaced by a more sophisticated model, also controversial.) Amazingly, the old measurement doesn't count food stamps, tax credits and other government benefits in toting up incomes.

But while conservatives stand on solid ground in their complaints over how poverty gets determined, their broader arguments can be fairly heartless. One of them requires rummaging through poor people's possessions for signs of high living. That is neither nice nor revealing.

Case in point is a recent Heritage Foundation report holding that most Americans defined as poor really aren't. The evidence: In 2005, the typical "poor" household had a car and air conditioning. It had one or more color TVs, cable or satellite service and a DVD player. If there were children, it had a game system, such as Xbox or PlayStation.

We all get the point, made by authors Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Defining Poverty Not So Simple in Land of Plenty
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.