According to the government’s own surveys
, the typical “poor” American has cable or satellite TV, two color TVs, and a DVD player or VCR. He has air conditioning, a car, a microwave, a refrig*erator, a stove, and a clothes washer and dryer. He is able to obtain medical care when needed. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry, and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs. While this individual’s life is not affluent, it is far from the images of dire poverty conveyed by liberal activists and politicians.
Various government reports contain the following facts about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau:
Nearly 40 percent of all poor households actu*ally own their own homes. On average, this is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
Eighty-four percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
Nearly two-thirds of the poor have cable or satellite TV.
Only 6 percent of poor households are over*crowded; two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
The typical poor American has as much or more living space than the average individual living in most European countries. (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; 31 percent own two or more cars.
Ninety-eight percent of poor households have a color television; two-thirds own two or more color televisions.
Eighty-two percent own microwave ovens; 67 percent have a DVD player; 73 percent have a VCR; 47 percent have a computer.
The average intake of protein, vitamins, and minerals by poor children is indistinguishable from that of children in the upper middle class. Poor boys today at ages 18 and 19 are actually taller and heavier than middle-class boys of similar age were in the late 1950s. They are a full inch taller and ten pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy during World War II....