The federal government says that 14% of Americans live in poverty. So here's a list of luxuries that these households retain:
99.6% own a refrigerator; 81.4% own a microwave; 78.3% own an air conditioner; 73% own a car or a truck; 63.7% own cable or satellite television; 54.5% own a cell phone; 53.9% own an Xbox or PlayStation; 48.6% own a coffee maker; 38.2% own a computer; 32.3% own two or more televisions; 31% own two or more cars; and 25% own a dishwasher.
On a personal note: I visit Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles often. [Prince William and Kate just visited there--understandably not the "bad" part though]. One of the toughest jobs I have when I arrive with socks individually stuffed in Ziploc bags and other clothing is trying to locate those who need them. Most of the Skid Row members are just as well dressed as me, many carry a cell phone and live in their own apartment they pay for, and none are malnourished [I always say that if you are hungry there is no better place--and often, no better food--than on Skid Row]
I've asked myself many times, "What do they need?" Why so much attention on these Americans? The answer to this question came in response to a friend's question. He said something like this: "What these people need is motivation. They need to pick themselves up and get a job and do something with their lives." I responded based on my talks, prayers with, and time spent around the Skid Row folks: "These people are highly motivated. They are just motivated to do bad things. They don't need motivation. They need a new heart from God so their bad motives become good motives." That's the problem as I see it. It may sound quaint--but I've seen no better answer to their darkness--it worked for me.
We have it good in America. Our "poor" are very rich. Giving them "stuff" works for the select few of those who are experiencing a very dark time in their lives. But for the majority of the "poor"--well, what government provides will not fix their problems.