The White House Is Still Defending Biden's Failed FAA Nominee
Why the Nashville Christian School Shooting Is About to Disappear from the News...
Joe Biden Is a 'Dictator' According to Joe Biden
Now Trump Says DA Alvin Bragg Has Dropped the Case Against Him
Police Confirm Nashville School Shooting Suspect Identified as Transgender
CBP Data Shows How Big of a Problem 'Got-Aways' Have Become During Border...
Gun Control Activist Takes Over Nashville Police School Shooting Briefing
It’s Unfair the DeSantis Team Has No Leakers
New Book Debunks the 10 Greatest Myths About Capitalism
Polls Reveal Trump With Wide Lead Over DeSantis, But There's a Catch
Biden Jokes About Ice Cream Moments Before Politicizing Shooting With Call for Assault...
Tommy Tuberville Continues Holding Up Defense Nominees Over DoD's 'Illegal' Funding of Abo...
How Dianne Feinstein's Absence Is Causing a Headache for Her Party
DeSantis Signs Massive School Choice Expansion Bill Into Law
Squad Member on Bipartisan Effort to Ban TikTok: 'Republicans Ain't Got No Swag'

The ‘Risk’ of Being Poor

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Please stand back. I’ve been waiting for day to say this; waiting to calm down enough that my keystrokes won’t break the keyboard. I heard some lady say something on TV, and seldom have I heard a more idiotic statement from someone in a position to know better … I mean this is so magnificently ignorant – even stupid – that if this woman’s ignorance were radioactive Democrats could build the mother of all nuclear brain bombs. Just one could wipe out all intelligent life on Earth.

The woman we’re talking about is Melissa Harris-Perry. Apparently she has a weekend show on MSNBC. No surprise there. At last check MSNBC had about 2,200 centrifuges at work 24/7 trying to purify stupid. They’ve done quite well with Melissa Harris Hyphen Perry.

Melissa Harris Hyphen Perry is also a political science professor at Tulane. Read a bit further and you’ll pity her poor students.

Melissa’s meltdown (Can I just call her Melissa? The Harris Hyphen Perry is tiring) occurred on her show over this past weekend. The topic had turned to welfare and income mobility. Melissa apparently lost it when a guest on her show suggested that people move from lower to higher income brackets by taking risks. Oh my! Now THAT yanked Melissa’s chain. She actually started screaming and thrashing about on the air like a beached barracuda. Here’s a section from the transcript of her hysterical fit, provided by Hot Air:

“What is riskier than living poor in America? Seriously! What in the world is riskier than being a poor person in America? I live in a neighborhood where people are shot on my street corner. I live in a neighborhood where people have to figure out how to get their kid into school because maybe it will be a good school and maybe it won’t. I am sick of the idea that being wealthy is risky. No. There is a huge safety net that whenever you fail will catch you and catch you and catch you. Being poor is what is risky. We have to create a safety net for poor people. And when we won’t, because they happen to look different from us, it is the pervasive ugliness.”

Where to start? This is like hunting over a baited field. So many targets standing completely still with stupid expressions on their faces that you scarcely know where to shoot first. (OMG! A gun methaphor!)

Let’s start with the poor. The poor, poor, pitiful poor. Just how risky is it to be poor in America? Lose your job? You’re on unemployment. No job? You’re on welfare! Can’t find something to eat? Food banks and numerous feeding programs. Just tell me when was the last time you heard of someone dying from hunger in this country. You have to hide somewhere to do that. No roof over your head? Check in to a shelter. Fact is, most people who sleep outside make that choice after rejecting a bed in a shelter because they don’t want to abide by the rules. For every story of some poor person who died on a freezing night outdoors, there is a story of a bed in a shelter rejected. Get sick? Medicaid. Nobody is denied basic life-saving medical care in this country because they can’t afford to pay for it.

What’s it like to be poor in America? Dare I say it? Not all that horrible, actually. First – in a general sense – the average poor person in America has a higher standard of living than the average European. Read that sentence again – you need to understand what I’m saying there. Read it until it sinks in. Take the average POOR person in America and tell them they’re going to have to live like the AVERAGE EUROPEAN .. and they’ll start screaming racism, discrimination, oppression, and every other leftist trigger word they can remember. Tell a poor person in America that they’re going to have to lower their living standard to that of the average European, and the proggies will tell you that you be “hatin’” on the poor.

Specifics? Yeah .. I have some specifics.

First .. let me go back to a story and picture that appeared in the Atlanta Journal- Constitution earlier this year. The story is re-written for use every winter --- it’s about pitiful po’ folks having to wait in line to get their home heating assistance dollars from the government to heat their homes in the winter. This past winter the AJC showed a picture of some pitiful poor person bemoaning the fact that she might not get her heating dollars. Right there in her living room we saw her big-screen television (at least 50”) and the PlayStation video game. There was also a space heater in the background. The AJC writer told us that sadly this woman can only afford to heat the room she is occupying. Well … guess what the hell what? That’s the way the average European does it! In Europe many think it’s just plain silly to heat a room you are not using. That’s also the way your parents or grandparents probably lived in this country. You wouldn’t expect this AJC reporter to know that though. The purpose of the story was to make your heart bleed for this pitiful poor woman, not to give you any actual facts.

Pretty risky stuff, right Melissa?

More specifics? Here you go. This is from a two-year old study from The Heritage Foundation.

- The typical “poor” household in America has a car

- 78% of “poor” households in America have air conditioning

- 64% of “poor” households in America have cable or satellite TV .. most have two TVs, along with a DVD player and VCR

- Most “poor” households in America with children have a gaming system such as an Xbox or PlayStation

- 38% of “poor” households in America have a personal computer

- Most “poor” households in America have a refrigerator, an oven and stove, and a microwave. They also have other household appliances such as a clothes washer, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, a cordless phone, and a coffee maker.

- The typical “poor” American has more living space than the average European.

- The typical “poor” American family is able to obtain medical care when needed.

- The average “poor” household in America claims to have sufficient funds to meet all essential needs.

One can only assume that in light of the growth of Obama’s entitlement society these numbers are even better now.

But wait! (As they say.) There’s more!

I’m about to show you that you have more disposable income in America as a single mother with three children – from God knows how many different fathers – than does a traditional two-parent middle class family. Hold on.

Let’s consider the head of a household of four making minimum wage in America. More specifically – a one-parent household of four. The mom – making minimum wage – and three children. Compare this to a two-parent household with two children making $60,000 a year. Wyatt Emerich of The Cleveland Current ran the numbers on these two families and discovered that the single-mom with three kids, and no job marketable job skills that she could use to earn more than minimum wage, actually has --- now get this --- actually has more disposable income than the family making $60,000. How does that work? Well .. you throw in the various government income redistribution programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, the school lunch program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, CHIP, Section 8 rent subsidies, and the heating assistance program and you have little Miss Minimum Wage – earning $14,500 a year – actually walking away with $37,777 in disposable income. Meanwhile, the family earning $60,000, after taxes and childcare costs, brings home about $34,366.

There, Melissa. There’s your risky lifestyle. Really? Just where IS the risk you speak of? Frankly, I don’t see that much at all. It’s a life in thrall .. the government provides you with the security you so ardently desire in exchange for one simple little thing every two or four years … your vote.

Do you want me to tell you about poor people and risk-taking? Here you go:

- Having unprotected sex so that your boyfriend can knock you up, and then having a child you absolutely cannot afford to raise … that’s risky.

- Ignoring your education and job training opportunities to the point that you can’t qualify for a job that earns more than minimum wage … that’s risky.

- Getting hooked on drugs … that’s risky.

- Spending your spare money on lottery tickets and at your local Tresses and Talons shop … that’s risky.

- Taking money you could use to buy your kids a book .. and spending it instead on a cool tattoo. Risky.

- Getting a job --- and then making a habit of not showing up for work on Monday’s and Fridays … that’s risky.

- Refusing to move out of a crime-ridden inner city environment and relocating, by whatever means necessary, to an area with better schools, less drugs and crime, and some basic job opportunities … that’s risky. And don’t give me this “can’t afford it” crap. Our ancestors did that walking alongside covered wagons with a few tables and chairs and maybe a bed inside. They had to dig holes in the ground to drop a deuce along the way. You have a car. There’s rest areas on the expressways. Load it and use it.

- Embracing the “no snitching” culture so that the police can’t do an effective job of ridding your neighborhood of the thugs that shoot your friends on street corners … risky.

Now … dear, sweet, mindless Melissa. You say that there’s no risk-taking in being wealthy? Oh .. and that there’s a “huge safety net that will catch you whenever you fail over and over?” Really? Well .. you’re a political science professor .. so we’ll just assume you don’t know what in the hell you’re talking about. Pretty safe assumption, I’d say.

CNN’s tells us that households have lost a total of $16 trillion plus in household wealth since the recession. Now this wasn’t wealth held by the pitiful poor. By definition, they have no net wealth. So where was the safety net for this $16 trillion in lost net wealth, Melissa? Is the government out there making these people whole again? Is the government restoring lost savings accounts? How about depleted IRAs and 401Ks? Being rich is risk-free?

What of all the businessmen who have had to close down their businesses – their life’s dreams – as a result of the recession? Where was that government safety net that catches them over and over and over? Can you tell me one business lost to a small businessman that has been restored by government? Can you tell me how the government stepped in and gave this businessman back the cash and time he invested in his business? Isn’t it great that this guy wasn’t taking any risks?

What about the stock losses in failed corporations? What about the dividends no longer being paid by corporations on the financial brink? Tell me, Melissa, how is the government stepping in to stretch a safety net under these investors? Even The Huffington Post reports that wealth lost during the recession hit middle and upper income people the hardest. Tell me what the government safety net did for them, Melissa?

Do you want to know what the safety net for the rich is? It’s the exact same safety net your wonderful poor people have: SNAP, Section 8, EITC, Child care tax credits, food banks, TANF and the rest of the social welfare programs that prop up your neighbors in that violent neighborhood you can’t bring yourself to leave.

Don’t move, Melissa. Trust me .. you’re right where you belong. It’s nice they let you work in the house sometimes.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member


Trending on Townhall Video