These arguments are mean and misleading on several accounts. First, the electronic devices that Heritage cites are everyday necessities today. Who has iceboxes anymore? Who doesn’t need a cell phone to find a job or keep one? Fortunately, these appliances are all significantly cheaper these days, but not so the real everyday basics such as quality child care and out-of-pocket medical costs, both of which have risen much faster than inflation, squeezing the budgets of the poor and middle-class alike. In fact, if anything, those who we consider poor today are far more out of the social mainstream in terms of their basic income than when our poverty measure was first set in the 1960s.
Indeed, the rising cost of paying for electricity for the very appliances that Heritage thinks are indicators of luxury are eating a bigger and bigger hole into the pockets of the poor. Today struggling families are spending at least 15 percent of their household budget to pay their electric bills, and the poorest of the poor shell out an even higher percentage of their income for this basic expense. Somehow Heritage manages to completely ignore the fact in America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found in 2008 that half (50.3 percent) of poor households with children said there were days when they didn’t know how or if they could pay for their next meal.
And these families are paying an extraordinary share of their income for basic housing, too. While the average renter makes about $13.52 an hour, the national average wage needed to afford a fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is around $18.46 an hour. This problem is exacerbated for minimum wage working parents who earn just $7.25 an hour.
To avoid a real discussion of these issues, the Heritage Foundation craftily creates indexes that rank households on skewed measures of “amenities” that suggest that no further federal action is needed to buoy the standard of living of poor and working-class families. Such indexes are heartless and foolish. Heartless because they ignore the fact that it takes much more than a few appliances to support a family. And foolish because they lend credence to the calls for cutting the supports that research has shown are necessary for every child to become a healthy and productive adult.
Smart federal investments in nutrition programs stem the degree to which struggling families face hunger and food insecurity. Reasonable investments in affordable housing and community development make it possible for millions to keep a roof over their head. Our economy also depends on countercyclical programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and the earned income tax credit. By putting resources directly in the hands of struggling families, these programs boost consumer demand, keep small businesses humming, and create jobs that strengthen the middle class.
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[a] you did it to me.’41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
"A second black customer, Kayla Phillips, came forward Wednesday, telling the New York Daily News and the New York Post that she was harassed by police after buying a $2,500 Céline handbag from the upscale store.
Phillips, a 21-year-old nursing student from Brooklyn, told the newspapers that four officers approached her in a nearby subway stop minutes after the purchase and asked her why she used a temporary debit card to buy the bag. "
was just thinking that if a poor person asked me what they could do to appear rich and hang out with rich people, I'd tell them to take up running. All you need to do it is shoes, and yet the average income of a marathon runner is over 100k with a lot of much richer people in the mix. Backpacking would also be a good bet -- it's rare to meet someone on the trail who isn't taking a break from their high powered job.
This is actually insane. I'm about to run my third marathon, most of my friends are marathoners, and uh, none of us make close to that.
Do you know what kind of clothes they wear?
Mail-order L.L. Bean.
Luxury items are designed soley to take more money from the lower and middle classes than could otherwise be commanded. So you have these social markers, that actually mark the opposite. If you have a $2000 handbag, people outside your social class aren't going to think "Wow, she must be rich!"
They're going to think, "Wow, poor people can't be trusted with money!" Even people in your social stratum aren't going to be fooled - you still have to work two jobs and walk a mile to the discount market to do your shopping, and everyone knows it. The truly rich will be spending a lot more than two grand on a handbag if they want to splurge, and can tell at a glance if it's a $2k bag, or an $8k bag.
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