FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2023
Poverty abolition: Where does the New York Times find these guys?
In the present instance, we refer to Matthew Desmond, a sociologist at Princeton, where he is the director of the Eviction Lab. His new guest essay for the Times appears beneath this somewhat murky but challenging headline:
America Is in a Disgraced Class of Its Own
Long story short, Desmond is recommending that we Americans become "poverty abolitionists." His essay starts as shown:
DESMOND (3/17/23): The United States has a poverty problem.
A third of the country’s people live in households making less than $55,000. Many are not officially counted among the poor, but there is plenty of economic hardship above the poverty line. And plenty far below it as well. According to the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which accounts for government aid and living expenses, more than one in 25 people in America 65 or older lived in deep poverty in 2021, meaning that they’d have to, at minimum, double their incomes just to reach the poverty line.
Programs like housing assistance and food stamps are effective and essential, protecting millions of families from hunger and homelessness each year. But the United States devotes far fewer resources to these programs, as a share of its gross domestic product, than other rich democracies, which places America in a disgraced class of its own on the world stage.
On the eve of the Covid pandemic, in 2019, our child poverty rate was roughly double that of several peer nations, including Canada, South Korea and Germany. Anyone who has visited these countries can plainly see the difference, can experience what it might be like to live in a country without widespread public decay. When abroad, I have on several occasions heard Europeans use the phrase “American-style deprivation.”
The essay continues from there.
For what it's worth, Kevin Drum offered a recent post in which he suggested that Desmond, in a separate essay, was using a statistical measure which substantially overstates the number of people in poverty.
We don't know if Drum's critique was right. Our own view is that such statistical matters are so complexified that we could never get straight on such measures even if we wanted to.
Which of course we don't.
In his new essay, Desmond seems to say, somewhat angrily, that better-off Americans simply don't care if others are caught in poverty. With that in mind, we just watched the start of today's Deadline: White House:
It's one of our blue tribe's "cable news" programs which almost seems to have been invented to conclusively prove Desmond's point.
In our view, someone ought to take Desmond aside and help him cool his roll. Here within our exalted blue tribe, we simply don't care about topics like his. There's only one thing our blue stars care about, and they're more than happy to make thar fact crystal clear.
There's only one topic our blue stars discuss:
Trump Trump Trump Trump Jail!