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Poverty is the state of being poorly endowed in material possessions.

  • Poverty is understood to encompass many different aspects including inadequate consumption, inadequate income and asset base, and inadequate access to basic infrastructure and services. But in most nations, poverty is measured in terms of the population falling below income-based or consumption-based poverty lines. (MIT)

Biblical quotes referring to poverty

"Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished." [1]

"Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool." [2]

"Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard." [3]

"And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.[4]

Poverty standards

The level at which a person or group is considered to be living in poverty is largely relative, and the ways in which they are impoverished can vary. A person who would be judged to be living in poverty in the West, in particular in the United States, would typically be considered rich by Third World standards. And yet a person living in poverty in most undeveloped countries would typically be considered to be far better off than most in a country like North Korea. The highest cost of living aspect for a person living in poverty in a Western country would often be housing, while for a Third World resident it could easily be food.

The origin poverty level was created in 1963-1964, based on the cost of staple foods, and the percentage of income that low-income families spent on food, which then about 1/3 of their income. The Census Bureau now uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty.[5]

The thresholds are updated annually for inflation by the Office of Management and Budget using the Consumer Price Index. The final weighted average 2008 thresholds were $14,051 for a family of two, $17,163 for a family of three and $22,025 for a family of four. See the Census Bureau page:

As far back as 2004, of households defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, forty-six percent owned their own homes, with only six percent being overcrowded, seventy-six percent had air conditioning, almost seventy five percent owned a car, with thirty percent owning two or more cars. Ninety-seven percent had a color television, with over half owning two or more color televisions, with 62 percent having cable or satellite TV reception, while seventy-eight percent also possessed a VCR or DVD player. Seventy-three percent owned a microwave oven, and a third had an automatic dishwasher.

However, what constitutes poverty covers a wide spectrum of income levels in the United States, and includes the smaller percentages of people who have little of the above.[6]

According to the Brookings Institution, in 2008 more than 30 percent of the nation's population (91.6 million) were below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Western cities and Florida suburbs were among the first to see significant increases in poverty between 2007 and 2008.[7]

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, reported that President Obama's administration plans to create a new index of poverty, in which poverty would be determined comparatively, the level of which would increase as the income of all in one's country increases.

The current poverty measure counts absolute purchasing power — how much steak and potatoes you can buy. The new measure will count comparative purchasing power — how much steak and potatoes you can buy relative to other people. As the nation becomes wealthier, the poverty standards will increase in proportion....In honest English, the new system will measure income inequality, not poverty.

He notes that this would have the effect of statistically ensuring that “the poor will always be with you” (Mark 14:7), no matter how much better off they get in absolute terms.[8]

This in turn, works to justify expansion of liberal socialist income redistribution entitlement "hand-out" polices.

Government policy

Warren L. Dean Jr., an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, wrote:

  • Washington has done more during Mr. Obama’s term in office to promote wealth and income inequality than at any other time in history.[9]

It is proved that the most poorest cities of the United States, such as Detroit, Richmond and Oakland, California are under the liberal big government-Welfare state-Nanny state control of the Democrats.[10]

See also