Are The Poor Getting Poorer?

Submitted by: AntEconomist 5 years ago

Class warfare is hype. The more we fight each other, the less we fight the man.
There are 63 comments:
Male 3
This is a straw man argument (just so we are clear, misrepresenting someone else`s position and inserting a distorted counter argument). The main point that progressives make is that the share of the pie for those not in the top 10% has gone considerably down. Seems like he is basically saying that the poor are richer now that they have a microwaves, as compared to another time when only the rich had those! ZOMG IMPROVMENT. Also, this compares households, meaning now that more women work this is included in the data.
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Male 174
There are lies, damn lies, and statistics..
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Male 176
I`d like to point out that the think tank responsible for this video is funded in part by the Waltons (Wal-Mart owners) and the Koch brothers.
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Male 25,416
Money is what you make it....
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Male 195
Ok I get it, americans getting poorer is a myth. Meanwhile in somalia.....
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Male 559
His argument is pretty bad. He`s saying that everyone is better off than they would have been in the same situation in the late 1970`s. Well, of course. No one is arguing that point. The issue that progressives point to is the comparatively less "total piece of the pie" that he highlights in the beginning. He`s an economist...he should be smarter than that.
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Male 684
also, that chart is income, not wealth...and lets not forget the wealthy tend to invest more than work for money...i am just saying
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Male 21
Everybody crying foul about inflation should realize this guy has a PhD in economics. He hasn`t forgotten inflation. Either its included or he`s blatantly lying.

Further, these comparisons are never valid. I`m richer than Rockefeller in many respects. I could fly around the world in a matter of hours, sit in comfort in air conditioning on a hot day, have access to infinitely better medical care, etc.
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Male 1,284
Lot of people say are not rich because of lazyness. i dont think its true. With hard work you can become not poor but not rich either. There is a competition on the market which cause some people being rich and others being less rich. Too have someone uber-rich there HAS to be poor people
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Male 762
Inflation?
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Male 85
He`s probably in the top 2 percent, non-nice individual.
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Male 719
"Poor guy is still objectively better off. had 1 car, now has 3."

That`s not necessarily true. It would require all cars to have and maintain the same value.

For example, let`s compare someone owning one computer in 1991 against someone owning three today, or even someone in 2001 owning one computer against someone owning three today.

Sure, they are better off in terms of the number of computers, and they are undoubtedly better off in terms of the quality of the computers.

That does not mean that they are better off financially.
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Male 190
sure the poor make more money.... but everything costs more now.... so when you account for inflation.. the poor are actually getting poorer.

Not to mention that most of his stats are over 20 years old!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Male 37,916

I don`t need to become "rich".
I`d be happy with a shot at just being secure I won`t end up homeless next year.
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Male 171
@Bravosmith: "The truth is anyone can become rich in this country if they want it bad enough"
I dont actually think thats true, for example, someone who is born into a poor family, and thus has to work instead of getting an education, and then cant really read, write, or do basic maths very well... that guy might have a chance at becoming a milionaire, but lets face it, his chances are incredibly slim, if they exist at all.
But still, even assuming your statement is true, it doesnt adress the problem of inequalities at all.

Lets assume your statement is indeed true, and the rich are all super gifted ppl.
Before:
Rich (gifted and hardworking according to you) earns 20% more than average dude.
Now:
Rich earns 50 000 times more than average working dude (5 000 000% more)

Thats rising inequality.
The issue isnt that some guy earns more than average, thats always the case. The issue is HOW MUCH more.
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Male 270
We have reached a new height of propaganda. I was waiting for the Onion logo to come up, if anyone took this as fact please go take a sociology course!
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Male 390
What would prompt I-A-B to post a political hit piece on the poor of the US?

This video is nothing but cherry picking and manipulation. Who can take his archaic data seriously anyway?
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Male 5,811
"Why is his data so outdated? The most recent data he cited was from 1997... over 20 years ago??"

Well, close but not actually 20 years yet.

@Bravosmith: "The truth is anyone can become rich in this country if they want it bad enough"

Not true. There are too many mitigating factors outside your control to make that statement accurate. Someone`s socio-economic status could be drastically different from your own. By individualizing success and failure without regard to the policies/ideologies/prejudices faced by people you are reinforcing the fallacious models of society stemming from what you learned from the system of meritocracy taught to you in school.
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Male 815
Why is his data so outdated? The most recent data he cited was from 1997... over 20 years ago??

The vast amount of RECENT data shows that it is that time exactly that has been the most disparaging unequal between the rich and the poor; between 2000 and 2011.

Really makes you wonder why THIS would be his smoking gun, outdated data for an outdated economic theory.
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Male 37,916

It is possible that he is right about the poor being better off.
We definately have more services to aid the poor now than 30 years ago, so in that regard the poor ARE better off.

But the Middle Class is not. They have dropped to the brink of poverty and will be the New Poor with the next market drop, due any time now.
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Male 37,916

Solvent [quote]"It`s called living outside of your means people." [/quote]
In a strange way, you are right. And I`d like to thank you. Silly assed comments always make me think.

People can`t afford good food or basic housing so those things are "outside of their means". Health care is also "outside their means" as is college for their children.

Just because it is "outside your means" does not mean it is not a basic need.

Poverty should be defined "When basics are outside your means".
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Male 44
I`m so tired of this. "He`s rich, I`m poor, he has and I have not, blah blah blah..." The truth is anyone can become rich in this country if they want it bad enough (remember Obama say a $250k income is rich). Yes yes, there are some people that are born into wealth... well, there are people born with natural abilities as well. Just because I wasn`t born with a musical ear, doesn`t mean I can`t learn to play the piano! Life is full of risks and the spoils go to the victors. People need to spend more time being grateful for what they have, instead of worrying about what everyone else has. Try being happy for a while instead of forcing misery on yourself and others. If your unhappy with where you are today, get started on becoming a different person. It`s worked for me, and thousands of others. I`m done on the soap box.
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Male 7
Izaq and morimacil123 have the truth of it. of course everybody is getting richer - the US and world economy has grown strongly for the last 30+ years - but it`s the super-rich and rising inequality that`s the problem, not to mention the real post-inflation changes in purchasing power these two groups see, as well as the rising debt of the less well off (and pretty much everyone but the rich). plus, of course, the video says nothing of the morality and social strains of increasing income inequality.
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Male 171
""We have debt and we have bankruptcies and forclosures in record number, so, er, how can we possibly be doing better? ""
Cose 5 years ago, you already had all that crap, and you were in debt for an iphone, and now you`re in debt for a newer iphone.
Thats the "objectively better" part of it all.

Lets simplify it to make it easier to understand.
1 poor dude working, 1 rich guy investing.
10 cars have been made in a year, poor dude got 1, rich dude got 9.
Poor dude is objectively better off, he had no car, he got one. Hes still in debt, and working his ass off. he got 10% of the wealth produced.
Next year, 100 cars are made. poor guy gets 2 now, rich guy gets 98.
Poor guy is still objectively better off. had 1 car, now has 3.
but instead of getting 10% of the wealth produced, he only got 2% this year.

Objectively (compared to himself last year), hes getting richer.
Comparatively (compared to rich
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Female 836
He`s definitely a Republican.

So many people I know are struggling even after a lifetime of work. The reality of the U.S.A. is we are NOT getting richer if we have an income below a certain level. We have debt and we have bankruptcies and forclosures in record number, so, er, how can we possibly be doing better?

He needs a reality check.
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Male 171
And also, hes right about his pie charts, and asking the question, when ppl get poorer, are they objectively getting poorer?
But whats interesting to think about here though, is that even though the pie (economy) grows, and so the poor that are getting a smaller slice of the pie (less %of GDP) may actually end up getting more money.....
It still doesnt change the fact that they are getting smaller slices of pie.
Even if everyone is getting more pie in the end, the distribution of the pie is still shifting, always a bigger part of the pie for the rich, and smaller parts for the poor.
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Male 171
What he says is true.
Its just different from the other infographics and videos out there, because it doesnt use the same figures. And ofc, also because he uses data thats 30 years old, and so less relevant to 2011.

When he says "the rich", its very general. If you compare "the rich" with "the poor", and compare the top 50% with the bottom 50%, you arrive at very different results than if you compare "the superrich" to "the really poor", and look at the top 2% richest ppl compared to the top 2% poorest ppl.

The rich at the very top are getting much richer, the poor at the very bottom are getting poorer, and all the guys in the middle are generally staying the same, or getting a little richer. If you include those middle classes into the calculation, and count part of them with the rich, and part of them with the poor, well then the numbers differ greatly.
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Male 514
He neglects to mention the role of the federal reserve and taxation in general
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Male 173
What about prices?

He compares wealth solely on the basis of how much people make in dollars.

If the rich get 40% richer and the poor get 20% richer, and prices go up 30%, the poor are still worse off.

Even if the rich get 30% richer, and the poor get 40% richer, and prices go up 50%, it still suckes way more to be poor!
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Male 2
When did making 50,000 a year make you a rich person..... the rich make 100,000 + even in 1997. He`s using statistics to make everything seem better. He`s a Republican....
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Male 2,841
It`s called living outside of your means people.
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Male 356
Now now, this makes me think of 1984. Chocolate ration is cut down to 20 grams, but the government insists that it has been RAISED up to 20 grams.
Also, don`t look at all the cars and houses and endless belongings that one may have and say they are not poor. Thanks to the power of credit companies, you will be working your butt off your whole life to pay back for whatever brings you the paltry happiness of consumerism today; they essentially make a happy modern slave out of you.
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Male 356
He has never been poor, so of course he doesn`t understand.
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Male 178
As the famous saying goes.... "There are lies, damn lies and statistics."
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Female 1,236
As someone who is pretty ignorant about economics, this clip did make me wonder: doesn`t cost of living &/or inflation play a part in this equation? If it costs much more now to house & feed a family of 4, does that make the increased income of those folks from 1979 just kind of "even out" now in 2011?
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Male 4,311
"If you lean left, the video is full of it, and if you lean right, you say, "I knew it"."

That is what the media wants you to think but the people here are actually putting a little thought into this and offering actual statistics.
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Male 37,916

@ CrakrJak ... good point
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Male 546
So, as I read the responses...

If you lean left, the video is full of it, and if you lean right, you say, "I knew it".

Our Government should provide equal opportunity, and equal rights, not equal results.

Class warfare is a tool of the left to garner votes, it always has been.

So can we stop with class envy, and get back to being Americans that believe in honest, fair, unbridled competition to succeed?
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Male 17,512
Gerry: [quote]For the first time, graduating Law Students cannot find employment.
That`s a sign of impending doom![/quote]

Actually I find that to be more comforting, that the escalation in litigation is decreasing. Our American society is already way to litigious and we don`t have the courts or judges to handle it.

We need more Doctors, Therapists, Engineers, Biomedical Scientists, Financial examiners, and Software programmers anyways.
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Male 719
Just to give a little perspective on inflation, let`s say that someone in 2000 was making $20,000 a year.

If their salary remained the same, their salary actually decreased from $20,000 2000 dollars to $15,600 2000 dollars.

In fact, in order to keep up with inflation, they would need to be making over $25,000 today in order to be making the same amount of money.

For 1991, which is the date referenced often in the video, the numbers would be about $12,300 and $31,600, respectively.
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Male 4,746
Clearly a rich guy.
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Male 174
Wow, my mind is totally blown. People earn more dollars, that`s amazing! And as we all know, the cost of living (e.g. the gas you need to buy to go to work, rent, utilities, food) never increases so everybody is in fact richer.

That gives me an idea. What if we would print a lot of money and give every poor person ONE MILLION DOLLARS. We would live in a country where there`s no poor at all!
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Male 37,916

Anyone over 40 years old knows the average person is less financially secure than they were 20 years ago. 90% of the people I know are poorer than they were in `91. "Poor" as in how secure their housing situation is. And in how many "extras" they can afford to buy. People are buying essentials only.

For the first time, graduating Law Students cannot find employment.
That`s a sign of impending doom!
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Male 234
Great citing numbers from 97, that`s only 14 years old..cause nothing has changed since then. Also interestingly he does not even take into account inflation, which causes one to realize that although wages may have increased in dollar amounts, they are still poor because the money is worth less than it was before.
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Male 2,790
yes.



didn`t even need to watch it.
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Male 1,284
what about inflation?
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Male 4,547
Fox news btw recently suggested that the poor have more than ever. This is the result of improvement in technology.

Which is why almost all items mentioned were technological.

Yes, the poor, in the days when there where 2 computers, had no internet. (I was alive when internet was first introduced here. Limitless "always on" internet cost about $25`000 per month, and was a "business option").

Now, Almost a whole 50% of the poor have a PC.
Not my PC. drat. Not my 5 PCs in my 2 person household.

It`s 1. Probably second or third hand.
Maybe something like this.
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Male 37,916

The gov`ment says "poor" is a family of 4 earning less than 20K a year. A family of 3 doesn`t count...or 2 or evan a single person earning 20K.

47% of working adults earn 20K or less...those are the people the Republitards want to to tax when they say "broaden the tax base". I`d call them poor.

So depending on how you define "poor" you could say nearly half the country is at poverty level.
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Male 5,019
markust123 yes everyone here love Gerry, i must admit i love him to for his irony, i love him less when he show to be racist but we all know no one can be perfect ( except me obviously).I think he must be a good fella.
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Male 5,019
So the answer to "Are The Poor Getting Poorer?" is obviously YES and there is also a worst factor, also the others classes, except the rich one,are getting poorer. When this happen usualy a society is ready for a revolution and today due to globalization the revolution will be global, better to be prepared cause this gonna be really strong.
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Male 4,311
I wish there were more people in this world like Gerry1of1. He is conservative but he doesn`t lock himself into the black and white ideology that the media has brainwashed liberals and conservatives into believing. He is conservative about some things and liberal about others. It is a very healthy way to live. Most of all I just like how he is funny.
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Male 4,547
"The life today don`t have the same price of 1975."

You are correct, since 1975, prices have gone up 400%. Again, Check it. You don`t need to bet, presume, assume, opine, guess, intuit, feel, infer, approximate, or suggest. You can know. Doesn`t that sound fun?

How much have the poorest had their wages increased by? Well since 1979, They`ve gone up 16%.
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Male 1,083
I don`t even know where to start with this guy.... so much wrong with how he understands numbers....
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Male 4,547
"Data is 20 years old...I`m guessing there is a reason for that, and lack of current data isn`t it."

I had to delete so many expletives from this, simply to bring the char count under control.

Look. It. Up.

You have a computer, the greatest information tool ever created, and one would assume, a beyond 6th grade education.

Use them.
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Male 5,019
Blah blah blah just numbers out of contest. The life today don`t have the same price of 1975. And in any case if the immigrants or young people today are the poor, this just don`t mean they don`t have to count in his statistic. Everyone know that money call money so the rich will allways become richer and the others classes nowaday are desapering, so pls take your lego character and stick it up your ass, idiot.
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Male 3,315
I don`t know about you, but I don`t define "rich" has having an income around $50,000. I think of "rich" as people with an income more along the lines of $1,000,000 or more.
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Male 1,686
assuming "poor" means no money. Lots of folks have little money and are happy! I, on the other hand, am poor AND pissed off.
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Male 8
Data is 20 years old...I`m guessing there is a reason for that, and lack of current data isn`t it.
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Male 550
What Gerrt1of1 said. He`s got the right idea.
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Male 37,916

This is a case of an expert tieing himself up in data and unable to see what it means. What I see from ground level is...

60s & 70s - my dad could raise 4 kids with a stay-at-home wife and buy a house on an average middle class income. It was common for most people.

Now - how many could do that on 1 salary? Those that can are the norm or the exception?

Middle class is dieing.

I dont` know what his defenition of `poor` is so it`s hard to see if they increased or decreased.
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Male 33
This would be believable IF the data was more recent. The 90s was an economic boon for everyone. I want to see the data for more recent years.
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Male 371
Link: Are The Poor Getting Poorer? [Rate Link] - Class warfare is hype. The more we fight each other, the less we fight the man.
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