There’s a reason the ad hominem fallacy is a fallacy. It’s been summed up as “even a stopped clock is right twice a day”. Regardless of intent, track record, or any other factor even people you dislike may occasionally be right. Concentrate on the arguments not the individuals. While it may be fun to mock Darrell Issa for being a dope, what’s the reality of poverty in the U. S.?
By world standards the poverty threshold of $11,170 for an individual isn’t poor at all. By IMF and World Bank standards it’s middle income.
However, we do have very poor people in the United States, not just people who meet the official U. S. definition of poverty but those who are poor by world standards. Much of the information in the rest of this post is derived from here.
Based on information from the 2000 Census (the comparable info from the 2010 census isn’t available yet), the poorest community in the U. S. is Allen, South Dakota. The per capita income there is $1,539. It is small, very remote, and 94% of the people who live there are Lakota. That income is roughly $4 a day—that’s not only poor by U. S. standards, it’s poor by Chinese or Indian standards.
When you look at the poorest of poor communities in the United States, you see a pattern. They are small; they are rural; they are in North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, California, New Mexico, Arizona, or Montana. A substantial percentage of their populations is Native American, black, or, particularly in Texas, Mexican.
These people are barely reached by the support systems we have in place which are mostly targeted to the urban poor who, as mentioned above, aren’t poor at all. They’re just relatively poor. They have cars, refrigerators, televisions, DVD players, and cable.
The main problem in the poorest communities isn’t income inequality. It’s just plain poverty. It wouldn’t take much to help a lot in these communities. It’s a scandal and an outrage that we don’t devote more of our resources in time, attention, and money to them. But as long as anti-poverty programs are actually “get out the vote” campaigns that won’t happen.