The first problem is the use of a national figure for poverty. There is no national poverty level. Poverty in New England is a far cry from poverty in Oklahoma; dollars in these two parts of the nation are not equal. Poverty incomes in New York are middle-income in Oklahoma, and so on.
Another statistical problem is talk of a bigger percentage of gains in the upper-level incomes and lesser gains in the lower-level incomes. One’s entire life is a steady increase in one’s income, from the lower levels to middle and, hopefully, higher. That’s precisely why gains are bigger in the higher incomes and not as high in the lower.
Poverty is not a nice place to be.
That’s why people tend to work their way out of it. That’s why welfare is so insidious; it makes poverty semi-comfy as it destroys the work ethic.
Common sense must always be present when using statistics to find the real bottom line.
—Thomas Furlong, Oklahoma City