The liberal ACSBlog has a post trumpeting Congressional Democrats’ argument that federal spending on food stamps isn’t enough. They claim that food stamps aren’t enough to live on. (In other news, the Congressional Democratic leadership is poised to increase taxes on middle-class savers and investors when the Bush tax cuts expire in 2011, raising taxes on capital gains and dividends in order to finance increased government spending).
I posted comments in response. My comments note that I have often spent far less on food than food stamp recipients do, and that many people who receive food stamps are not that poor. I also note that recipients of food stamps often spend money in ways that a truly needy person would not.
New York Governor Mario Cuomo depicted America as a Tale of Two Cities, one rich and one poor. Democrats often claim that America is less socially egalitarian than Socialist Europe.
But in reality, the poor in America are quite well-to-do compared to poor people in my wife’s native France. They are vastly more likely to own their own homes (nearly half of all Americans below the poverty line own their own home). Moreover, most Americans below the poverty line have the same sort of appliances as the rich, such as color TVs, VCRs, and stereos (which poor French households often lack).
My wife spent part of her childhood in southern France without having a bed to call her own. Such a thing would be unthinkable for most poor households in the United States.