Here's a news flash. Poor people have been around for a long time. You can look it up in the Bible, which was written 2,000 years ago. The Gospel of Matthew attributes these words to Jesus Christ: "For you have the poor with you always, but me you do not have always." Matthew 26:11
But to hear the liberal media, poor people magically appeared in the United States on the day George W. Bush was sworn in as president in 2001.
The anti-Bush media jumped all over a new report by the U.S. Census Bureau on the poverty rate in the United States. Newspapers ran headlines such as "More poor" and "Swelling poverty risk seen in U.S." and "Rising economy leaves Americans behind."
I doubt that many of the partisan scribes took time to actually read the 86-page report. If they had, they would have reached the same conclusion that the Census Bureau did: "Real median household income increased between 2004 and 2005. Both the number of people in poverty and the poverty rate were not statistically different between 2004 and 2005."
The poverty rate for whites — which make up the majority of people below the poverty level — decreased, while the overall rate was statistically unchanged, the Census Bureau concluded.
After four consecutive years of increases, the poverty rate stabilized in 2005. That should have been the front page banner headline in every newspaper in the country. Since a high of 22.4 percent in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available, the poverty rate in the U.S. has dropped nearly in half.
The poverty rates under George W. Bush are lower than they were in the 1990s when Bill Clinton was president. But you'll never see the left-wing media report anything positive about the Bush economic recovery. And you'll never see any criticism of the Clinton era, especially with Madame Hillary Clinton, the darling of the liberal media, about to make her much-anticipated assault on the White House.
There were 37 million people living in poverty in 2005, or 12.6 percent of the U.S. population. The poverty rate for whites dropped to 8.3 percent in 2005 from 8.7 percent in 2004.
Poverty rates remained statistically unchanged for blacks and Hispanics between 2004 and 2005 even with the devastation that predominantly black New Orleans suffered in 2005.
Whites account for about 44 percent of people in poverty and 66.7 percent of the total U.S. population. Where is the Rev. Jesse Jackson to decry the horrible state of poverty among white people in this country?
The federal government has spent more money on anti-poverty programs during the Bush administration than at any other point in history. Same goes for funding public education in America's poorest school districts. And for all the shameful race-baiting the liberal media engaged in during Hurricane Katrina (and continues today on the one-year anniversary of the disaster), liberals can't ignore the fact that black home ownership is at an all-time high in the U.S. and there's a thriving black middle-class under the Bush administration.
If poverty is something the government can solve by raising taxes and redistributing the nation's wealth, why hasn't poverty been eradicated over the past 40 years? Why didn't Lyndon Johnson or Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton eliminate poverty when they were in the White House?
Don't get me wrong. It's a national disgrace that we have so many Americans struggling to get by while many others are living in the lap of luxury. Blaming Bush is not the solution. And the Democratic Party, as usual, has no answer for any of the nation's problems.
Here's another detail the liberal media forgot to mention. The income and poverty estimates released by the Census Bureau are based solely on income before taxes and do not include the value of "noncash benefits such as food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, public housing and employer-provided fringe benefits."
Here's what got missed in the fine print as the left-wing media rushed to blame George Bush for poor people.
Real median income of households in the United States rose by 1.1 percent between 2004 and 2005, from $45,817 to $46,326. Real median income of households rose by 2.9 percent in the Northeast and 1.5 percent in the West. Statistical declines in median income were recorded in the Midwest and the South.
The moral of the story is don't believe what you read in the left-wing press, including the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Don't believe the mainstream television media (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN) which promote the far-left agenda of liberal elitists.
Next time you read something in one of those big city liberal newspapers that sounds fishy, go to the source yourself. You can download the entire report on poverty from the Census Bureau's Web site at www.census.gov
E-mail Tony Phyrillas at firstname.lastname@example.org