February 05, 2004

Playing by the Rules

Posted by shonk at 11:31 AM in Economics, Politics | TrackBack

Over at Old fishinghat, Bill Russell responds to John Edwards’ South Carolina victory speech :

The other problem I have with Edwards is that he likes to characterize the poor in America as typical Americans, who play by the rules, but get the shaft. One might ask the question to Edwards, what are the rules that one should play by avoid poverty in America?

I would argue that the rules for a fair society would be that anyone who completes high school, has children only while married, and works full time should not be poor. How do Americans who play by these rules do?

- Of workers who work at full time jobs, at least fifty weeks a year, only 3.3% live below the poverty line.
- Of all workers who have only completed high school, only 5.8% of them earn income below the poverty line.
- Of all children, 5.6% of those living with married parents are poor compared to 26.4% of those living with single mothers.
- For families where the parents are married, and both work, only 1.4% or 374,000 live below the poverty line.

In the comments, Joe J. adds “Furthermore, to characterize the very small percentages of below poverty line individuals in your examples, it should be noted that their is a high probability that their poverty is a transitory condition.”