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Poor America

Discussion in 'Economics & Trade' started by Reiver, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. Reiver

    Reiver New Member

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    Today Panorama reports about the one and a half million American children who are now homeless, meeting the pupils who live in tent cities and go hungry in the richest country on Earth

    Why does the US have such high poverty?
     
  2. DaveInFL

    DaveInFL Banned

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    As usual, you have to be clear about the definitions. In this case, what constitutes being homeless?

    Most people think of "homeless" as living in a car, on the street, or a shelter.

    The study uses a very broad definition of homeless.

    From the actual source of the data (The National Center on Family Homelessness report, Americas Youngest Outcasts 2010), homelessness is:

    1. Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as doubled-up)
    This isn't homeless.

    2 Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations;
    This may not be homeless. What if its for 1 or 2 days? I had to live in a hotel for a week waiting for the builder to finish my house, were my kids homeless? According to this, yes.

    3 Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
    This may not be homeless.

    4 Abandoned in hospitals;
    This definitely is homeless.

    5 Awaiting foster care placement;
    This most certainly is a gray area. Waiting forster care placement can mean all sorts of things.

    6 Using a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
    This definitely is homeless.

    7 Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
    This definitely is homeless.

    8 Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.
    This is a BS category.

    The 1.5 million number is inflated. I would like to see the number broken down into the categories listed above. I'm sure its a much smaller number.

    This is like the study that claimed 1 in 3 women would be the victim of sexual assault, but defined sexual assault to include such things as being yelled at by a boyfriend or husband.

    Inflate the number to make a bigger splash. Its PR.
     
    DA60 and (deleted member) like this.
  3. Reiver

    Reiver New Member

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    Actually I asked a simple question: Why does the US have such high poverty? The programme is only a means to introduce that topic. Please don't give the standard "our poor are everyone else's rich" fib. US's high poverty rate isn't dependent on the relative poverty methodology. If we do fix needs (e.g. at the US official poverty rate) the US still has higher poverty than other developed countries. Why?
     
  4. DA60

    DA60 Banned

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    Well said...
     
  5. raymondo

    raymondo Banned

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    I think it is fabulous that the American poor give up so much so that their Military has good equipment and hardware .
    How terrible it would be if American invading forces appeared looking tatty and underfed .
    God Bless America .
     
  6. fmw

    fmw New Member

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    I don't think the number is correct. 1/2 million homeless would be enough that we would see them in the streets and we don't. I have no idea how many children are homeless but I doubt 1/2 million.
     
  7. DaveInFL

    DaveInFL Banned

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    How do you know what the poverty rate is when the data is so skewed?

    I searched through some web sites, measures of poverty are questionable and are couched in terms designed to magnify the size of the problem. Many frame the issue in terms of absolute wages across nations, or wealth inequality, or income inequality. Its designed to meet an agenda, not provide objective data.

    When people hear "poverty" they assume someone is living is destitution. As some other threads have pointed out, that is not the definition applied in the United States.

    I tried to find how many starvation deaths there are in the United States, I found few numbers but the ones I found were below 200a year, and the various cases were such as a retarded person could not care for himself, or parents starved a child to death.

    Poverty is relative. Because it doesn't suit your arguement does not change the facts. Poverty in the US is not like poverty elsewhere.
     
  8. Reiver

    Reiver New Member

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    The data isn't skewed. For example, to compare across countries (and therefore validate what I said in my previous post) one can use the Luxembourg Income Study (which ensures that country-specific large datasets are harmonised across, for example, income definitions)

    There are 3 broad methodologies used in poverty analysis: relative, absolute and subjective. Adam Smith and Marx would agree that poverty is relative. That is arguably confirmed by the subjective methodology where, to avoid ad hoc choices by the researcher, the concept of 'minimum needs' is determined by a consensus approach where its randomly sampled respondents who effectively define poverty. However, I made it clear that- even when we adopt an absolute methodology where the poverty threshold isn't determined by income inequality criteria- the US continues to stand out as a 'high poverty' developed country.

    We have the US with high relative poverty (reflecting income inequalities) and also high absolute poverty. You still haven't offered an explanation for that economic reality. Can you?
     
  9. Anders Hoveland

    Anders Hoveland Banned

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    Well, one of the reasons is that it brought in plenty of poverty from Mexico and other third world countries.
     
  10. Reiver

    Reiver New Member

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    Immigration is found to increase productivity levels. It also can be discounted as the source of poverty as it would require poverty to be twinned with high social mobility (I.e. As human capital compatability problems fall, we should see shifts in the income distribution). The US exhibits long term poverty problems
     
  11. SiliconMagician

    SiliconMagician Banned

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    Because:

    1)We have 310 million (*)(*)(*)(*)ing people! You think any naton on Earth, even one as enlightend and wealthy as the USA is capable of maintaining 310 people in middle class status in perptuity? People fall through the cracks.

    2)We have imported over the last 10-15 years, an entire 3rd world country worth of people who are poorly educated, cannot speak english to a reasonable degree and are completely and totally dependent on low wage jobs for their sustenance.

    I guarantee you Reiver that in whatever (*)(*)(*)(*) hole nation you come from that if I imported around 10 million 3rd world immigrants into your country within a decade your poverty statistics would shoot through the roof.

    No nation absorbs entire nation's worth of poor, uneducated immigrants like the USA does. We dwarf other nations immigration.

    As far as I'm concerned, a nation's greatness is determined by how many people are willing to die to immigrate there.

    In this, the USA is unparalleled.

    People do not kill themselves trying to reach (*)(*)(*)(*) hole nations!!
     
  12. Anders Hoveland

    Anders Hoveland Banned

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    Yes, because employers can pay the desperate poor minorities far less, and make them work faster without any breaks.

    But actually immigration results in a decrease in productivity. Because it causes unemployment. You can play around with what the word "productivity" means, and say whatever you want about it.


    You are falling victim to the fallacy of composition. More educational credentials might help the individual compete with others, but it will NOT help society as a whole. You think the problem is that poor people just are not able to move up the pyramid of social mobility. This shows a fundamental flaw in your thinking! Unless the actual economic structure changes, you cannot just move some people up without it displacing others back down.

    I would call you a complete idiot, except I know that your false economic ideological beliefs have deeply infested themselves into the academic institutions.
    You need to take a good look at your view of how the wider economy actually works. Technological innovation and education are NOT the solutions to imminent economic problems. "Information technology" has created only a small fraction of the number of jobs that the automotive industry once made. And there are plenty of highly educated people that cannot find decent paying jobs. If anything, money is being wasted on miseducating the young.
     
  13. Reiver

    Reiver New Member

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    You're not actually referring to productivity gains here. You're huffing and puffing whilst ignoring the reality of immigration. Typically immigration is drawn into areas with buoyant labour demand. We don't necessarily see any reductions in wage rates as we have to refer to human capital differences and also the reduction in problems associated with skills mismatches. In the case of a country such as the UK we know that immigrants are- on average- at least as well educated as the native born (except for select demographic groups such as the Irish). We'd have to assume that somehow the US differs considerably, being unable to attract educated immigrants like the British and their skewed 'empire-based' immigration

    This is nonsense. I've referred directly to human capital; not certification and therefore potential issues such as certification. More human capital certainly leads to positive spillovers for 'society as a whole'.

    I appreciate that you're still back in the 1930s with your views, but this is just rant.

    A developed country's gains from trade are largely driven by intra-industry trade and therefore technical innovation. There is nothing of interest in your post and certainly nothing that can be applied to the OP
     
  14. Anders Hoveland

    Anders Hoveland Banned

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    Unless there was some extreme demand, it would be better not to automatically allow in more people to meet demand. Better to keep labor supply safely lower than demand.

    Immediately "meeting" all demand for labor as soon as it presents itself, by increasing the supply of labor, risks unemployment in the future when the demand goes back down.

    Unfortunately, you misunderstand education for human capital. The two are not necessarily, and often not the same. A university is often merely a competitive demonstration of competency. A greater supply of educated workers will only shift the educational requirements for jobs.

    Adult immigrants are also taking many entry level jobs formerly held by teenagers and young adults. Also certain less demanding jobs that were traditionally often held by older semi-retired women.


    Then presumably you do not refer to all types of education, not every type of university degree. And some forms of education that are commonly regarded as "training", might not actually be such, or might be to a much lower degree than commonly thought. If a degree is worth £ 1.000.000 over a worker's life, the actual human capital component of that degree might only be 200.000 ! What I mean is that some educations are no more "human capital" than a big sign outside of a company that criticises the company's competitor is.

    Yes I agree, real human capital certainly improves society, assuming of course that there is a high demand relative to supply for such capital.
    If you want to disagree with me about the definition of "human capital", then I will have to change my stance, and say that not all forms of capital are productive to society.

    But the other problem is that bringing in highly educated skilled workers can decrease wages. A big problem in Britain is that, despite unemployment, many jobs are being filled by foreigners simply because the foreigners are willing to go through the long expensive process of education and willing to work for less than most Britons would be willing to work for if they had to get such an eduction. More Britons would be persuing medicine if the salaries were higher.

    The question is, if it was not for the highly skilled foreigners willing to work for lower salaries, would Britons be doing those jobs instead, getting paid more money? The answer to this question should determine whether skilled migrants are allowed to work in the UK. For example, perhaps the government is just too cheap to pay NHS physicians and nurses enough to attract native Britons. You pay a nurse £13465 annually, then wonder why there are not enough nurses?


    The USA differs because it effectively allows in illegal migrants, and does not enforce its employment laws against employers of undocumented labour.
     
  15. Reiver

    Reiver New Member

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    No, there just needs to be a level of vibrancy in demand. This is regularly the case given, to understand that demand, we have to refer to skills mismatches and the harms that creates for productivity.

    No, I refer to human capital deliberately as education is only one element. One should note, however, that the idea that education is purely about certification is empirically tested through the 'strong screening hypothesis'. One should also note that the hypothesis is rejected. Your position isn't consistent with economic reality.

    Support that claim with evidence! You'd have to refer to something like internal labour markets. Good luck with that one!

    Its not for me or you to decide what is of value. Its for the market. That will lead to an outcome inconsistent with your beliefs.

    Given productivity levels are not constant, you can't make that assumption. Can you show reductions in wages from immigration? Just a slice of evidence in support?

    You'd have to show that the US is different in that its immigrants have significantly lower human capital than the British equivalent. Go ahead and show it!
     
  16. Anders Hoveland

    Anders Hoveland Banned

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    So how much excess demand relative to supply must there be to justify bringing in more migrants? How do you measure this?

    Certainly one could argue that there is an excess of demand relative to labor supply for most jobs? Plenty of people from Pakistan would be willing to work for less. Plenty of people in India would be willing to get an education to work for less than British people would.


    I must greatly disagree with you! Society is being miseducated! A huge waste of time and money, if the benefits of education are looked at from a societal scale rather than just an individual scale. Like I mentioned, the fallacy of composition...

    The "strong screening hypothesis" might add some additional real value to the benefit of education to society, but it does not mean that the real value to society (as a whole) of that degree is equal to its value to the individual.

    I am afraid I must send your comments back to you:
    Your position isn't consistent with economic reality.
     
  17. Reiver

    Reiver New Member

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    We don't need to refer to excess demand (that would be a simple abuse of the concept of neoclassical equilibrium). We only have to refer to, as I've already noted, skills mismatches. That is easily demonstrated. See, for example, the general analysis into hard-to-fill vacancies.

    And I wouldn't care. Your subjectivity is irrelevant; all that matters is the market. Your views on certification, for example, have already been shown to be irrelevant (as demonstrated by the empirical rejection of the strong screening hypothesis)

    For your stance to have any relevancy you'd have to show that the strong screening hypothesis is supported by the evidence. It isn't.

    I've referred to the evidence and shown that your position is based on unsupportable value judgements. You can't do the same with my position. You can only huff and puff
     
  18. CKW

    CKW Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe the report accurate. Food stamps is very easy to get here...

    Also...if you are a poor family with children...you most likely aren't going to be living in a tent unless its by choice.

    My ex was homeless by choice. Tent "cities" was not uncommen as some people choose to live that way...especially by sources where they can fish.
     
  19. Anders Hoveland

    Anders Hoveland Banned

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    It is very different in the USA. Some people in the USA now, who have no serious mental problems or alcohol problems, really are homeless not by choice.
     
  20. Anders Hoveland

    Anders Hoveland Banned

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    Many people are unemployed. If it really is just about "skill mismatches", why are these people not motivated enough to gain the skills? Or are you rather referring to work experience? If the demand for labor really was much higher relative to the supply, employers would be training new workers. In the good times, employers usually paid their workers while they were being trained. But now, for some reason, potential new employees are expected to work for free to recieve "training" (see the whole Tesco controversy: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/nov/16/young-jobseekers-work-pay-unemployment )

    No, I think workers are expected to have more and more education and work experience now, but they are not being compensated accordingly.
    Workers before earned just as much as educated workers do now (in purchasing power adjusted for inflation), without having had to get a degree.
    If most of the work is in high cost-of-living areas (and there is not enough work elsewhere), then the workers should be getting paid enough to live in a decent sized apartment.


    Did you read what I posted before?
     

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