Columnist off the mark with poverty information

Ben Shadle

Dear Editor:

According to Matthew White’s article, “Liberals exploit poverty to benefit their campaigns,” poverty was described as “an issue starved for understanding and overstuffed with misrepresentation.” His article makes it quite clear why poverty is misunderstood and misrepresented.

White mentions that liberal politicians use poverty to get votes and that they don’t want too many Americans to escape poverty because the issue would lose its effectiveness. Let’s look at the U.S. Census Bureau’s statistics on the poverty rates

during the Bush Administration and

during the Clinton Administration to see whether this holds true. From 2001-2006, under a Republican president, the poverty rate increased from 32.9 million to 36.5

million people. During a Democratic administration, however, the poverty rate went from 39.3 million Americans in 1993 to 31.6 million Americans in 2000. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, the number of poor in the United States decreased by 7.7 million Americans, whereas during the Bush presidency, the number of poor in the United States increased by 3.6 million Americans! But for some odd reason, Mr. White says that liberals don’t want to

alleviate poverty.

White also quotes Robert Rector as

saying that the poor have enough food for their families, that they can obtain

medical care for their family and that they have enough money to account for their

essential needs. According to the

Institute of Medicine, 18,000 people will die this year because they don’t have health insurance. If poor people can account for their essential needs then why would 18,000 people die because they can’t afford health insurance? According to the Web site, in 2006 the average poverty threshold for one person was $10,294. If White believes so strongly that poor people are easily able to get by with this amount of money, then why doesn’t he try to pay for college tuition, room and board, health insurance, car insurance, gas and all of the other expenses associated with his life, with $10,294 a year?

Mr. White, next time you want to attack a specific party or say that poor people don’t have it that bad, I suggest using factual evidence rather than opinion.

Ben Shadle

Senior integrated life sciences major