Buy WILLisms

XML Feed

Featured Entries

The Babe Theory Of Political Movements.
Mar. 21, 2005 11:50 AM

Iran's Sham Election In Houston.
June 20, 2005 5:36 AM

Yes, Kanye, Bush Does Care.
Oct. 31, 2005 12:41 AM

Health Care vs. Wealth Care.
Nov. 23, 2005 3:28 PM

Americans Voting With Their Feet.
Nov. 30, 2005 1:33 PM

Idea Majorities Matter.
May 12, 2006 6:15 PM

Twilight Zone Economics.
Oct. 17, 2006 12:30 AM

The "Shrinking" Middle Class.
Dec. 13, 2006 1:01 PM

From Ashes, GOP Opportunities.
Dec. 18, 2006 6:37 PM

Battle Between Entitlements & Pork.
Dec. 21, 2006 12:31 PM

Let Economic Freedom Reign.
Dec. 22, 2006 10:22 PM

Biggest Health Care Moment In Decades.
July 25, 2007 4:32 PM

Unions Antithetical to Liberty.
May 28, 2008 11:12 PM

Right To Work States Rock.
June 9, 2008 12:25 PM



Blogroll Me!



July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004

Social Security Reform Thursday.
March 13, 2008

Caption Contest: Enter Today!
Due: July 29, 2008

The Carnival Of Classiness.
Mar. 14, 2006

Quotational Therapy: Obama.
Apr. 4, 2008

Mainstream Melee: Wolfowitz.
May 19, 2007

Pundit Roundtable: Leaks.
July 9, 2006

A WILLisms.com(ic), by Ken McCracken
July 14, 2006


Powered by Movable Type 3.17
Site Design by Sekimori

WILLisms.com June 2008 Book of the Month (certified classy):

The WILLisms.com Gift Shop: Support This Site


This Week's Carnival of Revolutions: carnivalbutton.gif

Carnival Home Base: homebase.gif


« De-Spamming | WILLisms.com | The Weblog Awards Go On Too Long... »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 382 -- European Definitions Of Poverty.

But.. There's Inequality In America-

This is funny.

The EU explains that "being poor is relative" (.pdf).

Okay, reasonable. In the United States, our poor would be among the wealthiest people in many other countries. The wealthiest people in some countries might be considered poor or barely middle class in the United States.

Here is how Eurostat defines "poverty risk" these days (.pdf):

...living in households with an “equivalised disposable income” below 60% of the median equivalised income of the country they live in. This means that around 72 million citizens are considered as at risk of poverty in the EU25.

But here's the thing. The EU25 includes some very poor countries, and some very poor regions within countries. That figure of 72 million could easily be far, far more, if "poor" is not a "relative" concept. Actual poverty-- or risk of poverty-- is not that important under the Eurostat definition. Disparity (or inequality) is all that matters.

Here is their chart (.pdf):


So, instead of measuring actual poverty, the EU is measuring how far some of its citizens are from the local median incomes.

Got that?

As long as the dreaded "inequality" is not apparent, it's totally okay to have a lot of poor people. If everyone is poor, but there's no inequality, well, in European terms, you've got yourself a winning economy. On the other hand, although (actually, because) a country like the United Kingdom is significantly more successful economically than the EU average, the UK is said to have a higher proportion of people at risk for poverty than a much poorer country like Hungary.

If you earn a few thousand Euro per year in Hungary, you're fine. If you earn several times that in the UK, you are at risk for poverty. With our standardized poverty thresholds in the United States, we don't have the luxury to manipulate our poverty statistics that way. Can you imagine if we tried to do what EU does with its poverty numbers, region by region, state by state, or county by county? Oh, how our poverty rate would plummet. And overnight!

John Rosenthal adds:

...according to the EU's own comparative income data (2001 "Laeken indicators"), the median income in Portugal for a single adult is roughly €8,000 per year and for a family of four, just under €17,000. This implies that roughly half of the Portuguese population lives below the monetary threshold of poverty as defined by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

This is the same Portugal whose socialist leader-- and buddy of Howard Dean-- recently declared:

"Europe needs an America that is back on track," said Portuguese Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates, whose country is hosting the meeting.

"We need, today more than ever, to reinforce and renew the strategic alliance between the United States and Europe," Socrates said. "We know that a stronger Democratic Party is key for this to happen."

Got that?


Needs America.

To get back on track.


And yet, U.S. Democrats want to Eurocize the American economy, all while closing down trade. Whether or not we effectively resist these "populist" impulses will determine America's fate, economically, culturally, militarily, and otherwise, for many years to come.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Inequality.

Posted by Will Franklin · 10 December 2006 11:55 PM