Several progressive blogs, including Facing South, have noted the Census Bureau's latest report on income and poverty. The latest right-wing talking point is that the statistics are bogus, and you won't believe why:
Unfortunately, the analyses on both sides are based on faulty data -- because our measures are critically flawed and overstate the number of Americans in poverty.
The official poverty measure counts only monetary income. It considers antipoverty programs such as food stamps, housing assistance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicaid and school lunches, among others, "in-kind benefits" -- and hence not income. So, despite everything these programs do to relieve poverty, they aren't counted as income when Washington measures the poverty rate.
I'm not quite sure what to make of this. They're blaming the poor for being poor and accepting help which therefore makes them not poor? Or maybe they want to tax these "in-kind benefits"? Beats me.
But I guess it's a good thing that property and stock portfolio appreciation isn't counted as income, either, or the ever-widening gap between the haves and the have-nots would be even wider and arguments such as these would sound even sillier.
At any rate, I think you can see where this talking point is going, considering where it comes from -- a "senior policy analyst in the Center for Data Analysis at the Heritage Foundation."