What is poor?
We have had the immense good fortune to be so amazingly rich that we are able to cruise to foreign countries and see what it means to be POOR.
We stood in front of the pyramids in Egypt. This little girl was standing in the hot sun selling bookmarks to tourists for a dollar. Clearly she had no chance for an education or to go to school because her family needed the few dollars she came home with. But look at the big smile on her face. I gave her an extra dollar for helping me arrange that headdress. What generosity from a fabulously wealthy man!
In Madagascar, this young boy living in a tin hut in a muddy village had a chameleon on a stick. The rich American gave him a whole dollar to take a picture of it. I wonder how long that fed his family?
On the Amazon river, their father paddled these children out to our boat in a canoe. Another dollar from my unlimited pocket. I am sadly afraid that Daddy spent the dollar in the bar on the hilltop of their village.
My friends, these people are POOR! The thought of making $1000 a year, not to even dream of $22,000, would thrill them. They live in houses with mud floors and pee in a hole in the ground behind it. They subsist from meal to meal on what they can catch or find in the forest. They have only one set of clothes on their backs. The danger of starvation is just around the corner. Disease carries away 4 out of 5 of their children.
And I show up with clean clothes, sunglasses, a camera around my neck, and a pocketful of dollar bills, well fed and healthy. How rich and blessed am I!
Being fabulously rich means having a safe and comfortable place to live, food to eat at every meal, and access to decent medical care. Extensive poverty like we saw in those countries is almost non existent in the US. Most of what the government does is simply a matter of redistributing our overwhelming wealth to those who are less wealthy.