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RUSH: This ought to disqualify the Breck Girl. His whole campaign is based on wiping out poverty. Listen to this lead from the AP, which is unusual. ‘Five years into a national economic recovery, the share of Americans living in poverty finally dropped.’ Now, they had to put the word ‘finally’ in there. ‘The nation’s poverty rate was 12.3% in 2006, which was down from 12.6% a year before, according to the Census Bureau. Median household income increased slightly to $48,200 per year.’ Median, that means as many above it as there are below it. It’s not the average.

Now, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation took this data and did some analysis, and he’s been analyzing poverty and the poor in America for the longest time. I can remember when I first became aware of his work in the Heritage Foundation, 1990 or ’91, and I quoted some of his work, and I got jumped by a bunch of liberal media watchdog groups for making up facts. One of the whole notions of modern liberalism is that everybody is just a paycheck away from being homeless and so forth and the poor in this country really are poor and they need more taxes and more government support and more help and so forth. Let me go through the latest research from Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation because I don’t know what you think of the poor, but we all need to readjust what we think when we hear the word poor. The old notions don’t fit what the reality currently is. Here are a few things that people who are classified as poor in this country have, and this is from Robert Rector, the Heritage Foundation: 46% of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three bedroom house with one and a half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

The house may need to be painted, the porch may be cracked, the barbecue pit may not work, but they own their own home. Forty-six percent of the people in this country we call poor actually own their own homes. Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36% of the whole US population enjoyed air-conditioning. Only 6% of poor households are overcrowded. Two-thirds have more than two rooms per person. The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor. Are you hearing me on this, folks? This is hard to believe, I know. Are you hearing me on this? Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car, 31% own two or more cars. In addition to 46% of all poor households actually owning their own homes, 97% of poor households have a color television. Over half own two or more color TVs, 78% of poor households have a VCR or DVD player. Sixty-two percent of all poor households have cable or satellite TV reception. Eighty-nine percent of households that we classify as poor in this country own microwave ovens. More than half of them have a stereo. Well, we don’t know how many of them are stolen — I’m just kidding. Well, when you start talking about microwaves and stereos — (laughing) — we assume they’re being purchased. Eighty-nine percent of households we qualify as poor, classify as poor, own microwaves. More than half have a stereo and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher. In other words, poverty in this country needs major revamping, since as it currently stands what the Democrats and the Breck Girl talk about is a fraud. It is a lie.

Get this. This is also from Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation. ‘Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children, and they have average protein intakes 100% above recommended levels. They’re not starving, either. Most poor children today are fat, in fact, super-nourished and they grow up to be on average one inch taller and ten pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed beaches at Normandy in World War II. A third of poor households have both cell and landline telephones. A third also have telephone answering machines. At the other extreme, approximately one-tenth of families in poverty have no phone at all. Seminally, while the majority of poor households do not experience significant material problems, roughly a third do experience at least one problem, such as overcrowding, temporary hunger, or difficulty getting medical care.’ Of course, we all have difficulty getting medical care because we don’t have socialized medicine yet. So it’s not working. ‘Much official poverty that does exist in the US can be reduced, particularly among children. There are two main reasons American children are poor. One is, their parents don’t work much, and their fathers are absent from home.’ That’s why there are poor children. ‘Major programs such as food stamps, public housing, and Medicaid continue to reward idleness and penalize marriage. If welfare could be turned around to encourage work and marriage, the nation’s remaining poverty could be reduced,’ according to Robert Rector.

Twenty-five percent of legal immigrants, 50% to 60% of illegals are high school dropouts. By contrast, only 9% of nonimmigrant Americans lack a haskrool degree, only 9%, nonimmigrant Americans. ‘As long as the present steady flow of poverty prone persons from foreign countries continues, efforts to reduce the total number of poor in the US will be far more difficult. A sound anti-poverty strategy must not only seek to increase work and marriage among native-born Americans, it must also end illegal immigration and dramatically increase the skill level of future legal immigrants.’ This is, again, Robert Rector, senior research fellow in domestic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation. Now, these are different stats than he had compiled back in the early nineties when I first became aware of his work. I will never forget reading those stats and getting creamed by these liberal watchdog groups for literally making up facts. They weren’t mine, but they couldn’t handle the truth about it. Same thing when I said there was more forested area in the United States today than there was in the days of the founding. They ripped that to shreds, too, but it’s still true. There are two reasons why. You know one of the main reasons why there is more forest today than there was back in the days of the founding? It’s because they didn’t know how to put out forest fires back then. We do. We can stop forest fires. There was hardly any management of the forest whatsoever. They were burning like crazy. Ah, poison the fish, whatever we do, but we saved the timber.

I had a conversation with somebody over the weekend, just the nicest person, but totally misguided. Takes their own bags to the grocery store, refuses to drive a car of eight cylinders or more and so forth. Says, ‘I really think that we should avoid cutting down trees and devastating species and so forth.’ What is a tree? A tree is a crop. ‘I think we should plant trees every time we do cut them down.’ I said, ‘We do that. It’s called the lumber industry. What do they need to stay in business? Trees!’ They plant them out the wazoo. These things are uncontestable, inarguable, and yet they violate so many tenets of liberalism that people like me and Rector who make these statements come under severe and dangerous attack.

All right. Dangerous Iraq chemicals found stored at the United Nations in New York. I’ll tell you, folks, I am so confused. I feel like that poor 18-year-old Miss South Carolina who gave that answer. It’s a shame people are laughing at her. Look, this woman was being exactly what she’d been educated it be. Her answer was a perfect answer of a woman that’s grown up in the Democrat-run public schools in this country. It made total sense as far as they’re concerned.

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