Idiot damn stupidity from the UN

The United Nations monitor on extreme poverty and human rights has embarked on a coast-to-coast tour of the US to hold the world’s richest nation – and its president – to account for the hardships endured by America’s most vulnerable citizens.

There is no extreme poverty in the US. OK, slight correction, absent significant mental health or addiction issues there is none.

There’s inequality, most certainly there is, but that really isn’t the same thing.

At which point, a prediction about this report, as and when it comes out.

With 41 million Americans officially in poverty according to the US Census Bureau (other estimates put that figure much higher), one aim of the UN mission will be to demonstrate that no country, however wealthy, is immune from human suffering induced by growing inequality.

That US poverty number isn’t a measure of suffering nor of inequality and it most certainly isn’t one of poverty, not even just poverty let alone extreme such.

The American poverty number (this one, the Official Poverty Measure, OPM) is, very largely and accurately enough for government work, the number of people in poverty before what government does to alleviate poverty. The other measure, SPM (Supplemental etc etc) includes some but not all of what government does to alleviate and also is pegged to median income (the OPM is pegged to an absolute real income measure). It is thus a measure of inequality, not poverty.

Sure, the US welfare state isn’t as extensive as many in Europe but still, it does move the Gini by some 10 percentage points or so. But here’s the prediction – the UN report will ignore all of that and its starting point to measure US poverty will be the OPM. As near every other international comparison of poverty does.

Fun fact – food stamps. The average payment to the average recipient (that is, the average amount that someone getting food stamps gets, not the average across the entire population) is $29 per person per week. That is enough, yes controlling for different prices across geography, to put the recipient in the top 50% of global incomes. Another fun fact. The average real income (again, adjusting for prices across geography) of the bottom 10% of Americans is within a percentage point or two of the bottom 10% in Denmark, Sweden or the UK. Yes, after adjusting for free health care and all that. The bottom 5% over there do worse (20 to 30%) than the bottom 5% over here but it simply ain’t extreme poverty anywhere.

The bottom 0.5% of Americans, the homeless etc, yep, shitty – but then that’s significant mental health or addiction problems just as it is for us here.

But as I say, the UN report will ignore all of that, won’t it?

22 comments on “Idiot damn stupidity from the UN

  1. You don’t get junkets and funding if you don’t find a problem to ‘solve’ do you?

    As the climate change scientists about their grant money.

  2. As they travel in their air conditioned planes and limousines, and stay at 5 star hotels, and consume cordon bleu food and fine wines, these poverty monitors will certainly show the people how concerned they are. Reminds me of the ginger haired member of a female pop group on a fact finding mission to drought ridden Africa who washed her hair in bottled spring water “because the climate was making it greasy.” Where do they get these morons from?

  3. Dear Mr Worstall

    Extreme poverty – in the US? Need a microscope for that and mostly choice (back to nature types) or self-neglect for the reasons stated.

    ” – and its president – “

    Yup, it’s all Trump’s fault.

    DP

  4. UN socialist scum supporting their fellow world-wide socialist scum by trying to find a pretext to have a go at Trump.

    Were I Trump I would find a way to have the entire UN party marooned ( all security just disappears along with the cars etc) in the middle of the worst part of say–Baltimore.

    With hidden cameras placed to record the ensuing high jinks.

  5. ” “Despite great wealth in the US, there also exists great poverty and inequality,” Alston said in remarks released before the start of the visit.”

    I’m sure he’ll keep an open mind though.

  6. ‘is immune from human suffering induced by growing inequality’

    How stupid is that?

    My neighbor has a better house, causing me to suffer.

  7. My neighbour earns more than I do so he can afford his house without an interest only mortgage and his car without PCP.

    The fucker needs to be taxed to reduce his income to the same level as mine.

  8. Mr Ecks is right, this is just Comintern rabble on a community organizing trip.

    But I take exception to your view, too, Tim.

    Governments are not organized to fix poverty or reduce inequality. These are socialist goals that have crept into Western governments. Mr Newt says Republicans will do a better job of managing the task than Democrats will, making Gamecock cringe. These are not legitimate functions of government.

    ‘The United Nations monitor on extreme poverty and human rights has embarked on a coast-to-coast tour of the US to hold the world’s richest nation – and its president – to account for the hardships endured by America’s most vulnerable citizens.’

    Hold us to account? Guardian Speak.

  9. Didn’t the UK receive a visit a few years ago from some Lain American UN Ambassador For Poor Housing or something similar who did extensive and ground-breaking research which found that the British mostly live in mud huts with latrines running into open sewers?

    Her report certainly made me sit up and think how expensively useless the UN was in areas other than “peace-keeping” where its track-record of pusillanimous inertia is a thing to marvel at.

  10. “Despite great wealth in the US, there also exists great poverty and inequality,”
    One for the remedial English and logic class. ‘Despite’ should = ‘because of’

  11. useless the UN was in areas other than “peace-keeping” where its track-record of pusillanimous inertia is a thing to marvel at.

    As is its track record of forcing the locals they are supposedly ‘protecting’ in to prostitution. And of not enquiringly at all closely about the age of their new camp followers.

    I wonder how the Irish manage to cope – mendaciously wilful ignorance?

  12. So the US (as the major funder of the UN) is paying for a bunch of UN wankers to swan around (five star all the way no doubt) lecturing them on non-existent poverty? No doubt many of the UN apparatchiks will hail from nations where genuine grinding poverty exists.

    Trump should have pulled the US out and evicted the UN.

  13. Where is the American police officer with sufficient courage to arrest this arsehole for espionage, and the jury to hang him?

    Where is the American border control officer who failed to refuse him admission on the grounds that his entry was for purposes of moral turpitude?

    Ah well, perhaps the youf of Baltimore or Chicago will deal with him, or one of my fellow rednecks in the south.

  14. UN leadership follow agenda more often than they follow facts.

    That was my conclusion after several years as a Section “Chief” at UNHQ, New York.

  15. ‘Despite great wealth in the US, there also exists great poverty and inequality’

    And as always, the “solution” is to destroy great wealth.

    ‘Tax the rich, feed the poor,
    till there are no rich no more.’ – Ten Years After

    Then what?

  16. I can’t remember if the Economist did the research or just reported it, but about 15 years ago they reported some research in to poverty in Europe and the USA and the conclusion, IIRC, was that it was better to be poor in the USA than in Europe.

  17. Will they be able to fit in a trip to Venezuela?

    And to blame Trump for “41 million in poverty” after he had been in office only for a year – might they fit in a comment on the previous President’s efforts on this issue?

    Anyway, this the the august institution whose “special representative” declared the UK to be the most sexist country in the world, to the mass applause of far-Left seals across the Media.

  18. Quite remarkable thing, this equality business. Virtually turned into an industry. Certainly raised a lot of left wing academics & third sector drones out of poverty.

  19. There might be an argument that the UN does need to turn its gaze on the developed countries in order to maintain credibility when advising developing countries what to do. Whether that credibility is established will rather depend on the extent to which the report takes into account US poverty after amelioration and the other points tim makes about comparative wealth.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.