How to eradicate poverty in England

Iain Duncan Smith has said tackling child poverty by boosting family income through benefits is a narrow approach which "looks set to have failed".
The work and pensions secretary said there were problems with officially classifying child poverty as a family on 60% or less than the median income.

There are more than just problems, the entire classification system is bollocks, to delve into technical terminology.

60% or less of the median average income equals poverty? Well in that case there will always be poverty. If you were to double the wages of the top ten percent of earners, more people will be pushed into poverty because the median average will increase, even though the wages of those now supposedly in poverty have not changed, and the economy will have a net benefit because some people will be earning (and consuming) more.

If we also then double the incomes of the bottom ten percent of earners, there will still be more people in 'poverty' than before because the top wages will have increased by a higher dollar value than the bottom. Using this method we can vastly increase the wealth of the poorest in society, yet class more people as 'in poverty', because the method for calculating poverty is so fundamentally flawed.

In fact, by using the 60% median average method, the only way we can bring people out of so called poverty, would be to level out everyones wages. The surgeons would have to be paid the same as the porters, the pilots the same as the cabin crew etc. Anyone on benefits would have to be in receipt of the same income as those working. It didn't work in Mother Russia and it won't work here.

So what is the answer? Simple. Stop misrepresenting words. The dictionary definition of poverty is:

pov·er·ty

noun
1.the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor. privation, neediness, destitution, indigence, pauperism, penury. riches, wealth, plenty.
 
1. Poverty, destitution, need, want  imply a state of privation and lack of necessities. Poverty  denotes serious lack of the means for proper existence: living in a state of extreme poverty. Destitution,  a somewhat more literary word, implies a state of having absolutely none of the necessities of life: widespread destitution in countries at war. Need  emphasizes the fact that help or relief is necessary: Most of the people were in great need. Want  emphasizes privations, especially lack of food and clothing: Families were suffering from want.
Or to explain in a visual context:


Picture borrowed from here.

If we calculate the number of people living in poverty in the UK based on these factors, we will quickly see that there are almost none. Whereas the 60% of median figure can create poverty as incomes and affluence increase, I have just eradicated poverty in the UK by a quick redefinition of the standard.

It is only because the standard of living is high in England, we can define people who own cars, TV's and mobile phones, and who smoke fags and drink beer as being severely poor, because there are none who cannot feed their families, wear rags for clothing, have no access to medical care and cook with an open fire in their living room.

The previous Labour government introduced a Child Poverty Act, creating a legally binding requirement for the government to end child poverty by 2020 - official figures suggest 2.8m children are living in poverty.

It's a good job that a Government can bind successive Parliaments with legislation, other wise we would be in a right mess. The only way to end child poverty would be the levelling of incomes described above, done through heavy taxation of the higher earners and huge benefit top ups for the lower.

This week the Institute for Fiscal Studies said it remained "inconceivable" that the government would hit the 2020 target.
Mr Duncan Smith made his comments in a speech in central London - arguing that the way child poverty is measured had proved "hugely expensive" and looked likely to fail.
We need to maintain our vital focus on poverty, while establishing much more effective ways of delivering on it”
He said while for some, such as people with serious disabilities, benefits would always play a "vital role" - increased income did not always mean "increased wellbeing".
In some cases, families might be pushed further into welfare dependency, meaning their children were more likely to do so later in life.
"Income through benefits maintain people on a low income, whereas income gained through work can transform lives," he said.
He seems to be almost grasping it, but not quite.
He suggested new measures of wellbeing - taking into account factors like health, education, life chances and family security - rather than an approach "narrowly focussed on income alone".
"We need to maintain our vital focus on poverty, while establishing much more effective ways of delivering on it and making a real change to families' life chances."
Well maybe not. He needs to get rid of this focus on poverty because it doesn't exist in this country in the true sense of the word. Simply being on a low income does not mean the Government needs to step in and give you more. Benefits should be a safety net only, not a means to fulfil consumerist lifestyle expectations at the expense of those who create the wealth.

Maybe Cameron understands it better?
He said it was "illogical" that child poverty was recorded relative to average income - because the state pension is going up by an unusually high £5.30 a week, it meant some households with children were less wealthy, in relation to pensioners.
"I think there is a real problem with the way we measure child poverty," he said.
"It is the right thing to do to increase the pension. It doesn't make any child in this country poorer because you are giving pensioners more money at a time when they need it."
Better. He's used the pension analogy because it will get more sympathy with the masses than my comparison between high earners and low earners, but the message is a similar one. The 60% median average is rubbish.
Later, the prime minister's spokesman said the government had no plans to change its official poverty measures but said there was a "debate to be had about whether "income transfer" or deeper causes of child poverty and social mobility should be examined.
 So close.

Those self perpetuating charities, Save the Children and Action for Children will be pleased though. Without the myth of child poverty, they get no taxpayer money to feather their nests.

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