Government Living Under the Poverty Line?

The image included below is making the rounds on Facebook today. If it is correct, then the answer posed by the headline apparently is “yes.”

The image comes from a Madison, Wis., nonprofit organization called We the People of the Republic.

The US Problem Explained, by We the People of the Republic

Assuming this budget includes a family of four, this family is living slightly below the poverty line ($21,756, according to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009).

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, a family of four needs an income of at least twice the official poverty level ($42,400) to meet basic expenses.

So to carry out the analogy, this family has cut back on basics in order to have only fallen this far behind. It would absolutely need the credit card to get by. The $143,000 outstanding debt would suggest that the family also got caught up in the subprime mortgage fiasco.

If this analogy actually held true, this graphic would have done an effective job showing how the modern-day tax-cutting obsession has forced the government to live below the poverty line, on the national credit card.

The answer for this family would be to increase its income. The picture this graphic is painting would suggest that is also the answer for government. No?

This doesn’t prove anything particularly except that people are all-too-willing to both offer and accept boilerplate arguments that don’t hold up under even a few moments’ scrutiny.

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