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March 22, 2005

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Not 'Dumb' at all. The public needs to hear and see real numbers - not percentages and averages. (e.g, Shrub told me the 'average' tax rebate was $1200 - but all we got was $164.)
It might be a little dumb, however, to call a difference of 13,000,000 people "virtually identical."

Oh yes, real numbers are so much more impressive. How's this - there are more US citizens living below the arbitrarily designated poverty line today than was the total population of the United States at some point in the past. Of course these poor people are living longer and better than the wealthiest of that era, but the people don't need to see and hear that.

The percentage of the population in poverty may not have changed much, but the definition of poverty has changed. The rising tide has lifted a lot of boats. There are still some people who are grindingly poor in this country, and there are a lot of other evils, some much worse, but we need to get it in perspective. Scenes of kids starving in Appalachia would be hard to credit today.

In the pantheon of contemporary political demogoguery, this is pretty small potatoes. At least John Edwards talks about poverty as a problem at all. If you're going to quarrel about percentages-versus-absolute numbers, shouldn't you at least give him a scintilla of credit for talking about an issue that's important but reaps no obvious political benefit?

Edwards told the truth - there are more people in poverty today than than were twenty-five years ago. Where's the problem? I think you've gone over the top with this fact-checking. You judged his statement through your own view where you thought he was saying poverty had become a giant mess when he was just saying that the number of people in poverty had risen, which is a true statement.

Brendan hasn't gone over the top, he has pointed out spin. That's what he does. I think his analysis is accurate. Edwards spun the numbers to create a specific response by his readers.

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