Syndicated columnist Walter E. Williams has created a stir with his claim that there is no material poverty in America, but he's not backing down.
"You can't compare today's poor with yesterday's poor — 1940, 1930, 1950," Williams, an economist at George Mason University in Virginia, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"And then worldwide — poor people in the United States , they live better sometimes than middle-class people in some other countries."
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Williams points to a study by Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield called "Understanding Poverty in the United States: Some Surprising Things About America's Poor."
"It says 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. Nearly three-quarters have a car, and 31 percent of the poor, what the Census department calls the poor, have two or more cars," he said.
"[And] two-thirds have cable TV, half have computers, a large percentage, say 40 percent, own their own houses, and also people … who are called poor in the United States, they have more living space than middle-class people in Europe."
That adds up to a lack of material poverty, although there is another kind of poverty in the United States, he says.
"What we have in our nation now is a spiritual poverty or what we have is dependence where people adopt pathological lifestyles and they become dependent on government," Williams said.
"They don't go out to look for work and that's what we have in our country, but not material poverty."
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