09/05/2007 06:37 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

NYT Shocker: Iran Poverty Even Worse Than U.S.

In his otherwise inspiring autobiography, Malcolm X did get one thing wrong. Malcolm told Alex Haley that as a student, he was good at math, but wasn't motivated to pursue it, despite a teacher's encouragement to do so, because in math "there's no argument."

Perhaps young Malcolm thought this because he'd never read the New York Times armed with a calculator and a web browser. There's argument a-plenty.

Exhibit A: in an article documenting how messed up Iran is economically due to the misguided policies of its government, the New York Times reported today that in Iran

"Rents are soaring, inflation hovers around 17 percent, and 10 million Iranians live below the poverty line."

Of course, the statement that "10 million Iranians live below the poverty line" is meaningless until you know how many Iranians there are. The CIA - which, as we all know, knows everything worth knowing - says there are 65 million. If the CIA and the NYT are right, then the poverty rate in Iran is about 15%.

By comparison, the U.S. Census Bureau says that the poverty rate in the U.S. is only 13.3%.

So, if these numbers are correct, Iran is really in big trouble. Because their policies are so misguided, their poverty rate is two percentage points higher than the rate in the U.S. If I'm an Iranian opposition leader, I've got my 30-second soundbite all ready to go:

"Mahmoud Ahmedinijad: Cares Even Less About Poor Iranians Than George W. Bush Cares About Poor Americans."

Your representatives in Congress just got back to Washington. President Bush used the recess to escalate his threats to attack Iran. Why not join United for Peace and Justice in welcoming Congress back by dropping your Representative a line Thursday?