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Poverty In The United States
49.7 million citizens in the United States are living at or below the poverty level, according to the latest Census Bureau statistics. That figures out to be 16% of the population.
The Census Bureau uses a standard called the poverty threshold when determining these figures. According to those calculations, the poverty threshold for one person in the United States is a yearly income of $11,170. For a family of four it is $23,050.
The states experiencing the worst poverty are California, the District of Columbia (yes, I know this is not a state), Florida, Arizona, and Georgia; the worst region is the Deep South.
Broken down by ethnic groups, Blacks experienced the worst rate of poverty, although for the first time in quite some time, their rate actually improved. They are followed closely by Hispanics.
The Reality of Those Figures
Let us take a look at that figure of $11,170. Imagine, for a moment, what your living expenses are. Of course, most people have rent and/or mortgage to pay; they then have payments for food, transportation, medical, and utilities.
Let’s just take an absurd figure for rent/mortgage; let’s say that this person pays $500 per month for somewhere to live, which basically means they are renting a room. That computes to $6,000 per year, leaving that person with $5,170 for food, transportation, medical, insurance, and utilities. Divide that by twelve and they have $430 per month for those additional expenses.
What say you? How about a single mother with one child? Well, their poverty level is $15,130. Do the math in your head and imagine raising a child on that amount of money. I can practically hear some of you saying “yes, I can imagine it, because I’m doing it right now.” Indeed, millions of single parents are doing it right now, to the best of their ability.
Now consider a single parent, with small child, who previously had a decent manufacturing job paying $30,000 per year, but who was recently laid off. He/she has some credit card debt, maybe a student loan, and everything was okay while they had that previous job. Unfortunately, when they were laid off, their income dropped by 50% but their bills remained the same.
Welcome to the United States of America in the year 2012.
The Snowball Effect
So now that parent or individual is looking at some serious problems. The bills won’t go away by themselves; they do not have some magical button to make the debt disappear. Their income can only rise if they can find a better job but oh, gosh, suddenly there are fewer and fewer jobs available. No problem, they can just work two jobs to make up the missed income.
So what do they do? Apply for food stamps? That is certainly an option, but an option that is embarrassing for many, practically degrading for some. They can, of course, try to find a second job, but now what about child care? Who will be the parent? So the child goes unsupervised in many households, and now we are looking at a whole new set of problems, with drugs and petty crime entering the picture.
Now multiply it all by 49.7 million and we have a country that is floundering. Now we have entire regions with a lower tax base, less services, less police and fire, sub-standard education, and around and around we go, and where it stops nobody knows.
Of course, to a certain degree, the problems are much more complex, but sometimes we need to break it down to a level that everyone can comprehend. There are those out there who are so jaded that they refuse to see the problem as it exists. When one is making $75,000 per year, it’s a bit easier to discount these realities. I only have one question for the jaded out there: If you were to lose your job tomorrow, and had to get a job at McDonald’s, how do you think your financial situation would look in two months? Six months? One year? Considering your current level of debt and expenses, how fat and sassy would you be if you were suddenly making $11,170 flipping burgers?
Powerful words from my friend Linda
- To Change This World
To change this world, we have to begin with ourselves. The common thread among humans is that we all have strengths and weakness. We all want our children and grandchildren to have a bright future. If we do not want to live in a war-torn country, the
Food for thought
It Is Time for a Rant
This writer is not adversely affected by this current recession. Bev and I live at the poverty level, but we live frugally and we planned ahead, so we are certainly not the norm. Most people living at the poverty level are nowhere near as comfortable as Bev and I are, and it is for them that I write this rant.
Here is what I am tired of, in no particular order:
· I am tired of the fat and sassy pointing fingers at the poor saying that they are to blame for the nation’s problems.
· I am tired of elected officials in Washington D.C., who seem incapable of compromise or of working towards a solution, making $174,000 per year.
· I am tired of the narcissistic attitude that is pervasive in this country, the pretty people who are only concerned with themselves and couldn’t spell “compassion” if you held a gun to their heads.
· I am tired of the bigots who point to a minority and claim they are the reason this country is no longer strong and vibrant.
· I am tired of corporations selling out the American worker for larger profits.
· I am tired of hearing that the only thing poor people want is a hand-out.
· I am tired of the divisiveness in this country that has pitted the haves against the have-nots, or perhaps the rich against the poor, or the pseudo-intellectuals against those who did not receive an adequate education, or the whites against any minority.
· I am tired of hearing that the rich are to blame for all of our ills. It is high time each and every one of us accepted responsibility for the ills of this country.
· I am tired of citizens not being safe on the streets, and I am tired of abuse and violence.
· I am tired of rudeness and callousness, and I am tired of inadequate education.
· I am tired of veterans being ignored, and I am tired of the homeless being treated like lepers.
· Finally, I am tired of this once great nation crawling when we once reached for the stars.
Yes, I am tired of it all!
- The United States Economy: Economic Slavery 2012
If you are in the bottom 99% of American society, this article might interest you.
More related thoughts
- Social Problems: Homelessness in the United States
A look at a growing problem in the United States and elsewhere. The homeless are a part of the fabric of this nation and yet what to do about it?
United We Stand, Divided We Fall
Understand this well: We will not make it as a nation unless we learn to come together for a common purpose.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” King James Bible
It is time to stop acting like children, put away our childish differences, and begin walking the road of recovery as men and women.
It is time to drop the Party lines; this is bigger than Republicans, Democrats or whatever third party you choose; we are talking about the welfare and common good of all of our citizens. Why is this so hard to comprehend? When did we lose the ability to compromise?
In a nation of 310 million people, nearly 50 million of them are hanging by their fingernails, and it threatens to get worse.
There are certain species of animals and fish that eat their young. It is called filial cannibalism, and some theorize that it is nature’s way of insuring that the strong survive. I am beginning to believe that what we now see in the United States is a prime example of Darwinism, with the richest surviving and everyone else scrambling to avoid the tentacles of the Grim Reaper.
Right now someone is reading this and saying to themselves that it is not their concern. They are comfortable; they have a job and the bills are being paid and they live in a nice gated community, and quite frankly this stuff does not relate to their life. I have one thing to ask you: Have you lost your mind? Do you really believe that when 16% of the population cannot adequately provide for their most basic needs that it does not affect you? On an economic level it affects everyone; on a human level is should affect everyone.
Study history and you will see endless examples of the down-trodden rising up in revolution because of deplorable living conditions. Do you think it can’t happen in the United States, a country born from the womb of revolution?
I do not advocate revolution; I deplore violence. However, in a class battle, I can say emphatically that I will side with the poor each and every time, simply because this nation is only as strong as our weakest link, and right now we have nearly fifty million weak links.
Sit with me awhile
I truly am not conducting a crusade against the rich or for that matter against corporations. This country was built on capitalism and it is not, inherently, an evil system. I am, however, conducting a crusade against selfishness and greed, and I am calling on all of you to do your part to lend a hand to your fellow citizens.
Do not tell me how this is President Obama’s fault; I do not want to hear it. Do not tell me how this is President Bush’s fault; I do not want to hear it. We are far beyond the blame game at this point. We need to come together for the common good, or we will fall together. Tell me how you are going to be a part of the solution, and I will stand by you, regardless of your social status, political leanings, or race.
I am a human being. You are human beings. Let’s work together now, as human beings, for the human race!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)