Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Friday, December 31, 2010

The daily grind

At least 44 million Americans were officially counted by the Census Bureau as living below the poverty line in 2009. What does this mean? Well, the poverty line for an individual was a pretax income of $902.50/month in 2009. If our hypothetical poor person made $902.50, and had no substantial assets like a car or retirement account then she might be awarded as much as $145/month in food stamps (now called SNAP benefits). So, after at least $92 is taken out in payroll taxes, our friend is left with $955.50/month to live on. A full $810.50 of that sum can be spent on non-food items. Let's assume that our friend is lucky enough to pay only $650/month in rent and utilities (an impossibly low number in some metropolitan areas). That leaves a whopping $305.50/month to indulge oneself in luxuries like bus fare, food, clothing and entertainment. This situation doesn't only arise with people working sporadic hours cleaning houses or the like. It is also the reality for many who work for big-box retailers and other employers who pay low wages, and keep most of their workers at 30 hours/week or less to avoid paying benefits. These same employers make it very difficult for their workers to take another job by insisting on availability at all times, with no fixed schedule from one week to the next. Bottom line? Millions of Americans are getting by on $10/day or less. They are black and white, thin and fat, young and old. Their harsh experience is a national disgrace. There is only one solution to this problem. Plentiful jobs at living wages. This shouldn't be controversial. Sadly, too many of our politicians seem not to care about the dignity of human life after birth.

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