In support of Blog Action Day, we should all take an opportunity to reflect on the reality of poverty. I definitely think there are two types of people when it comes to the issue of poverty: those who acknowledge it and have seen proof of it’s existence (and in some sense can probably relate), and those who exile the idea from their minds and simply sweep it under the rug. The basic idea of poverty is that you are unable to afford necessities. The homeless vagrants standing out front of 7-11 asking for change certainly exhibit traits of being poor. But, the reality is – people who have jobs, have cars, rent houses, have children, and vote – are also poor.
Every year the federal government is nice enough to tell us who is poor and who is not. For 2007, the imaginary poverty line for a single person under the age of 65 was set at $10,787 – and at $21,027 for a family of four. By this logic, someone who makes an astounding $15,000/year is actually fairly well off. But, with the average rent/mortgage payment in the U.S. hovering near $700 each month – how can someone making 11K per year not be poor, when devoting nearly 75% of their income just to the basic principle of shelter? I can remember being in this income bracket, with nothing but a 5 lb box of rice to tide me over – everything else was a luxury. How can someone muster up the gas money, application fee, and cost of books to go to college when a gallon of gas is equivalent to what they make in 60 minutes of work?
It’s time that the ‘powers that be realistically’ address the definition of poverty.
In the meantime, read George Clason’s “The Richest Man in Babylon” (pdf).
Find out what you can do to take a stand against poverty in your community.
And of course, whether rich or poor, don’t forget to vote November 4th.