Thursday, December 1, 2011

NYTimes: The Working Poor in America

Since October 2011, the New York Times has been publishing an investigative series about the "Near Poor" (or Working Poor, in my opinion) in America. These are individuals and families who earn too much to qualify for welfare assistance but earn too little to improve their economic situation. Incomes varies by region (as low as $20,000s in the Midwest and South to as high as $50,000s on the East and West Coasts). They may live in neighborhoods or older suburbs undergoing decline, live paycheck to paycheck (just one disaster can ruin their finances), are drowning in debt, and/or may not have health insurance provided by their employer. The young and the elderly struggle to feed their children and keep a roof over their heads.

I congratulate the NYTImes and the U.S. Census Bureau for looking into this growing, but often overlooked, population because the standard federal poverty definition does not calculate the earnings of the working-poor. For instance, you may earn 200% above the poverty line, but the local cost-of-living may force you to cut back financially. In the past decade, many middle-class families are falling into the working-poor category. Unfortunately, many public officials (whose hands are tied to Wall Street) turn a blind eye to their growing pressing needs. This is why the Occupy Wall Street movement is expanding across the nation. It's time to wake up, America.

You may access all the articles below:

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