Sunday, June 28, 2015

Survival Level

2015 Federal Poverty Guidelines – 48 Contiguous States & DC
Persons in household      2015 Federal Poverty Level
        1                                                $11,770
        2                                                $15,930
Daily News reporter Chelsia Rose Marcius is
doing the food stamps challenge of eating
only $29 dollars worth of food for a week.
Read 'poverty level' as 'survival level'; just the basics, just food and shelter perhaps.  Getting an education, staying healthy, eating well, having a stable home in which to do homework, those are unlikely at the survival level.  Ask any inner-city school teacher.  Add perhaps the costs of a car so you can get to work, clothes for the kids, gas and electricity so you can cook and stay warm, insurance; it adds up to more than you've got.  Survival is just that; not dying.The poverty level (survival level) marks the upper limit of that category; families and individuals within the category fall variously below that line.
From the census bureau's most recent report:
  • The official poverty rate is 14.5 percent.
  • There are 45.3 million people in poverty. 
  • The poverty rate is 2.0 percentage points higher than 2007, the year before the most recent recession.
  • The poverty rate for children is 19.9 percent. 1

Things that help and things that make progress difficult ...
Studies measuring the differences between income before and after taxes and government transfers, have found that without social support programs, poverty would be roughly 30% to 40% higher than the official poverty line indicates.[1][2]
A week's food, assuming they only use the money they
have for food and not shelter or clothing or medicine or ...
Living in such circumstances ensures your long term
continuation in poverty, health problems, educational
deficiency,and reduced life expectancy.
Far below the poverty line, we've had to add another category; extreme poverty.
  • In the U.S., there are 1.5 million households with children living in extreme poverty (less than $2/person/day; there are more if you include the elderly and others without children.
  • About 2.8 million children live in extreme poverty households.  
A recent policy brief by the National Poverty Center (NPC) reports the number of  U.S. households living on less than $2 a day per person has increased by 130% since 1996, from 636,000 to 1,460,000 such households today.
That means about 4 million people in “the richest country on earth” (according to capitalism’s apologists) are surviving on less than $60 a month each, i.e., essentially not survivable.  

So what do we need to know and what can we do, individually and collectively, that will make a difference?