Tuesday, March 25, 2014

American Poverty Figures

The right-wing Charles Koch Foundation recently released a  commercial that ranked a near-poverty-level $34,000 family among the Top 1% of poor people in the world. Bud Konheim, CEO and co-founder of fashion company Nicole Miller,  concurred: "The guy that's making, oh my God, he's making $35,000 a year, why don't we try that out in India or some countries we can't even name. China, anyplace, the guy is wealthy."

They display an ignorance of the needs of lower-income and middle-income families in America. The costs of food and housing and education and health care and transportation and child care and taxes have been well-defined by organizations such as the  Economic Policy Institute, which calculated that a U.S. family of three would require an average of about $48,000 a year to meet basic needs; and by the  Working Poor Families Project, which estimates the income required for basic needs for a family of four at about $45,000. The  median household income is $51,000.

Food costs have doubled  since 1978, housing has more than  tripled, medical expenses are  six times higher, and college tuition is  eleven times higher. The  Bureau of Labor Statistics and the  Census Bureau have calculated that food, housing, health care, child care, transportation, taxes, and other household expenditures consume nearly the  entire median household income.

Incredibly, while America's total wealth has risen from  $12 trillion to $77 trillion in 25 years, the median net worth for black households has  GONE DOWN over approximately the same time, from $7,150 to $6,446, adjusted for inflation.  State of Working America reports that almost half of black children under the age of six are living in poverty.

The bottom half of America own just  1.1% of the country's wealth, or about  $793 billion, which is the same amount owned by the  30 richest Americans. ZERO wealth is owned by approximately the bottom  47 percent. Nearly half of American households don't have enough to hold them for 3 months. one in four Americans has "six months' worth of expenses for use in emergency, the minimum recommended by many financial planning experts.

From here

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