Friday, August 27, 2004

Who's Poor?

As a follow-up to my post below about more people living in poverty, I wanted to find out just what poverty means to the government. So I Googled "federal poverty level" and followed the first link to the web site of the Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines.

I had an idea of what I'd find for one data point. On some news show I'd seen that the Federal Poverty Line for a family of four is somewhere around $18,000 per year. That floored me. I'm trying to imagine my wife and I getting by on $18K per year and it boggles my mind. For comparison, here's the entire table:

Find your family size there, then imagine trying to get by on the amount shown. Think really hard about how different your life would be; how much more difficult. Some of you may actually fall into these guidelines.

Now ask yourself again: Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is the country better off now - forget (if you can) for the moment that we are wasting lives and money on a baseless war - if more families are living in poverty than were doing so four years ago?

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