Being poor

Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.

Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.

Being poor is living with choices you didn’t know you made when you were 14 years old.

Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn’t bought first.

Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually stupid.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually lazy.

Being poor is relying on people who don’t give a damn about you.

Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.

Being poor

The numbers are startling: When you adjust for inflation, the minimum wage in this country has actually decreased 38 percent since 1968, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, the booming economy of the 90s did not assist many of those in the lowest income categories, especially in areas where housing prices rose while incomes remained stagnant. In 2002 alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1.7 million more Americans dipped below the poverty line, bringing the national total to 34.6 million. Nearly one-third of those– 12.1 million– are children.

It is an American face.

People everywhere are afraid that very little separates them from disaster, that their jobs are not secure, and that if they lose their jobs there will not be another one waiting. They know something is wrong in our country, and they don’t know what they can do to make it right. Most are good people who work hard. I have seen their joys, their frustrations, and their attempts to change their reality. The problem is not one of the motivated versus the lazy.

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, our work may not be finished in the next few months or the next few years or perhaps in our lifetimes. But for the sake of our United States and all who dream of living out its promise, let us begin– one face and one community at a time. link