There is a whole group of people in the world who work very hard…
And still live in poverty or in “near poverty.”
I’m writing to recognize and honor them.
They are almost never acknowledged when the powers that be talk about poverty and programs that help, so join me for a moment to consider them.
Many of these people get SNAP benefits and Medicaid…legitimately.
Many of them work at least two jobs, just to make ends meet.
They do things like:
Housekeeping at hotels, hospitals, resorts and malls
Working in stores and restaurants
They work for minimum wage.
Below is a link to show what the minimum wage in each State is. Another good question to ask would be, “What is the cost of living in each State?” That would paint a more thorough picture.
Just for kicks, let’s do some arithmetic here:
If John works 40 hours per week at $7.25/hour (the Federal minimum wage, what will his gross income be? Answer: $1290.50. Now, take away about 30% of that…(that would be $387.15) The final result: 903.35
That would be impossible to live on if John is an individual. He might get a few dollars from SNAP; if his employer isn’t providing insurance, he would get a break under the ACA. And so it goes.
Now, what if he has at least one child?
Hopefully, he is in subsidized housing; he definitely would get SNAP; Medicaid or help with insurance would be part of his support…
Even if John supplemented his full-time job with say another 15-20 hours (he does have to sleep sometime) he would be below the poverty line. And nothing unexpected had better come up: He won’t make it; he might even join the many homeless people in the land.
BTW: Many homeless people work. The challenge is, the cost of living is so high, they can’t get out of the financial hole.
Think of the people you know personally who work long and hard, only to struggle. I am not talking about the ones who manage their resources poorly or refuse to work when they could. They get too much attention as it is.
I know some:
Educational assistants – I have a neighbor who is doing that. If she had to support herself, she would need a second job or some subsidies.
Fast food workers – Again, if there is a way to share expenses, maybe.
We need these people. We need what they do.
Thank you, all who clean the motel room before I arrive, so that it is fresh, well supplied and clean.
Thank you, stockers at the grocery store, servers at restaurants and workers who make sure that the sheets on beds in hospitals and care centers are clean.
The next time you find yourself in a conversation about “the poor,” would you remind all involved that these are people…and countless numbers of them work?