Kevin Murray (claystorm) wrote,
Kevin Murray


Sitting in my sociology class yesterday we were talking about poverty. In our notes we were given some statistics that floored me and I would like to share those numbers with you all.

The combined wealth of the 400 richest Americans is a record-breaking $1.25 trillion. That’s about the same amount of combined wealth held by the 57 million households, who make up half the U.S. population.

A record 400 Americans are billionaires and a record 47 million Americans have no health insurance.

American has 400 billionaires and 37 million people below the official poverty line.

The official poverty line for one person was just $9,973 in 2005 (latest data) $15,577 for a family of 3.

The wealthiest 1% of Americans (minimum net worth $6 million) owned 62% of the nation’s business assets, 51% of stocks and 70% of bonds as of 2004.

Those numbers just floor me. So on average after taxes, I make just over the poverty line for a family of 3 and yet I am a single person not living rich by any means. I could not even think of trying to raise a family on what I make, or even less for that matter. Now I am not even close to poor, nor am I trying to make it out that way. I’ve been blest with a well paying job (and I know it so I try and give back), with parents and family whom have helped me along the way, both monetary & in other ways (even if I do not acknowledge how grateful I am for it).

Also I am very lucky to have parents who help me, even if I do not say it. There are things that I still do not even have to worry about such as health insurance (covered by parents), car payment, car insurance (covered by parents), and so on. For all these things I am very lucky.

Now for a single person like my self, the poverty line is just a tad under $10,000. Um, I could not live on $10,000 dollars, not with my current life style, not under any lifestyle. If you are living on $10,000, then you are not living. But yet there are people who are forced to live under those same conditions, and worse. There is an old movie that I watched I think in elementary or middle school, but I can not remember the name of the movie, but basically the jest of it was that welfare is a very slippery slope. It barley provides enough to get by, but never enough to get off welfare.

Poverty is everywhere around us, even if you do not notice it or ever see it, its there. Also, poverty is not just in the “poor” parts of town. It can be right next door to you or clear across the world. Now what can we do? Well frankly there is a lot we can do. Locally here in Albuquerque, there are organizations like the Storehouse and the Roadrunner Food Bank
Nationally there are such organizations Habitat for Humanity and the ELCA World Hunger Appeal And on a world wise basis there are such movements as the ONE campaign.

Also there are groups like Casas Por Christo whom build houses in and around the poverty stricken area of Juarez, Mexico, thru the help of volunteer groups who raise money to and then build the houses in Juarez.

But yet we still have severe poverty not only here in the United States, which is a 1st world country, but also around the world in 3rd and 2nd world country’s. With all the wealth that we have, why is this something that we can not just snap our fingers and take care of? Is it that our wants and needs here in the US and other places to advance and grow our wealth is keeping us from being able to stamp out poverty? I do not know. I wish I had all the answers cus then, well we would not have a problem would we?
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