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Tue Jan 31, 2012, 02:12 PM

Almost Half Of U.S. Households Live One Crisis From The Bread Line

Alexander Eichler
Working Poor: Almost Half Of U.S. Households Live One Crisis From The Bread Line
Posted: 1/31/12 12:00 AM ET | Updated: 1/31/12 11:52 AM ET
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/working-poor-liquid-asset-poverty_n_1243152.html

What does it mean to be poor?

If it means living at or below the poverty line, then 15 percent of Americans -- some 46 million people -- qualify. But if it means living with a decent income and hardly any savings -- so that one piece of bad luck, one major financial blow, could land you in serious, lasting trouble -- then it's a much larger number. In fact, it's almost half the country.

"The resources that people have -- they are using up those resources," said Jennifer Brooks, director of state and local policy at the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group. "They're living off their savings. They're at the end of their rope."

The group issued a report today examining so-called liquid asset poverty households -- the people who aren't living below the poverty line, but don't have enough money saved to weather a significant emergency.

According to the report, 43 percent of households in America -- some 127.5 million people -- are liquid-asset poor. If one of these households experiences a sudden loss of income, caused, for example, by a layoff or a medical emergency, it will fall below the poverty line within three months. People in these households simply don't have enough cash to make it for very long in a crisis.

The findings underscore the struggles of many Americans during what has often seemed like an economic recovery in name only. While the Great Recession officially ended more than two years ago, unemployment remains high and wages have barely budged for most workers. For more people, whether they draw a paycheck or not, a life free of deprivation and financial anxiety seems perpetually out of reach.

<<snip>>

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/working-poor-liquid-asset-poverty_n_1243152.html

13 replies, 2740 views

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Reply Almost Half Of U.S. Households Live One Crisis From The Bread Line (Original post)
dajoki Jan 2012 OP
xchrom Jan 2012 #1
flakey_foont Jan 2012 #2
dajoki Jan 2012 #6
jwirr Jan 2012 #3
dajoki Jan 2012 #4
jwirr Jan 2012 #13
joeglow3 Jan 2012 #5
CRK7376 Jan 2012 #7
Puzzledtraveller Jan 2012 #8
lunatica Jan 2012 #9
Starry Messenger Jan 2012 #10
Yavin4 Jan 2012 #11
dajoki Jan 2012 #12

Response to dajoki (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 02:13 PM

1. du rec. nt

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 02:16 PM

2. Thanks for the link

very unsettling article.

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Response to flakey_foont (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 04:25 PM

6. Yes, VERY unsettling n/t

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 02:22 PM

3. What do you mean on or near? Food stamps replaced bread lines. If you are getting food stamps

then you would be standing in a bread line if it was taken away. That is something that too few people understand - when we ask ourselves "are we in a depression?" we should consider that we may be IF we did not have Social Security, Food Stamps, Medicare/Medicaid, etc. I think we are in a depression that is hidden by the benefits that keep us safer.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 02:27 PM

4. You need...

a very low income to qualify for food stamps and that doesn't help one bit paying your mortgage, etc.

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Response to dajoki (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 07:26 PM

13. That is correct. The housing situation is the visible evidence of depression while we take the food

stamps etc for granted.

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 02:27 PM

5. Great reality check. To both us and to those in the group

 

People need to be educated on the need to save money. I am not talking about those in the bottom 25%. However, those in the second quartile clearly have cost cutting they can do to avoid this. Of course, I am also neurotic about this (which explains why we have plenty of savings and still live way below most people I know making half what we do).

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Response to joeglow3 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 04:47 PM

7. I lived on that bubble for

a long time. Not a comfortable place to be as a high school teacher. We got by, but it was very, very tough. If I had not had Army Reserve income, my check from teaching alone would have caused our family of 5 to qualify for food stamps, reduced meals etc...Army Reserve kept us afloat, but I'm talking about scraping up pennies at the end of the month to put gas in the truck to get to work at school. Wife was stay at home mom, day care too costly and her salary would have had to pay for daycare with very little left over, so she chose not to work (outside of the home). Washing machine/dryer/stove/refrig/car/truck breaking equaled a crisis. That happened a few times too. Glad those days are behind us now. Now my biggest headache is how to pay for the kids going to college and grad school, one starts college and one starts grad school this fall, daughter starts 9th grade so I have a few years to go to worry about paying for her education....

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Response to joeglow3 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 04:56 PM

8. I have had

people apply for SNAP ( food stamps ) who wanted to give me their cable bill, department store bills, you get the picture, as deductions on their case. I myself live alone and cannot afford cable, or internet. I use a pay as you go phone. Now, what I described is not the majority, but come sit at my desk for a while and you will see for yourself. My expenses, a car payment, car insurance, rent for one bedroom apartment, food, gas, not much else.

To add to what you are saying Joe, PRIORITIES, it isn't there. Three years on the job and it is very discouraging, the state we are in, as a people.

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 05:01 PM

9. I'm one of those people

I've used up my retirement and all savings plus gone through bankruptcy and a near foreclosure. I have nothing to fall back on now. I used it up falling back on it while I took care of my bedridden mother with Dementia.

The good thing is I'm very healthy and I have two part times jobs which add up to 100% employment. I consider myself very lucky for having both my health and work.

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 05:44 PM

10. *raises hand*

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 05:51 PM

11. Each and Every One of them Should Be Voting for Expanded Govt. Social Programs

That's the truly sad part about the story. Americans are rapidly sinking into poverty, but many of them still vote Republican out of petty bigotry or fundie reasons.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #11)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 07:06 PM

12. Absolutely true n/t

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