Sunday, May 31, 2009

the high cost of poverty

An excellent article on the realities of poverty and why it is so hard for people to get back up once they fall down.

The poorer you are, the more things cost. More in money, time, hassle, exhaustion, menace. This is a fact of life that reality television and magazines don't often explain. So we'll explain it here. Consider this a primer on the economics of poverty.
"The poor pay more for a gallon of milk; they pay more on a capital basis for inferior housing," says Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). "The poor and 100 million who are struggling for the middle class actually end up paying more for transportation, for housing, for health care, for mortgages.
They get steered to subprime lending. . . . The poor pay more for things middle-class America takes for granted."

I don't want to scare you, but ask yourself how many paycheques you could miss before you couldn't pay your rent or your mortgage. For a large majority of the middle class, it might be three or four - tops- before you had to start selling things like one of your family's cars or raiding the retirement lockbox. Most working people in the bottom third of the income ladder are one missed paycheque away from eviction - and if they have a car, it isn't worth selling.

cross posted from the Woodshed

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