by Joe Kirkpatrick
This month's article is going to be short, and unfortunately, not very sweet.
I recently read 48% of all Americans now live below the poverty level, which is based on their family's annual taxable income. Maybe I am old school, but I consider living in poverty to be without the basic necessities of life: food, water, and shelter. When I was growing up, we lived in a two bedroom, 1 bathroom frame house, had no car, no TV, and no air conditioning. But looking back, we were probably considered lower middle class. In our community, the only really poor or "impoverished" people were those who lived in shacks with no running water near the town "dump" (today, politically correctly called landfill).
Today, many families live in comfortable houses, drive nice cars, and still reap the benefits of being impoverished. Their children receive free lunch and breakfast at school. The children get free health insurance through various government programs. And of course, there is the food stamps, WIC, earned income credit, and section 8 assistance so they can afford a better house than they could pay for. Their children have free cell phones, and many have the latest video game consoles as well. Statistics also show a large part of the "impoverished" find money to buy cigarettes. Also, illegal drug use, which costs plenty, is also more prevalent in the "impoverished" population as well.
Now, let's take a look at what "real" poverty is compared to our country: