I am participating in Blog Action Day 2008 because this time the topic hits home deeply.
This years topic is Poverty, and it is not pretty to talk about. Have you ever seen poverty here in America? I mean abject poverty? If you have not, you have not looked close enough around your own city believe me. It is there, hidden behind laws, hidden behind church doors, hidden from all because in America NO ONE CAN BE POOR. It is simply not done, not believable.
Here in America all one has to do is pull themselves up by their bootstraps, get a job, become a participating citizen right? Wrong.
Let me take you on a tour around where I live now, Kentucky. Plenty of poverty here to see. And it is not hidden, not a tiny bit. Now, please do not misunderstand me, poverty here does not equate to nasty people with no class. The people here are proud and do for themselves as best they can, but if you have nothing to work with in the beginning, what can you do?
Here in my part of the state, a place with no jobs, no hope of any jobs; poverty is just about on every corner. Kentucky seems to not have any programs to help these people either , even the United Way will not help those who live south of Madison county!
Here in Kentucky poverty could be ended really easy, get jobs here! Jobs people can drive to, and make sure the jobs pay enough to support going to work. As it stands here right now, a minimum wage job will not pay the following:
rent ~ 3 bedroom house / apartment = $450.00 monthly
electric ~ $150-250 monthly * that is what a coop electric company selling Kentucky's own coal does to their users.
water - $ 50-100 per month
telephone either on cable system or not - $45.00 and up a month
tv - if you want to actually get a signal, better get cable, runs 100.00 a month for basic
Now lets talk about the car you need to get to that job ~
Insurance - $100.00-150.00 per month, good driver , bad credit ( and face it most folks who are poor have bad credit)
* note, bad credit also stops you from getting a job, in case you did not know that *
Gas - if your car has a 20 gallon tank, at 3.00 per gallon that is 60.00 a week for 280 miles of driving back and forth to your work, which most often will be in either Richmond or Lexington. From where I live, a drive to Lexington is 55 miles just to the off ramp, another 15 into town. Do that 5 days a week and you get a total distance of 700 miles a week! Does not compute does it?
Lastly I will add in food - family of 4 about 500.00 a month.
Let's add the totals for this shall we?
We have $1235.00 dollars in expenditures a month, at the minimum wage of $6.50 times 40 hours a week ( if you can find a job that offers 40 hours, heck even Walmart only offers a few part time jobs) you will see that before taxes you make $1040.00, after ( I am assuming here a 12 percent tax ) you will bring home a whopping $920 or so.
This does not add up does it?
Now I did not add in Health Insurance because well, who the hell can afford that? And do not think for one second you can go get Health Insurance from the State, because if you make over 700.00 a month YOU DO NOT QUALIFY!
The saddest thing is, this is NOT just a Kentucky issue, its a Virginia issue, a Tennessee Issue, its an Arizona issue. While our Government spends Billions to either make a new Democracy in a foreign country or bail out some Banks who spend their money on trips to spas, I and my fellow Americans, the folks who pay those taxes faithfully are dying, right here in America.
And please, do not say ... "well the better your self, go to school" Most of us have, I am three classes away from my BS in Anthropology. And this state has no job training in my area, none.
It is time to see things as they really are, right here in your own country. Next time you go out to the movies or a nice dinner, when you see that homeless man, or down on their luck family, take a moment to really see them. They could be you soon. And please, if you have some means of helping them, do so.
Ask your Representatives what issues of Poverty are facing your state, if you do not get an answer from them, call your local churches or Red Cross. They will be quick to tell you all that needs to be done.
And with Christmas coming, please take a few moments to remember the children of those families who despite their best efforts wont have a Tree or gifts or heat.
Look around your own city, and see where you can help your fellow citizens, they need YOU.
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