Rosalie Higgins has had a hardscrabble life. She didn’t make it into the air force and she couldn’t complete nursing school. The jobs she was able to get with the computer skills that she picked up in trade school paid no better than $6.50 an hour. At age 66, she lives on her Social Security check of $623 a month, which is less than the rent for a one-bedroom apartment.
Last month marked the tenth anniversary of President Clinton’s welfare reform law, which imposed time limits for receiving cash assistance and required welfare recipients—including single mothers with young children—to work. Highly controversial at the time, the measure has become so much a part of the political landscape that welfare now hardly figures as an election-year issue.
When Tim King organized a sleep-out in Chicago last year, 300 students from across the Midwest came to raise awareness of homelessness by gathering signatures for a petition, holding up signs and even “sleeping out” on the Magnificent Mile.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans fear that poverty will increase, while almost the same proportion of the populace worry that they will find themselves among the lowest economic class, according to a new poll sponsored by Catholic bishops.
By a 216-214 vote, the House of Representatives has passed a controversial budget-cutting bill opposed vigorously as “immoral” by mainline and ecumenical church leaders late in 2005. The bill, which President Bush said he would sign, trims federal budget programs by nearly $40 billion over the next five years. The February 1 vote by the House included no Democrats in favor.
In The End of Poverty, Jeffrey D. Sachs convincingly depicts world poverty as a manageable problem and presents a plausible and nearly painless plan for dealing with it. His optimism may be somewhat misplaced, but his hopeful, simple prescription is powerful.
As globalization and farm subsidies drive family farms out of business, people living in rural areas are more at risk for hunger, according to an annual report by Bread for the World, an antipoverty group.
The percentage of Americans in poverty and without health insurance grew in 2003 for the third straight year—to 35.9 million people (one out of every eight) in poverty and 45 million (15.6 percent) without health insurance, reports the U.S. Census Bureau. The poverty threshold is $18,660 for a family of four. Those numbers do not tell the whole story, said Joseph C.