Saturday, September 02, 2006
Ohioans in Poverty Grows 25%
Well, for those who live here this probably does not come as any surprise! The headline read," Middle Class Gets Poorer", something else that doesn't come as much of a shock.
The article tells us that the number of clients seeking emergency food, at local food banks, grew 66% between 2001 and 2005. The food bank, that serves an 8 county area in the Akron-Canton area says that it is now assisting more than 163,000 people. Spokeswoman Erin Deegan said," while some of our clients may not be considered in poverty by federal definition, many are very close to that and are forced to choose between food and other essentials."
This is the group that would be alled the " working poor". Those who are trying to get by, but who also may not have health benefits because they can't afford to have that deducted from their pay. This is the group of people, who I did consider myself a part of when SO was laid off, that you usually will find shopping at places like Wal*Mart. You can read my previous post about that topic.
The group of people who make just a tad too much to qualify for any type of federal assistance and not enough to even get from one pay to the next with anything but some spare change at the end of the week.
It can't come as a surprise to anyone who watches national news that Cleveland was number one as the poorest city in the nation. A city that also boasts a 75% absenteeism rate from school any given week of the school year.
The article also went on to tell us that the purchasing power of Akron-area families is diminishing two to three times faster than the rest of the nation. Kathryn Wilson, associate professor of economics at Kent State University, said that figures tell her that America's middle class is continuing its vanishing act. "traditionally, as national productivity goes up, wages go up,"she said. But in recent years, wages have not kept up with increased productivity. In other words, we're working harder for less pay.
Meanwhile, "We've seen huge increases in compensation for CEOs and upper management. At minimum, it's a case of the rich getting richer."
According to the latest Census Bureau report people between the ages of 18 to 64 are being impoverished at faster rates than the traditional poverty groups of children and senior citizens. In this age group there was a 24% increase between 2000 and 2005.
This is not any news to me. It is only putting in print what I have known for years. The working poor just continue to grow as a group and it is not good. College is becoming an institution for the elite. Some days it just becomes terribly overwhelming to think about what the current group of teens will be up against when they hit 18. For many the military will be the only way. Those who are too poor for higher education will have to make the choice to either go into a trade or vocational school or military service where they can hope to attain the benefits that those organizations entice them with.
I am not putting down the military here at all. We had many of them come to our school and speak. They do offer good benefit packages. For some poorer kids though, who may not have a choice or money for further education, this may come as their only choice whether they want to do it or not.
As I see it, Ohio is in need of some serious changes at the top. Hopefully at election time we will see the changes that we need and hope for.