Today doing My daily reading and research I came across a not so new concept of how to measure the real poverty rate in the United States. This measurement was called the Self-Sufficiency Standard.
“The Self-Sufficiency Standard defines the amount of income necessary to meet basic needs (including taxes) without public subsidies (e.g., public housing, food stamps, Medicaid or child care) and without private/informal assistance (e.g., free babysitting by a relative or friend, food provided by churches or local food banks, or shared housing). The family types for which a Standard is calculated range from one adult with no children, to one adult with one infant, one adult with one preschooler, and so forth, up to two-adult families with three teenagers.” (http://www.selfsufficiencystandard.org/standard.html) The current measure of poverty is based on what it costs and individual or family to feed themselves and has no real bases in economic reality. There is more to poverty than simply a lack of food but the conservative ideology is simply that providing assistance it frees up resources for other needs. This approach does not even approach economic realities and does not address such things as shelter, clothing etc. and does not in most cases free up enough resource to even approach covering those basic needs. FDR in his second inaugural speech addressed the true definition of economic deprivation i.e. poverty stating “…. here is the challenge to our democracy: In this nation I see tens of millions of its
citizens—a substantial part of its whole population—who at this very moment are denied
the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of life.
I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster
hangs over them day by day.
I see millions whose daily lives in city and on farm continue under conditions labeled
indecent by a so-called polite society half a century ago.
I see millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot
of their children.
I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty
denying work and productiveness to many other millions.
I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have
much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” ( http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/poverty-2010-04.pdf ). There is a reason FDR was elected to four terms as President and sent the Republicans/Conservatives into a fit causing the Republicans to propose and subsequently pass the twenty-second amendment to the Constitution. Yet another Republican/Conservative device of destruction.
The point is while we will never eliminate such things as income disparity, or poverty for that matter we should pursue policies that promote a Self-Sufficiency Standard designed to raise all boats or ships as Ronald Reagan put it instead of the policies promoted by every Republican/Conservative sense the election of FDR , Ronald Reagan included and revisited on this country in the form of the Ryan budget. The founding fathers warned us in Federalist #1 about the elites. The current iteration of elitism you now is in Paul Ryan and his budget. Lets move toward real solutions and a Self-Sufficiency Standard instead of moving backwards into peonage.