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Sunday, October 3rd, 2004

   Today there are many suffering as poverty rises. We are the riches nation on the plant and we can't feed the hungry. Many people are taking the attitude that “it isn't their problem!” We all have heard the stories about people holding up such signs who could work but choose not to, making a very good income by begging, but how much of that is true? I am sure that there are a few con-artist and we must be careful not to give our money away to just everyone who comes along. The answer for many is to choose to help those who they personally know, letting the charities and the government do the discerning of who else is worthy of help. It is this threefold approach which works, individuals plus private organizations and the government that beat poverty. As Christians we must not let the world harden our hearts, remember the words of Jesus, “Because you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40) Here is question in the form of a poll;

   There are those who make cruel excuses for not helping, such as to say that these people are lazy and choose to be poor. The problem is that even in the cases where someone is the cause of his distress others suffer with him. Take note:

About 85 percent of low-income children have parents who work, and most have at least one parent working full-time, year-round. Nonetheless, many of these parents are unable to afford basic necessities for their families, such as food, housing, and stable child care. Even a full-time job is not always enough to make ends meet, and many parents cannot get ahead simply by working more. http://www.nccp.org/pub_frs04.html 

   It is understandable that we do not want to be assaulted by panhandlers as we leave the stores, but for the “sink or swim” attitude that some have is just pain arrogance! You see, one never knows when we could be in the same situation. There are many highly paid people who are losing their jobs to outsourcing who are finding it almost impossible to replace those jobs with anything that is close to half of their old pay. Here is a graft of the poverty level in America:

   This is an explanation that goes with the graph; unfortunately the census only goes to 2002. By all accounts it is getting worst and needs our concern.

     Has Poverty Changed over Time?2 

In the late 1950s, the overall poverty rate for individuals in the United States was 22 percent, representing 39.5 million poor persons. Between 1959 and 1969, the poverty rate declined dramatically and steadily to 12.1 percent. As a result of a sluggish economy, the rate increased slightly to 12.5 percent by 1971. In 1972 and 1973, however, it began to decrease again. In 1973, the poverty rate was 11.1 percent. At that time roughly 23 million people were poor.

In 1975 the poverty rate increased  to 12.3 percent. It then oscillated around 11.5 percent for the next few years. After 1978, however, the rate rose steadily, reaching 15.2 percent in 1983. Thereafter it remained mostly higher than 13 percent. In 1993 it reached a new high of 15.1 percent, and then began to fall slowly. In 2000, 31 million people were poor (11.3 percent of the population). In 2001 the number of poor and the poverty rate both rose as economic difficulties moved into recession; in 2002, 34.6 million people (12.1 percent of the population) were poor by the official measure of poverty. 

   What gets me more than anything are the children going hungry, I know that I can only help so much, but together as a people we can eradicate poverty in our lifetime!    When I put the graph up that charted the level of poverty 2003 was not available, it was just released a month early. Some are saying this was done to divert attention from the failure of this administration in the area of poverty. In 2003 there was over a million more people living in poverty, I just wonder how bad it is for 2004?  CNN.com -Census states:

Approximately 35.8 million people lived below the poverty line in 2003, or about 12.5 percent of the population, according to the bureau. That was up from 34.5 million, or 12.1 percent in 2002.