11.18.2008

Article on Poverty

According to websites, this year the federal guidelines for poverty was $10,400 for one person, adding $3,600 for each additional person in the household. At first glance, it doesn't seem like very much...until one reads that the average worker in say...India, is making less than $800 a year. Oh, but cost of living is different, one might say. Except that it's not that different...rice, and utilities and even rent average out to be very similar. And even eating out, at a nice restaurant, costs around $40 a person in India, according to the link. Payscale? Someone doing the job my husband does would make about 600,000 rupees, or a little over $12,000 a year.

I don't know the discrepency, what is the differentiation between poverty and well-done here and in another country? Why are so many Americans starving, and yet blaming India for food prices being so high? However, "The United States uses — or throws away — 3,770 calories a person each day, according to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization"

According to WorldBank, "A person is considered poor if his or her consumption or income level falls below some minimum level necessary to meet basic needs. This minimum level is usually called the "poverty line". What is necessary to satisfy basic needs varies across time and societies. Therefore, poverty lines vary in time and place, and each country uses lines which are appropriate to its level of development, societal norms and values." So has America changed it's definition of poverty? WB states that poverty is living on less than $1.25 a day, or $450 a year.

What's the answer? I don't know, heck, I don't even know what the question is! It just seems off to me that a person cannot survive in America with over $10,000 a year, but in other countries it's considered well off. It seems off to me that Americans on average, throw away (or eat) nearly twice what is needed to live. We consume far more in crops, oil and arable land than any other country in the world...and our poverty level is so very much higher than most global organizations consider poverty. This isn't a self-loathing blost about how awful America is...I think it's WONDERFUL we have so many riches. But Jesus says specifically that it is our choices with riches that will lay on our shoulders...yes, through God all things are possible, however He also said, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" We are the rich...no matter how it feels when you think you need the newest electronics, or wood cabinets, or carpeting on your floor....maybe it's a cousin mocking your ol' truck when she's just bought a new sports car.

Maybe this is just a call to help others. It's Thanksgiving, and so many people in our neighborhoods ARE hungry. We blame the homeless for being homeless. We blame the ill for being ill. We make ourselves sick with turkey and stuffing and sugary sweets, while others are fortunate to find a soup kitchen that honestly just has a little soup. Buy a smaller turkey and donate the difference to your local homeless shelter. Double the cans of veggies you're buying and take half of them over there. 40¢ to 89¢ a can...doesn't make a big difference to your bill, but it does make a big difference to an organization like Food for Friends.

Matthew 25
42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

1 comment:

Phoebe Gleeson said...

We're WAY under. Yet we have food, electricity and heat, clothes, this computer, a phone, a roof...

I only feel poor when I do the math.