Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Rockerfeller study tells us what 20% of us already know
"If there isn't, there certainly should be," I said.
"Check with the Parent Information Center at Milton Bradley School," Liz said.
Our friend is living on $1,000 a month, which includes some widow's benefits-- that's 50% below the federal poverty level. She does not receive welfare benefits. She's looking for work-- and looking, and looking.
A guy came in. He was looking for a studio apartment, and looking for a job, also. But he was having trouble finding either, because he had a fairly recent assault and battery charge on his record.
"I didn't do it, but my mom was dying in a nursing home and I didn't want to risk being in jail when she passed away so I pled guilty," he said. "Do you know any landlords who will give a guy a chance?" I didn't have a lot of ideas for him. (In fact, if anybody in the Greater Springfield area has any tips, let me know.)
Recently I find myself describing poverty's affect on people in terms of weather disasters -- dust bowls and tornados -- but there's an older image that came to my mind several "recoveries" ago. Every time an economic depression washes like a hurricane across this country, there are more and more of us are left swept away, stranded, possibly never to recover.
Today I saw my belief turned into hard proof when Bob Herbert, New York Times, wrote about a rigorous study done by the Rockerfeller Foundation. First the study created an economic security index to measure the number of people whose income went down by 25% or more in a single year. Then the study looked at the numbers of economically insecure people after three recessions.
1985: 7.2% unemployment: 12% economically insecure.
2002: 5.8% unemployment: 17% economically insecure.
2009: 9.5% unemployment: 20% economically insecure.
Your house keeps burning down, and there's less to salvage each time.