Business NH Magazine: Who Are the Working Poor?

BNHcoverBusiness NH Magazine / JUN 2014
(Excerpted from the Magazine) Does America’s longstanding vision that work and reward go hand-in-hand still hold true today? … For millions of citizens born and raised in difficult circumstances, “working poor” is not an oxymoron. Five years after the Great Recession officially ended, the number of low-income workers in the United States has swelled to the highest rate in over 25 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fully half of American jobs now pay less than $33,000 per year and one in four pay poverty-level wages of $22,000 or less. The National Employment Law Project reports that 60 percent of all jobs lost during the Great Recession were in mid-wage occupations while 59 percent of jobs gained through 2012 were in lower-wage occupations; meanwhile, the number of high-income jobs lost and gained was unchanged at around 20 percent. As a consequence, Americans in the bottom income quintile now receive the smallest share of income–3.3 percent–since record-keeping began in the 1960s, according to the Census Bureau. In sharp contrast, the share of income gains flowing to the top 1 percent from 2009-2012 reached 95 percent, according to U.C. Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez.

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Interview: Voting And The Cycle Of Poverty

NHPRThe Exchange on NHPR / JAN 15, 2014
Behind the numbers are the experiences of America’s poor, which, more often than not, go unheard. This divide is the problem that N.H. writer and activist Dan Weeks addressed in the project he undertook last year, to travel around some of the poorest areas of the country by bus and see poverty close up, as well as the ways that it intertwines with a lack of political voice. Today we’ll talk with him about the series of articles he wrote for The Atlantic on his trip and what he saw. []

Atlantic Series: Second-Class Citizens

atlantic1Poverty vs. Democracy in America

The Atlantic / JAN 6, 2014 / Comments: 122
50 years after Lyndon Johnson launched the War on Poverty, tens of millions of second-class Americans are still legally or effectively disenfranchised. [Read article]

atlantic2Should Felons Lose the Vote?

The Atlantic / JAN 7, 2014 / Comments: 278
The poor and minorities are disproportionately locked up—and as a result, disproportionately banned from the polls. [Read article]


atlantic3Immigrant Voting: Crazy Idea?

The Atlantic / JAN 8, 2014 / Comments: 33
Until the 1920s, many states and territories allowed non-citizens to cast ballots. Given their role in American society, it’s worth reconsidering the practice. [Read article]


atlantic4How D.C. and Puerto Rico Lose Out on Democracy

The Atlantic / JAN 9, 2014 / Comments: 84
Is there a connection between deprivation and a lack of federal representation? The people in territories without a vote sure think so. [Read article]


atlantic5Why Are the Poor and Minorities Less Likely to Vote?

The Atlantic / JAN 10, 2014 / Comments: 231
Even when America’s underclass isn’t formally stripped of its ballot, a slew of barriers come between them and full representation and participation. [Read article]


atlantic6How to Solve America’s Democracy and Poverty Crisis

The Atlantic / JAN 10, 2014 / Comments: 86
Hardship is undermining the the nation’s core values. Here are a few steps to help re-level the playing field. [Read article]

Sojourners: To Whom Do They Answer?

sojo1Sojourners / MAR 26, 2013 / Comments: 4
When budgeting breaks down on Capitol Hill, politicians make excuses while ordinary people pay the price. So it is with the recent sequestration saga, where the failure of official Washington to prevent across-the-board spending cuts comes at a crippling cost for the “least of these” God’s children – $85 billion a year, to be precise. As discretionary spending is slashed 14 percent below 2010, nothing will be spared save the entitlement programs and tax expenditures that are the actual cause of the nation’s growing deficit. [Read article]

Sojourners: What Is Left Unsaid in This Campaign

sojo2Sojourners / NOV 1, 2012 / Comments: 7
Much has been said by politicians and the press in this campaign. In three presidential debates alone, we’ve heard the two contenders for our nation’s highest office speak of tax cuts, deficits, jobs, and the middle class literally hundreds of times. But much has also been left unsaid. In those same presidential debates, poverty was hardly featured and the word “inequality”didn’t appear at all. [Read article]