Problems with the Poverty Threshold

Topics: Poverty, Poverty in the United States, Poverty threshold Pages: 7 (2760 words) Published: June 1, 2008
Problems with the Poverty Threshold
When I think of the term “poverty threshold”, I imagine some kind of physical barrier that is holding poor people back from living a normal life. These people fall under the poverty level and struggle for quite some time, like a fish out of water just hoping for someone to throw them back in so that they could possibly live a normal life. When looking at the gross yearly income that determines the poverty level, which is at about $31,800 for a four-person family (as of 2006), I think to myself ‘How can all of these people be living in such low standards?’ Well obviously they do not have a choice! I mean most of the people in poverty live in dirty places that are screaming with disease and they cannot afford to eat healthy food because the last thing on their mind is, ‘Do I have enough money to eat healthy food?’ but are rather thinking, ‘Will we get by this month, or even this week?’ After doing a little research of my own, my main concern makes me question why the poverty threshold cannot be raised in order to provide a better means of living so these people could possibly afford a healthy diet and even a better standard of living. If only our society could come up with a better means to create a healthy diet plan, decrease the risk of health problems and disease among impoverished communities, create better standards for living arrangements in these communities, and move on from the old paradigm way of thinking into the new paradigm way of acting we could possibly avoid further impoverishment and end up raising the poverty threshold in order to assist in the accomplishment of these important goals. If no change is made to the poverty threshold, poor people will continue to live in terrible conditions and never have a real chance to live a normal life. Better Diet Plan

When looking at what determines a dietary health plan for a poor person I found that “the poverty threshold in use today assumes that a low-income family survives on the same food menu, both in mix and amounts, that it ate in 1955, that the relative costs of specific items within that food basket are unchanged, and that food costs are still the same proportion of a family’s living costs in 1999 as in 1964,” (Mangum, Sum, Fogg, 2000). Honestly how can this even be an acceptable way of determining a food menu for a food basket in today’s modern society? Obviously times have changed and so has the fact that food costs have risen, dietary measures have taken a new turn, and it is now time to realize that poor people do need to be taken into consideration for these changes! How is it fair to say, ‘Since you are under the poverty line you cannot afford to eat healthy and we do not care because it is not our problem?’ Improvement upon the dietary health plan for the poor is crucial and if nothing is done to update the plan, how can the poor stand a chance at being healthy human beings? It is rather funny to come across Mangum, Sum, and Fogg’s article that states, in 1955, the Agricultural Department did a survey that “estimated the cost of an “economy food plan” designed for “temporary or emergency use when funds are low,” not one expected to maintain adequate health or nutrition over time.”(2000). So, I ask myself, ‘Why are we still following the standards that were made up over fifty years ago?’ The only answer I could come up with on my own is that we are too occupied to care about the unfortunate people who are suffering day in and day out to just get by in the world. In the act of raising the poverty threshold, we could re-set standards that could help impoverished people attain a healthy, adequate diet from day to day and could positively affect their risk of disease and health problems as well. Health Risks and Disease

Since the poverty line determines what types of benefits a poor person can or cannot receive and a specified food plan is given to every person alike that does not keep in mind a...
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