Why this petition matters
Why is this important?
Can you survive on $15,000 a year? Our government thinks you can. Because this is the total yearly earnings of a 40 hour work week at minimum wage. It is still above the federal poverty line which is set at $13,000 for a single person.
HUD’s (the government department responsible for low income housing) equation shows the minimum amount needed to have adequate shelter without government assistance is $23,000. The wait for subsidized housing is well over 2 years nation wide. Never mind if you are a felon. Don’t even ask. If you are homeless, have no access to a phone or reliable internet, and ability to purchase clothing or even shower you are unlikely to be able to get or retain a better job that will enable you to get out of poverty.
Bottom line, changing the poverty line equation will not only strengthen the social safety net, it will change the futures of so many people by giving them a stable foundation to build on.
The poverty line determines eligibility for Medicaid, Snap, HUD, the minimum wage, and many other things.
It is calculated by using the cheapest prices of food from the year 1965 (adjusted for inflation). The amount of food allowed for in the equation is the minimum needed to sustain an adult’s life.
We propose that the new equation be based off of HUD’s income budgeting guidelines (no more than 30% of income be spent on housing including utilities, cost of transportation, cost of food based on real time price indexes) and fair housing price indexes (it’s like Kelly blue book but for housing) as they are the experts on what’s needed to support low income families.
If this equation is implemented the poverty line would be raised from $13,000 to around a minimum standard of $24,000. This increase would raise minimum wage, increase access to housing assistance, SNAP, Medicaid, disability, Social Security, and education assistance.
The cost could be offset by taxing the gross profit of corporations whose wages are such the 40 hours of weekly work would not bring a person above the poverty line with the tax amount being the difference between actual wage and livable wage per employee. We should also tax them for all wages lost through firing/laying off of low income employees. Their actions are costing taxpayers money by making government assistance necessary for survival and the Corporations need to pay to fix it.
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