Thursday, May 29, 2008

Middle Class Families Living In Cars And Showing Up At Foodbanks

It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours. - Harry S. Truman

There is an economic crisis in this country, and it is quietly growing.
It is being reported that once regarded as "Middle Class" people are becoming homeless and reduced to living in their cars and visiting local food banks.

These are working people who have reached their breaking point as a result of higher fuel and food prices, higher taxes, and a dollar value that is sinking.

One might say that they were probably living beyond their means - or that they were flirting with a personal fiscal crisis for awhile - or maybe existing just living paycheck to paycheck and racking up credit card debt along the way - or perhaps they haven't done a good job managing their finances. Who knows. The stories and circumstances are varied, but what is apparent is that each have reached some sort of tipping point.

Interestingly enough our idea of poverty in this country is a bit elevated from what real poverty is across the globe. Poor people in this country still have cell phones and cable TV. Poor people in other countries have nothing. Usually they do not even have government help or the opportunity to elevate themselves out of that poverty. I'd say we are darn fortunate here.

But the issue in America regarding this slide of folks down from Middle Class to living in their car is that this seems to be beginning to happen to more and more people. That should be a red flag to all of us.

Some would say - but wait a minute, our economy is doing well.. we have low unemployment - we have strong global growth boosting U.S. exports - there is job growth.... however we are facing enormous struggles with the housing market and increasing foreclosures. Some say we are already in a recession. I'll bet the folks living on the brink or even living in their car would agree.

The question is what would it take to cause you to go to a local food pantry or live in your car?
(On a lighter note Homeschoolers need not answer that last part of that question - we already know how many hours you spend in your car ... smile)