Saturday, December 29, 2007

Today's Working Poor, Tomorrow's Homeless Seniors

What does it mean to be part of the working poor in America? It means living from paycheck to paycheck, with many times finding the paycheck doesn't quite stretch to cover all the bills. It means worrying constantly that someone will get sick and there won't be money for medicine. It means borrowing money at shocking rates that penalize people for being poor. It means having your utilities shut off at least once, your cupboards so empty you know everything in them, and pretending you weren't hungry so the kids could eat. It means all these things and more.

But what it should mean and what needs to be addressed now is what will happen when all these working poor become too old too work. What will happen when the low wages they were paid results in a low social security check that doesn't even cover the rent. What will happen when our elderly population can't eat, can't get health care, can't get a warm place to get out of the cold, can't even afford to be buried? Will we then bulldoze them out of the way and forget them? Or will we find solutions now before the aging boomers, the people who raised the generation coming of age now, are passed by on the street as we turn our head hoping they don't beg too loudly for our pocket change.

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