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WORKING POOR: this term should be an oxymoron. If you work fulltime, if you work hard, you should no

January 14, 2009

Summary: this term should be an oxymoron. If you work fulltime, if you work hard, you should not be poor. Yet more than 30 million Americans—one in four workers—have jobs that pay less than the federal poverty level for a family of four. "What has been happening to working people is not the result of Adam Smith's invisible hand but the direct consequence of corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a religious literalism opposed to any civil and human rights that threaten its paternalism, and a string of political decisions favoring the interests of wealthy elites who bought the political system right out from under us" (Bill Moyers, 2007 speech). In 2007, according to the National Women’s Law Center <http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/WomenPoverty2000-2007.pdf>, the poverty rate of women was 42 percent higher than that of men; the poverty rate for families with children headed by women was 37 percent, more than twice the rate for male-headed families with children (17.4 percent); poverty rates were especially high for Hispanic (46.6 percent) and black (43 percent) female-headed families with children. In addition <http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/WomenEconomicRecoveryJuly2008.pdf>, single mothers who lose their jobs are especially vulnerable: they cannot fall back on a spouse’s income, and jobless women are about 10 percent less likely than jobless men to receive unemployment benefits because of outdated eligibility rules. For more information on the forthcoming Unspinning the Spin: The Women’s Media Center Guide to Accurate, Bias-Free Language, click here.

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