Speaking of Percentages … No, People

This last year’s news has been full of percentages.

There has been a lot of talk about the 99% and the 99% Movement that stands in opposition to the 1% top income earners in America. I have to admit that I am a member of the 99%.

Then this week Mitt Romney was “caught on hidden camera” telling a room full of his campaign supporters, who had paid $50,ooo a plate to eat with and hear their candidate speak, that he does not care about the 47% of Americans who do not pay income taxes. This percentage includes many working poor, elderly people, and military veterans. Again, I have to admit this percentage includes my family and me.

In an effort to recover from the fallout that resulted from his 47% statement, Romney said that 100% of  Americans can find a home in the Republican Party. That statement confuses me. He doesn’t care for me but he wants me to be a part of his family.

All of this talk about and reference to percentages started me thinking about poverty. Strange chain thought, I know, but I began to wonder about the percentage of people in my state, Texas, and District 17, the district I vote in, who are poor, who live in poverty.

So, I did some research and found the following:

In Texas, 4.63 million of our residents live in poverty. Of these, 20% are women, 26% are children, 25% are African-American, 28% are Latino, 13% are Asian-Americans, and 24% are American Indian.

In my voting district, 22% of the people  (159,028) live in poverty. Our child poverty rate is 27% (47,428). 22% are women, 41% are African-American, 31% Asian-American, and 30% are Latinos.

I was interested to discover the percentages, especially those of our voting district. The people and children in this district who live in poverty are my neighbors, the people I interact with when shopping at H.E.B., the kids that I work with at the local high school, and their parents. They are the men who drive their pick up trucks through our neighborhoods looking for metal in the trash piles in yards that they can take to the metal salvage yard. They are the man pushing his lawn mower up and down the street looking for yards to cut after the garage door repair company laid him off. They are the single mother we give a ride home after she gets off work at Wal-Mart so she can get home to her kids an hour earlier than she would if she paid $1.50 to ride the bus. They are the day laborers at the corner of East 26th St. and Highway 21 waiting for some contractor to drive by and offer them a day job hanging dry wall or stapling shingles on a house under construction.

Hard working men and women with children and bills and health issues who are doing all that they can to provide for those they love. But they don’t make enough money to meet all of their needs so they apply for CHIPS insurance for their kids and SNAP for enough food to get them through the month. They love their husbands and wives, work hard, go to church on Sundays, and are blamed for not paying income taxes, are accused of being lazy, and demonized as being the cause for your economic problems.

These are some of the 47% in my community. Mitt Romney doesn’t care for them.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Labor, Politics, Poverty, Social-Economic Justice, Uncategorized

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