How Much Do You Need to Live?

I couldn't believe this story on CNN this morning. Thirty thousand people showed up for public housing applications. Officials weren't expecting more than 10,000 people, and the scene quickly deteriorated into a mob scene, with 20 people hospitalized as a result of the crowds and the heat. To qualify for a voucher you can make no more than half the median income of your area, which in this case was about $16,000 a year. What does this scene remind you of?

I also recently discovered this living wage calculator, which helps to put into perspective what kind of income you need to actually make a decent living. Hint...it's far, far greater than what the government income requirements are for food stamps and medicare. Check out the stats for your area and see how you are doing.

There's a big leap between welfare and middle class-dom. A lot of people are stuck someplace in the middle, qualifying for no services, but not really making enough to afford necessities, like dental care or life insurance policies or enough to save a nest egg in case you have a family emergency. Those are not the kind of people who camp out for three days to get a Section 8 housing voucher. But are they really better off?

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