If We Want To Make Our World A Better Place We Must Change The Way We Measure Poverty

If We Want To Make Our World A Better Place We Must Change The Way We Measure Poverty

A look at how the poverty line is made.
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So I am sure that you have heard of the poverty line, but, what exactly is the poverty line, and how is it determined? Well to know that we need to go back to the inception of the poverty line, and the person who invented it: Mollie Orchansky.

Mollie Orchansky was an Economist and Statistician who worked for the Federal Government. After spending time at the Department of Agriculture (USDA), she made her formula, the one that is still in effect today. Orchansky used the least expensive food plan the USDA (now called the "thrifty food plan" which can be found here). Orchansky knew that (at the time) people spent one-third of their income on food. So by knowing the cheapest food plan, and multiplying it by three, Orchansky had her poverty line!

So as is talked about in this NPR podcast, the poverty line has some obvious issues. It doesn't take into account housing, childcare, the fact that more women are entering the workforce, or healthcare costs. But perhaps worst of all, as is stated in this American Progress article, the poverty line is "a number calculated more than 40 years ago and then adjusted for inflation, and they no longer represent anything in relation to family incomes or costs." The line is inflexible, it doesn't account for geographical differences, or the differences families have when their kids are newborns, versus when they are sixteen.

In this article from The Nation they looked at a poll done, concluding "conservatives did a poll on how much income it takes to avoid poverty, and the answer they got back was more than $8,000 above the federal poverty line." So if conservatives don't like the poverty line, and liberals claim to want to fight for people of the lower class, then it would seem that we are all in agreement: it needs to be changed.

One option would be the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The SPM sounds weird at first, but it really is just a better thought out Poverty Line. The SPM takes into account what is known as an "in-kind" benefit, these would be nutritional assistance (think food stamps) or housing assistance. SPM also looks at food, clothing, and housing expenses, as well as a person's income (you can see more about the SPM here).

For me, one of the most important reasons behind changing the poverty line would be that it would give people who do not live in poverty a more realistic idea of how many people live in poverty, and what the United States would have to look like for everyone in it to not have to live in poverty. All in all, it seems that we all can agree on a new way of measuring poverty is needed, and it seems like we have a pretty good option.

Cover Image Credit: arthistorytropes

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Gillette Is Not The First Polarizing Company, And It Will Certainly Not Be The Last

There is a never-ending push and pull between how companies spend their advertising dollars and cultivating customer support. Why should we be surprised when a company takes a social or political stance?

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I don't think it's too far of a stretch to say that political activism is at one of it's highest points in recent years. As with most things, social media has not only amplified activism but made avenues of activism more accessible. There are so many accounts out there tackling some of the most complicated and nuanced issues in our society today. I think over the last decade, we as a society have spent a lot of time reflecting internally and reprioritizing our values.

Somewhere along the line, I think people also began to think more about where their money goes, what products they buy and which companies they support. People nowadays choose their products not only for functionality or quality but what that product is intended to express.

Essentially, when we buy a product or wear a certain brand it's often in an attempt to express some sort of value.

So I think it's only natural that brands are now more aware of not only where they're advertising but the messages they choose to express. For instance, if you wear Patagonia it could get an expression that you enjoy more expensive, high-quality clothes but that you also support fighting climate change of some sorts.

Companies have already begun to think more about their messaging and who they support with their advertising dollars. Keurig at one point pulled their advertising from Sean Hannity, much to the ire of his fans. Most recently, Roku removed the infamous InfoWars channel from their platform, following suit of other platforms such as Facebook and Spotify.

Ultimately, corporations essentially act and are treated as private citizens. They've been influencing politics for so long that it's almost a natural progression that they then begin to influence and make statements on public opinion. Since the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision, spending money on political causes is protected by the First Amendment under free speech. Companies can then give money freely in politics, so long as it wasn't going directly to any politicians. Many companies have already spent hundreds of millions of "dark money" to secretly fund campaigns and political parties.

Gillette wasn't the first company to make a statement/advertisement that comes off as polarizing, and it certainly won't be the last. If anything, these past few years have proven that companies can say such things without fear of greatly damaging their businesses. For instance, Nike's sales increased by 31 percent following their Kaepernick ad. As we become more socially aware, so will the companies that we purchase from.

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