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20 Things the Poor Do Every Day That the Rich Never Have to Worry About

Just staying alive is a struggle.

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9. Pay more than their fair share of taxes. Some conservative pundits and politicians like to think the poor don’t pay their fair share, that they are merely “takers.” While it’s true the poor don’t pay as much in federal income tax — usually because they don’t earn enough to qualify — they  do pay sales tax, payroll tax, etc.  In fact, the bottom 20% of earners pay twice as much in taxes (as a share of their income) as do the top 1%. (Source:  Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, January 2013)

10. Fall further behind. Even when poverty is the result of poor decision-making, often it’s someone else’s choices that make the difference. If you  experience poverty as a child, you are 3-4 times less likely to graduate high school. If you spend your  entire childhood in poverty, you are 5 times less likely to graduate. Which means your future has been all but decided for you.
(Sources: World Vision, Children’s Defense Fund, Annie E. Casey Foundation)

11. Raise kids who will be poor. A child’s future earnings are closely correlated to their parents’ earnings. In other words, economic mobility — the idea that you can claw your way out of poverty if you just try hard enough is, more often than not, a  myth. (Sources: OECD, Economic Policy Institute)

12. Vote less. And who can blame them? I would be  less inclined to vote if I didn’t have easy access to the polls and if I were subjected to draconian voter ID laws that are sold to the public as necessary to suppress nonexistent voter fraud.
(Source: The Center for Voting and Democracy)

13. When they do vote… vote pretty much the same as the rest of us. Following their defeat in 2012, conservatives took solace by reasoning that they’d lost to a bunch of “takers,” including the poor, who voted for Democrats because they want free handouts from big government. The reality is a bit more complex. Only a third of low-income voters  identify as Democrats, about the same for all Americans, including wealthy voters. (Sources:  NPRPew Research Center)

14. Live with chronic pain. Those earning less than $12,000 a year are twice as likely to report  feeling physical pain on any given day. (Source:  Kaiser Health News)

15. Live shorter lives. There is a  10-14 year gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor. In recent years, poor people’s life expectancy has actually declined — in America, the wealthiest nation on the planet. (Source: Health Affairs, 2012)

16. Use drugs and alcohol pretty much the same as (or less than) everyone else. Despite the common picture of inner city crack houses, drug use is pretty  evenly spread across income groups. And rich people actually abuse alcohol more than the poor. (Source:  Poverty and Learning, April 2008)

17. Receive less in subsidized benefits than corporations. The US government spends around $60 billion on public housing and rental subsidies for low-income families, compared to more than $90 billion on  corporate subsidies. Oil companies alone get around $70 billion. And that’s not counting the nearly $60 billion a year in tax breaks corporations enjoy by sheltering profits offshore. Or the $700 billion bailout banks got in 2008. (Source:  Think By Numbers)

18. Get themselves off welfare as soon as possible. Despite the odds, the vast majority of beneficiaries  leave the welfare rolls within five years. Even in the absence of official welfare-to-work programming, most welfare recipients  enroll in some form of vocational training. Why? Because they’re desperate to get off welfare. (Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)

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