In the midst of a booming stock market, low unemployment and despite a thriving economy 40% of US families struggle to meet at least one of life’s necessities. That means paying for food, rent, utilities or healthcare. The Urban Institute, a DC based non profit research organization which studies economic and social policy found that the difficulties where mainly among low income families or those with health issues. The study also revealed that these problems could affect people from all walks of life. Having a job, the study reminds us, is not a guarantee that families can meet their basic needs. In households with at least one adult working, more than 30% reported hardship. Food insecurity was the most common with 23% of families reporting that they had difficulty feeding everyone at least once during the year. 18% had problems paying a medical bill and 18% also did not seek medical care because of the cost. 13% missed a utility bill, 10% couldn’t pay the full amount of rent.
We’re in a time when lawmakers are eager to cut safety net programs like Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance. When 40% of families have problems affording basic needs, it is time to brake that eagerness, supplant it with a desire to help those left out of economic prosperity and stop additional hardship for those who already suffer. More importantly, when we hear how well the economy is doing, let’s remember it’s doing well only for those who were already better off.