A few days ago in the ‘reading magazine’ “Ter Zake” on the Flemish Television channel Canvas an awful picture of Greece was given, contrary to the good news certain economical papers want to present of the country. thousands of people without electricity, fires broken out because of fallen candles, intoxications and CO deaths of bad heating systems, lots of people without work or income and others only receiving 400€ a month for a full time job. How can this be anno 2014?
Spain may have become better of by the measures taken last year. The Greece government is also proud and tries to give the rest of Europe a beautiful picture with rising figures. But we can only see that almost 33% of Greek population lives in poverty while 14.1% of the Greek population lives in a household that faces a risk of unemployment. Children are starving whilst their parents do everything they can to find something to eat for them and have some reasonable clothing.
The Greece government cannot deny that one in three people in Greece have an income below 60% of the national median disposable income, or lives in poverty and as a result is deprived of basic necessities.
According to the report for 2012 by Eurostat, 34.6% (4 million people) of the Greek population faces at least one of the above difficulties, while in Europe, 24.8% faces poverty.
In 2012, the highest rates of people being at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in Bulgaria (49%), Romania (42%), Latvia (37%) and Greece (35%), and the lowest in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic (both 15%), Finland (17%), Sweden and Luxembourg (both 18%).
In 2008, the rate of the population living in poverty or social exclusion in Greece was at 28.1% while in Europe at 23.7%
Europe is facing an upcoming problem having more people who have some job but who are not brought in the ability to make a living. In-work poverty is a phenomenon that affected 9,1 percent of the working age EU population in 2012. The rate of those in work and at risk of poverty has been on the rise since 2005. It applies to those with an income below 60% of the national median. In the aftermath of the crisis, wage polarisation and an increase of part-time work have led to higher rates of in-work poverty in Europe. At the same time, nearly a quarter of the overall EU population is facing the risk of poverty or exclusion.
The so called rich country Germany misuses the working people most with their mini-jobs, paying only 4€ per hour. The companies being proud they can give a lot of people work and the government proud not many people are without a job, receiving dole.
Britain does not end up nicely in the figures either. If Britain were to somehow leave the EU and join the US they would rank the 2nd-poorest state in the union, poorer than Missouri. Poorer than the much-maligned Kansas and Alabama. Poorer than any state other than Mississippi, and if you take out the south east we’d be poorer than that too, according to Why Britain is poorer than any US state, other than Mississippi.in his article
Even lower-income Americans, those at the bottom 20 per cent, are better-off than their British counterparts. The only group actually worse-off are the bottom 5 per cent.
Nelson also writes:
Britain has no space for white flight, we’re forced to live closer together. And we fool ourselves into thinking that proximity has tackled inequality. In fact, we have developed a new kind of segregation: keeping the poor cooped up in council estates, a stone’s throw from the posh parts – yet creating a very high welfare barrier which stops them properly breaking out. Brits may be appalled at America’s gap in black-white life expectancy. But our Liverpool-SW1 life expectancy gap is just as big; we just don’t get upset about it. When you walk south over Westminster Bridge from the House of Commons, life expectancy drops five years.
Also at the continent of Europe we do not have an ‘America’s White Flight’ to create a lasting visual spectacle, no bombed-out ghost towns and a few miles further the loveliest spots on earth. At the West of the European continent people live ‘hutje-mutje’, the whole lot, one next to the other, packed up together.
We have grown to a society were employment does not always protect from poverty. Factories may earn a lot and like societies do not have to may many taxes. Corporation-tax in Belgium is shamefully law and there are rich people who earn millions but only have to pay 0,5% tax where the majority of the population has to pay 45 – 65% tax.
At EU level, the Europe 2020 strategy aims to lift 20 Mio. people out of poverty and social exclusion by creating more and better jobs, especially for young people. In its 2013 Annual Review on Social Developments in the EU the European Commission clearly pointed out the need to address the increase and risks of in-work poverty. During the 2009-2014 term, the European Parliament raised awareness of the issue in several resolutions such as Strengthening the social dimension to the EMU or Role and operations of the Troika.
Please do find more about it in: In-work poverty in the EU, by the European Parliamentary Research Service
- Personal Finance 101: What Qualifies as Disposable Household Income? (quicken.intuit.com)
“Budgeting by itself is not a difficult process, but there can be a certain amount of stress involved, particularly if there are more people than just yourself involved,” Noel says. If you’re combining your income and expenses with your spouse or significant other, both persons should be involved with determining how your disposable household income is spent. Chances are you will have different money personalities. “You might be a spender while your spouse is a saver. Some things your significant other might consider a necessity, you might think are frivolous and wasteful. That doesn’t mean one person is right and the other wrong. It just means you view money differently. That’s why it’s important that you come to an agreement on how to budget your disposable income,” Noel adds.
- Poverty in Scotland has more than doubled in 30 years – despite the economy doubling in size (dailyrecord.co.uk)
What if the state stripped away the whole confusing, tangled web of benefits, allowances and tax credits, and replaced them with a fixed weekly government payment to every UK citizen, set according to age and regardless of wealth or employment?What if an annual stipend of £3,962 for every British adult was the price of ending the endless debate and inaction about Britain’s broken welfare system?
This is the utopian future envisaged by The Citizen’s Income Trust, an organisation that generates ideas and policies around the concept of a guaranteed universal minimum income, or basic income, for everyone – no exceptions.
The view of this blog is that a basic or universal minimum income should indeed be considered in the event of the failure of Universal Credit – though a higher payment incorporating (and doing away with) housing benefit, making it a truly single payment, would be preferable to the model proposed by the Citizen’s Income Trust. Arriving at this viewpoint requires the realisation that the libertarian ideal is not achieveable in modern day Britain, at least not in the short to medium term – there are simply too many people beholden to the idea of a big, activist state.
But in proposing a basic income, conservatives and libertarians can at least make all of their concessions in one unpalatable gulp. Subsidising those who choose not to work may be distasteful, but it is a concession that has to be made only once, as opposed to endless tweaks and patches to a leaking and inefficient welfare system with numerous defined benefits. There mere fact that the dull debate about the extent and cost of benefit fraud would be eliminated at a stroke is in itself almost enough of a reason to support the idea.
While 18 per cent of adults and children in Scotland are said to be “poor”, this compares favourably with the rest of the UK where the figure is 22 per cent.
And In Scotland, one in every eight adults in paid work is poor (13%). In the UK, the figure is even higher at one in every six (17%).
The use of libraries, sports centres, museums, galleries, council services, dentists and opticians have declined since 1999 “primarily due to reduced availability, cost or inadequacy”.
- Budget cuts hit lowest-income earners hardest, says Treasury (theage.com.au)
The budget has been widely criticised as unfair, and a hostile reception from the public led to a slump in the polls for the government. Many of its measures are being blocked by the Senate, with Treasurer Joe Hockey frantically negotiating with crossbenchers to salvage the budget.The Treasury analysis reveals the spending cuts cost an average of $842 a year for lower income households, while the average high income family lost just $71. Middle income families were down $477.
Partly offsetting the skewing of spending cuts towards low earners was the temporary deficit repair levy for those earning above $180,000 a year.
The Treasury modelling says the average high income family would pay an extra $446 a year in tax; middle income families an extra $15; and low income families only $2 a year more.
The combined effect is that an average low income family loses $844 per year in disposable income (earnings after tax and government payments) due to the budget. Middle income earners forgo $492; while a high income family is down by $517.
- Austerity is set to make poverty worse (blogs.independent.co.uk)
Over recent years the challenge posed by child poverty has remained pressing and has increasingly taken the form of poverty among working families. The question today being whether the large upswing in the trend seen in the last two releases, an increase from 55 per cent to 65 per cent of children in poverty being in working households between 2009-10 and 2011-12, has continued?
The government agrees and set out in its Child Poverty Strategy for 2014-17 that getting people to be paid more is as important as getting them working. However, their most concrete recommendations are about enforcing payment of the current National Minimum Wage. It is unclear how many of these workers are in families with children, but as the Resolution Foundation’s review into the minimum wage showed, the current structures do not do enough to encourage progression and aim for a higher real wage level.Universal Credit is, slowly, being introduced to improve work incentives and help people to enter and progress in work. But bogged down in IT and delivery issues it is not clear whether the policy itself will do the job it is intended to do.
- The Curious Appeal Of Basic Income (semipartisansam.com)
- Income and Wealth: How Wealth Information Can Enhance Understanding of Poverty Rates (euromonitor.com)
Income is a ‘flow’ indicator, which can be quite volatile with time, because of individuals changing their jobs, working hours or taking breaks from work, eg maternity leave. Wealth is a ‘stock’ measure, which is more stable over time, and reflects accumulated savings and investments, together with household real estate and durables assets. Individuals can use wealth to boost their consumption exceeding their income. This implies that wealth, in addition to income, can be used to sustain certain levels of consumption.
In general we observe a 50% drop (on average) in the share of at-risk-of-poverty adults after the implementation of income-wealth based poverty definition. Different levels of reduction of poverty rates are mainly due to differences in wealth inequalities across countries, ie allocation of assets among the population. The relationship is presented in detail in the scatterplot above. For instance, the reduction of poverty rates in US and India, where highly-skewed distribution of wealth is observed, results in a twice smaller drop in the share of ‘poor’ adults in comparison with Australia and Japan, which have a moderate levels of wealth Gini index.
- Income Inequality Is Hurting The Economy, 3 Dozen Economists Say (huffingtonpost.com)
Europe will keep growing and avoid a recession in 2014. But growth will remain so tepid that inflation will be nearly non-existent. Nearly two-thirds of the economists forecast that inflation won’t consistently reach the European Central Bank’s inflation target of 2 percent until 2016.— Inflation in the United States will remain low for the long run. A majority of economists think consumer inflation won’t consistently meet or exceed the Fed’s 2 percent target level until 2015 or later.
Economists appear to be increasingly concerned about the effects of inequality on growth. Brown, the Raymond James economist, says that marks a shift from a few years ago, when many analysts were divided over whether pay inequality was worsening.
- How much does poverty drive crime? (marginalrevolution.com)
In Sweden the age of criminal responsibility is 15, so Mr Sariaslan tracked his subjects from the dates of their 15th birthdays onwards, for an average of three-and-a-half years. He found, to no one’s surprise, that teenagers who had grown up in families whose earnings were among the bottom fifth were seven times more likely to be convicted of violent crimes, and twice as likely to be convicted of drug offences, as those whose family incomes were in the top fifth.What did surprise him was that when he looked at families which had started poor and got richer, the younger children—those born into relative affluence—were just as likely to misbehave when they were teenagers as their elder siblings had been. Family income was not, per se, the determining factor.