When considering where the level federal poverty lines should be set one must consider what is poverty. The first definition would be relative poverty, a condition that exists when people may be able to afford basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter, but cannot maintain an average standard of living, in comparison to that of other members of their society or group1. The other is absolute poverty, a condition that exists when people do not have the means to secure the most basic necessities of life1. In my opinion, clearly defining the average standard of living of the society can be ambiguous. Should a $20,000 sport utility vehicle, a clothing budget of $100 monthly, or the usage of cellular phones be considered towards figuring a minimum budget to base a federal poverty line? At the very least the use of cellular phone is now considered a part of standard living for most of society.
If someone cannot afford this, are they truly in poverty? To this I answer no. When considering what persons should be allocated benefits based on their poverty level, they should be considered at an absolute poverty level. It is at this point where survival and well being is threatened, and additional resources are of the utmost importance. To determine my approximate line for absolute poverty I have composed the following table:
Based on this I would set the federal poverty level for a family of four to be a monthly income that is equal to or less than $1,880. If a family meets these criteria then they would be considered for additional resources. Some resources that should be made available would be:
1) Agreements with the local utility companies to set a budget at the federal poverty standard.
2) Non-cash grocery allowances via food stamps...