(COMMON DREAMS) Jessica Corbett, May 23, 2018 — “Is that really the kind of society we want to be living in?”
That’s how Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) responded to a new study from United Way’s ALICE Project, which found that 43 percent of U.S. households—nearly 51 million families—cannot afford “a bare-bones household budget of housing, child care, food, transportation, and healthcare.”
Sanders has long advocated for policies to serve these households. The senator is working on a plan that would establish a federal jobs guarantee, and during the current session of Congress, he has introduced legislation that would strengthen trade unions and ensure healthcare for all Americans through a “Medicare for All” model.
ALICE—which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed—is a term United Way developed to describe the population that is above the federal poverty level but still struggling to pay for basic expenses. In addition to the 16.1 million American families living below the poverty line, 34.7 million U.S. households fit the group’s ALICE classification.
“People are struggling to make their ends meet. Not hard to see why problematic substance use and suicide are at crisis levels,” tweeted Leo Beletsky, a professor of law and public health at Northeastern University.