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Bar graph showing percent of working families below the poverty line and below 200% of the poverty line each year from 2007 to 2011. In 2011, 10.6% below poverty line, 32.1% below 200% of poverty line.
More than 10 percent of working families were below the poverty line in 2011, and nearly a third weren't earning double the poverty threshold, a new report from the Working Poor Families Project finds. Mitt Romney, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, take note:
There is a common misconception—magnified during the recent presidential election—that low-income families are “takers” who do not work, instead relying on government assistance to meet their needs. But in 2011, more than 7 in 10 low-income families and half of all poor families were working. They simply didn’t earn enough money to pay for basic living expenses.
That's 10.4 million low-income working families, with 47.5 million members. There are a lot of things that could be said about this, but for me, numbers like this boil down to one plain truth: If you work, you shouldn't be poor. In arguing for a just and equitable society, I would go far beyond that statement. We should be able to do better than merely work paying more than poverty wages, we should be able to say that work pays enough that you don't live in fear of being bankrupted by one medical emergency, enough that you can take a vacation every now and then, enough that retirement isn't a pipe dream. But we are where we are. And a nation in which more than 10 percent of families work but are still poor is a nation that's broken.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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