Read Full Story According to a new NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll, while only 4 percent of the top 1 percent highest income adults say they would struggle to pay off an unexpected $1,000 expense, 34 percent of middle-income adults and 67 percent of lower-income adults say they would have problems paying this amount.In addition, while only 8 percent of adults with the top 1 percent highest incomes say their families have experienced serious problems paying for medical bills, dental bills, or prescription drugs in the past few years, nearly half of middle-income adults (48 percent) and a majority of lower-income adults (57 percent) say this.View the complete poll findings.Findings from this poll show stark income differences in both the ability to handle financial setbacks and quality of life. While 90 percent of adults in the top 1 percent highest income category say they are completely or very satisfied with their lives, fewer middle-income adults and lower-income adults say this, at 66 percent and 44 percent respectively. And when it comes to satisfaction in their personal financial situation, only 38 percent of middle-income adults and 20 percent of lower-income adults say they are completely or very satisfied, compared to 87 percent of the top 1 percent highest income adults.There are also differences in reported anxiety among groups, as only 9 percent of the top 1 percent highest income adults say they are very anxious about their future, compared to 19 percent of middle-income adults and 29 percent of lower-income adults.This poll, “Life Experiences and Income Inequality in the United States,” was conducted among a national sample of 1,885 adults living in the United States. The sample was stratified in four groups by household income: adults in the top 1 percent highest income households (earning at least $500,000 per year), adults in higher-income households (earning $100,000-499,999 per year), adults in middle-income households (earning $35,000-99,999 per year), and adults in lower-income households (earning less than $35,000 per year).Due to the heterogeneity of incomes in the higher-income household category, analyses in this report focus on differences between the top 1 percent highest income compared to middle- and lower-income adults, though results are included for all four income groups.“These findings reinforce national concerns about the impact of large-scale income inequality in the U.S. today,” said Robert J. Blendon, co-director of the survey and the Richard L. Menschel Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.Despite research showing several other factors such as family income, neighborhood, and race and/or ethnicity are closely tied to economic achievement, fewer than four in 10 adults across all income groups believe these factors are essential or very important to being economically successful in America today.“It is simply unacceptable in a country as wealthy as ours that so many people lack sufficient income to pay for health care, housing or even food,” said RWJF President and CEO Rich Besser. “We need to address income inequality if we truly want everyone to have a fair and just opportunity to live the healthiest life possible.”
My son asks a lot about dying these days. Maybe it’s a five-year-old thing, like learning basic addition and how to swim, or maybe it’s because a primal family member has been staring down death for the past year. “Mama bear, are you ever going to die?”Sometimes he tears ups. Sometimes it’s in the exact same tone that he asks me whether unicorns are real or if we can spend travel to the Jurassic period for the weekend.My birthday weekend I felt urgency to ensure his summer contains some good memories by the time he starts kindergarten, that it wasn’t all about working and visiting and saying good-byes.Despite the forecast for thunderstorms, I loaded up our tandem kayak with camping gear. I’d made the reservation for a boat-in campsite at Lake Jocassee for this coveted weekend months ago, carving it out as sacred fun time with my son. We paddled across Lake Jocassee with another mountain mama and her little girl during a break in the clouds, arriving at the campsite on the other side of the lake. As if to welcome us, the clouds opened, rain warm pelting us.We decided to wait until the storm passed to unpack our boats.My son wore rain pants and a persimmon red raincoat. He jumped off a rock and canon-balled into the now milky green lake, beckoning me to join him.I shook my head, telling him that I didn’t want to get my clothes wet“But mama, they already are,” he said.It was logic I couldn’t refute, so I jumped in after him. Laughing more than I had in the entire past month. It rained harder. We swam and dove, splashing each other and floating on our backs.It was the most fun I could remember having until we got cold. We were wearing the warmest layers we had. That’s when it set in that the rain wasn’t stopping. The campsites were flooded, and the gravel pads where we were supposed to set up our tents were one big puddle. Our tarp was useless against the day-long onslaught of rain.So later that night when other campers offered us a ride to the other side of the lake in their motorboat, we jumped on it. We left our kayak and canoe, still full of our camping gear, and sped across the lake at midnight just as the rain was letting up.The next day, refreshed after a night’s sleep at my house, we returned. Late that afternoon the rain returned and I second-guessed my decision. Then the sky cleared.My son and I sat near the lake, inhaling the clean scent the rain leaves behind, somehow metallic and earthy all at once. The fog lifted, revealing the sun that had been there all along, just out of sight behind the clouds.The lake was quiet, the kind of stillness required to take in the beauty of a whole life, and I thought about what I knew about my dad’s childhood. For a minute I stopped resisting the thought that lurked just outside my every thought. My dad was dying.I wanted to spend as much time with him as I could. I also wanted to provide my son with normalcy, and ground myself in a successful work life. To do all the things, and be all the versions of myself that were possible and felt guilty the times and ways I hadn’t showed up. It was an impossible desire of course.In that moment on the bank of the lake I stopped being anyone at all, I just sit and watch the setting sun.He piled crystals he found and then leaves and twigs. “Mama, for your birthday I’m giving you your favorite thing. Nature!” He beamed at me.It’s the only gift I received that weekend, because I didn’t tell anyone it was my birthday. Part of me secretly hoped that if I didn’t recognize my birthday. I’d stay forty-two, my son would stay a five-years old, and my dad would stay dying, but at least not dead.“Mama, do you like your gift?” My little boy pressed a rock into my palm.I grabbed him into a hug. “It’s the perfect gift.”I wanted to take it home, to hold on to it, but leaves don’t travel well and the rocks belonged to the land. There was no holding on to any of it, my son’s pile of nature heaped at my feet, his five year old self, me being forty-two, or my dad’s mortality. There was only letting go.That night my son and I camped alone, and I woke up to my forty-third birthday in a dry tent on a sunny day. We I paddled to waterfalls, slid down rocks, and ate marshmallows smothered in peanut butter until our bellies ached.As we paddled back, I reflected on the weekend, how I’d always remember swimming in the rain fully clothed and getting a boat ride on a moonless night. I watched my paddle drip, creating patterns onto the lake’s surface and felt gratitude for last night’s sunset, for it’s lesson that there was beauty everything, even in fading and letting go.
Press Association An “exhausted” Steve Bruce said he would consider his future over the next fortnight after taking Hull down to the Sky Bet Championship. Hull were relegated from the Barclays Premier League on Sunday following their goalless draw against Manchester United. The Tigers put up a spirited fight and had it not been for two fantastic saves from Victor Valdes, they would have ended the season with a creditable yet ultimately meaningless win. Newcastle’s 2-0 win at home to West Ham meant Bruce’s team would have been relegated regardless of the result at the KC Stadium. Bruce acknowledged owner Assem Allam could rip his three-year contract up at any time and the former Manchester United defender said he had to decide himself whether he had the fight to try to take Hull back up to the top tier of English football. “The first person I will analyse is myself and at the end of the day I’ve not been good enough,” the Hull manager said. “I’ll reflect on that and have a conversation with the powers that be “It’s an awful time and a lot of decisions have to be made. “At this particular time I hope I will be given an opportunity. “I have had terrific relationship with owner. I am desperately disappointed for him. I have let him down.” The fact that he signed a three-year contract in March does not mean he is safe from the axe, Bruce admitted. He added: “A contract means nothing in football, we all know that. “He (Allam) was trying to pick me up at the time to offer me it. “I’ve had a kicking and I’ve always been up for a fight, I don’t think it’s the time to talk about myself. “We all need a break from each other, we need to get away for the next couple of weeks. Let’s analyse the situation and see where the owner wants to take the club in the next direction then we will go from there.” Hull looked to be safe after back to back wins against Liverpool and Crystal Palace last month, but a four-match winless run put paid to their survival hopes. Bruce looked visibly dejected after the final whistle and he feels the pain will linger for quite some time. “We’re hurt to the bone,” he said. “Cuts are inevitable because we haven’t got the finances we have in the big league. “There’s a lot of talking and soul-searching to be done in the next few weeks. It’s all bitter and sad at the moment. “It’s one of those awful, awful moments. “We all enjoy the high times. In the low times you take a kicking, and it’s fair to say I’m taking a kicking.” Bruce lamented the loss of Robert Snodgrass – a £7million signing from Norwich – to injury, and the team’s woeful form in front of goal. Despite spending over £40million on the likes of Dame N’Doye, Abel Hernandez and Hatem Ben Arfa, Hull have scored just 33 goals in 38 matches. “It’s a pretty damning statistic,” Bruce said. Despite launching a series of early attacks on the United goal, Hull could not find a way through on Sunday. Valdes, starting ahead of the injured David de Gea, saved well from Ahmed Elmohamady and Nikica Jelavic, and the Tigers also had two goals ruled out for offside. Bruce felt an early goal could have swung the survival battle in Hull’s favour. “We needed to score and hope that transcended its way all the way up the east coast but it was not to be,” he said. The result meant Louis van Gaal achieved his aim of bringing Champions League football back to Old Trafford, but his first season ended on a sour note because of Marouane Fellaini’s 73rd minute dismissal for a stamp on Paul McShane. “It was unbelievably stupid because next season he starts in the stands,” the United boss said.