If we have an income tax I believe everyone making and income should pay a flat percentage (I prefer a flat sales tax).
While it is true a single parent making 20k a year will not have alot it is possible (even after paying taxes). It all amounts to what a person is willing to live with. There isnt a single healthy american who cannot support themselves (and family unless its an uncommon family) in the US if they put forth the effort. We as americans have simply come to expect to much imo.
My father and I live on about $13k a year and we have everything we need. We have learned to live without so many of the things your average american has come to expect. While this may be poor in american standards, it is a far cry from starving to death as someone here mentioned (btw when was the last time and american starved to death you know first hand?).
By allowing people to be exempt from contributing to society based on income we are only harming society as a whole as well as failing to push persons to better themselves. Some people simply will never achieve anything better unless forced to do so.
My father as a child was forced to sleep outside 8-9 months of the year. The house my family lived in was approx 12x15 for 6 people. They were so poor the children had to forrage the countryside for food. They never had a full stomach. All this because my grandparents were to lazy to work (before the government had so many handout programs). This caused my father and aunts and uncles to strive to achieve so much more as adults (2 are millionairs now). I can tell you now that every single one of them hate entitlement programs and consider the "typical poor american" on government aid as whiney spoiled people. They (most) could get by by doing there fair share if they wernt spoiled and learned to live withen there means. If they are not happy with what they have they should strive for better not sit back and expect slack to be cut for them.
I agree that truely disabled persons should have special considerations but most "poor" people do not fit this. Most people are poor (long term) becuase of poor choices they have made or simple lack of ambition. Why make those that have made better decisions and work to better themselves foot the bill?
Im personally sick and tired of people boo hooing about the poor. Most of the time its there own doing and most can better there situation if they so wish. Its simply easier to sit around and complain about how little they have and how fate had tossed them a lemon then to get off there asses and do something about it.