Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Americans In Poverty By The Numbers: Bad, Getting Worse

Greg Kaufmann (Center for American Progress; The Nation, BillMoyers.com) lists a couple of dozen numbers depicting poverty in America, often comparing the most recent figures available with those of a decade or more ago. The short version: American poverty is bad and getting worse. Astonishing numbers of American families live in poverty; even more astonishing numbers of Blacks, Hispanics and female heads of households live in poverty. Notwithstanding the words of Paul Ryan (R-Hell), federal antipoverty programs actually can and do make a difference; in this context, Social Security retirement and disability are also antipoverty programs (remember that when Mr. Obama and his Republican buddies start blathering about any sort of "grand bargain" that would compromise SocSec).

I have never lived in poverty, though my father and mother came damned close when I was a child: later in my adolescence, Dad often reminisced about the Christmas in my childhood in which we had $3.00 (three dollars) left in the bank. The times and policies of both the federal government and many employers were kinder than they are today, and we didn't have a Republican Party full of Paul Ryans from the pits of Hell, trying their damnedest to toss people straight into poverty. My family's experiences are a good example of the possibility of a whole society of people, of many different levels of income and wealth, all living life adequately fed and clothed, none suffering abject hunger, all adequately medically cared for. But for that to be the sustainable state of America today, our leaders have to stop lying about what it costs to secure a minimum healthful livelihood for everyone... and the extremely wealthy must be stopped, the sooner the better, from buying our government for their own purposes, which usually involve making themselves even wealthier. To provide the best for anyone, America must provide an adequate life for everyone. It's that simple.


  1. A democracy cannot survive as a democracy with the situation we have today, where the middle class is being squeezed out of existence, leaving only extremely wealthy plutocrats and impoverished peons. Only a brutal police state can keep the majority of the population from overthrowing their rulers in that kind of situation, and running kabuki elections where there are no real choices other than plutocrat A and plutocrat B does not change that reality. You'd think our plutocratic leaders would read their history and realize what they're doing is going to end up with their heads on the chopping block or with an impoverished 3rd world nation incapable of supporting them in the fashion to which they are accustomed, but apparently they think history no longer applies to them, given the modern technologies of mass surveillance and mass indoctrination available to them.

    This cannot end well.

    1. "You'd think our plutocratic leaders would read their history"

      'Tux, every ordinary American has been around just enough wealthy people to know that they don't see the world in the same terms we do; the feel that anything not already accommodating their every wish is something to be fixed... the notion of fairness in economic transactions literally doesn't enter their minds. It must be something passed down from generation to generation of wealthy folk, not genetically but culturally; and yes, it often eventually leads to revolt. Sigh!



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