March 29, 2012
By Barry Grey
While the United States remains mired in the deepest slump since the Great Depression, President Barack Obama is touting a modest improvement in employment over the past several months to boost his electoral prospects in November.
The three-month period from December through February has, according to the Labor Department, seen a net gain of 744,000 jobs, the largest for any three-month stretch since 2006. The official jobless rate has fallen from 9.1 percent in September to 8.3 percent in February.
It is necessary to place these gains within the context of the catastrophic collapse in employment that followed the Wall Street crash of 2008, which has left the US economy with 5 million fewer jobs than at the official start of the recession in December 2007. At the height of the crash, US businesses were cutting more than 744,000 jobs every month.
While the US economy added 335,000 net new manufacturing jobs in 2010 and 2011 combined, it lost 1.6 million manufacturing jobs between January 2008 and March 2009, a reduction of 10 percent. The current level of 12 million manufacturing jobs is down 7.5 million from its peak in 1979.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking Monday at a business conference in Washington DC, was notably cautious about the recent upturn in employment figures. He suggested that the improvement in the labor market could not be sustained at the current rate of economic growth.
“A significant portion of the improvement in the labor market has reflected a decline in layoffs rather than an increase in hiring,” he said, adding, “Conditions remain far from normal, as shown, for example, by the high level of long-term unemployment and the fact that jobs and hours remain well below pre-crisis peaks, even without adjusting for growth in the labor force.”
What Obama and his supporters in the trade union apparatus conceal is the basis for the modest growth in jobs in general, and manufacturing jobs in particular. The president hinted at the question when he spoke last month at the Master Lock factory in Milwaukee. “Our job as a nation,” he declared, “is to do everything we can to make the decision to insource more attractive for more companies.”
What Obama has been doing is spearheading an intensified assault on the working class. He has escalated the attack on working class living standards that has been underway for more than three decades, focusing on a drastic and permanent reduction in wages and benefits. There have been several stages in this process.
In the months immediately following the financial meltdown in September 2008, US corporations carried out massive layoffs, using unemployment as a weapon to bludgeon the working class into accepting unprecedented concessions. Big business employed new technology (automation, computerization) as well as speedup to cut costs and rapidly return to record profits on the basis of a smaller work force, despite lagging sales and revenues.
Obama’s forced restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009 ushered in a wave of wage- and benefit-cutting throughout the private sector. The bailout of the auto giants was predicated on the agreement of the United Auto Workers union to impose a 50 percent wage cut and the gutting of pensions and benefits for all newly hired workers. This set a new benchmark of $12-$15 an hour for US auto workers, previously among the highest paid manufacturing workers in the world, reducing wages to near-poverty levels.
March 9, 2012
By Stephen Lendman
“It’s hard to believe so many people in the US are facing extreme poverty. It really doesn’t take that much effort to make something of yourself. Just a little bit of work goes a long way.” –KTRN
Years ago, who could have imagined the appalling growing poverty level in the world’s richest country?
Various reports confirm it, including a new one by the University of Michigan’s National Poverty Center (NPC), titled “Extreme Poverty in the United States, 1996 to 2011”.
NPC promotes multidisciplinary research on poverty and policy. It mentors and trains poverty researchers. It analyzes causes and consequences, and addresses pressing policy questions at both federal and state levels.
How is poverty calculated, it asked?
The Census Bureau issues annual thresholds. They represent minimal income levels required to support various family sizes. Its methodology dates from the mid-1960s and hasn’t changed. Inflation’s taken into account annually. Families are judged poor based on pretax income. Non-cash benefits aren’t counted, such as Medicaid and food stamps.
In 2010, singles under 65 with incomes of $11,344 or less were designated poor. For those over 65, it was $10,458.
For single parents with one child, it’s $15,030. With two children, it’s $17,568. For two adults with no children, it’s $14,602. With one child, it’s $17,552. With two children, it’s $22,113. With three children, it’s $26,023.
March 7, 2012
By The American Dream
“If you think America is heading in the right direction, think again.” –KTRN
Most Americans know that things used to be much better in the United States, but they don’t have the facts and the figures to back that belief up. Well, after reading the shocking statistics in this article nobody should be left with any doubt that things have gotten worse in America. There are less jobs, incomes are down, home values have plummeted, poverty is up, consumer debt is way up, dependence of the government has skyrocketed and government debt is totally out of control. Sadly, it hasn’t really mattered which political party has had control over the White House. Things have gotten worse under Obama, they got worse under Bush, and they got worse under Clinton. We are in the midst of a horrific long-term economic decline and the American people desperately need to wake up.
The following are 35 shocking statistics that prove that things have gotten worse in America….
#1 Median household income in the United States is down 7.8 percent since December 2007 after adjusting for inflation.
#2 There are 5.6 million less jobs than there were when the last recession began back in late 2007.
#3 The U.S. government says that the number of Americans “not in the labor force” rose by 17.9 million between 2000 and 2011. During the entire decade of the 1980s, the number of Americans “not in the labor force” rose by only 1.7 million.
#4 In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent. Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.
#5 In 2007, 73.2 percent of all young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 that were not enrolled in school had jobs. Today, that number has declined to 65 percent.
#6 Back in the year 2000, more than 50 percent of all Americans teens had a job. This past summer, only 29.6% of all American teens had a job.
#7 When Barack Obama entered the White House, the number of “long-term unemployed workers” in the United States was approximately 2.6 million. Today, that number is sitting at 5.6 million.
#8 The average duration of unemployment in the United States is nearly three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.
#9 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.
#10 According to the Obama administration, about 20 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs back in the year 2000. Today, about 5 percent of all jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.
March 5th, 2012
By: Ethan A. Huff
One of the arguments often used to defend genetically-modified (GM) crops purports that biotechnology is necessary to feed the world, as non-GM and organic farming methods by themselves are incapable of producing enough food for everyone. But the truth of the matter is that organic farming by itself is fully capable of feeding the world — we just need to make a few changes to the way we grow and raise our food, which includes putting an end to the factory farming methods that are destroying our health and the planet.
In a report entitled Feeding the Future, the Soil Association, a U.K.-based organic farming advocacy group, makes the case that organic and other agro-ecological farming systems are not only the solution to the world’s hunger problems, but when implemented, these holistic methods of growing food actually facilitate bringing the world’s poorest out of poverty.
On the flip side, GM farming systems perpetuate and even create poverty because they lock farmers into an endless cycle of dependence on corporations for both the next season’s batch of self-destructing seeds, and the toxic chemical cocktails required to grow them. GM agriculture, in other words, is toxic to the world’s economies, toxic to human health, and toxic to the environment.
As was shown in a recent Rodale Institute study, which was the culmination of more than 30 years worth of research, organic farming systems actually produce higher yields than GM and non-GM conventional farming systems. Organic farming is also fully self-renewing and sustainable, as composting, manure, and other organic fertilizing methods naturally enrich soil and eliminate the need for toxic pesticides and herbicides (http://www.naturalnews.com/033925_organic_farming_crop_yields.html).
A much as 40 percent of the world’s grains are fed to factory farm animals
Besides the GMO issue, factory farming systems in general, including confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), are needlessly depleting much of the world’s supply of grains. According to the Soil Association, as much as 40 percent of all the world’s cereals are fed to livestock, and this could rise to 50 percent by 2050 if current trends continue.
Ruminating animals like cows and sheep were meant to eat grasses on pasture, not GM soy, corn, and the many other grains that are routinely fed to them on factory farms. Besides making the animals sick, as they were not designed to eat them, these grain mixtures require an intense amount of resources to grow and produce.
By letting animals graze naturally on pasture grasses, which humans cannot eat anyway, these grains could instead be used to feed humans. And grass-fed animals produce far healthier meat than grain-fed animals anyway, which means that human health across the globe would improve dramatically just from making the switch (http://www.naturalnews.com/027199_meat_fat_cattle.html).
One third of the world’s food ends up in the trash heap as waste
Particularly in the developed world, humans waste an incredible amount of food. The Soil Association says that roughly one third of all food produced for human consumption ends up getting wasted. So if more people simply made a conscious effort to conserve food, or at least come up with simple ways to share unused food with those in need, hunger in many areas of the world would subside dramatically (http://www.naturalnews.com/033885_food_waste_America.html).
The group also mentions a type of food rationing system as another option, but such a tyrannical approach would be wholly unnecessary if the other methods were implemented, and if more people began growing their own organic food at home.
For The Full Report Go To Natural News
December 15, 2011
“I know you’ve heard the saying – there are no free lunches, but it’s true. If you fall into this poor category, you have to at least try something to make more money. Just try.” –KTRN
Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.
The latest census data depict a middle class that’s shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government’s safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.
“Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too `rich’ to qualify,” said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.
“The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal,” he said. “If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years.”
Video: New data shows poverty at an all-time high
Poverty in America: The faces behind the figures
Most U.S. unemployed no longer receive benefits
Congressional Republicans and Democrats are sparring over legislation that would renew a Social Security payroll tax cut, part of a year-end political showdown over economic priorities that could also trim unemployment benefits, freeze federal pay and reduce entitlement spending.
Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, questioned whether some people classified as poor or low-income actually suffer material hardship. He said that while safety-net programs have helped many Americans, they have gone too far, citing poor people who live in decent-size homes, drive cars and own wide-screen TVs.
“There’s no doubt the recession has thrown a lot of people out of work and incomes have fallen,” Rector said. “As we come out of recession, it will be important that these programs promote self-sufficiency rather than dependence and encourage people to look for work.”
November 15, 2011
By: Ron Hera
“The USA isn’t what it used to be. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” –KTRN
The United States is increasingly similar to a 3rd world county in several ways and is accelerating towards 3rd world status. Economic data indicate a harsh reality that obviates mainstream political debate. The evidence suggests that, without fundamental reforms, the U.S. will become a post industrial neo-3rd-world country by 2032.
Fundamental characteristics that define a 3rd world country include high unemployment, lack of economic opportunity, low wages, widespread poverty, extreme concentration of wealth, unsustainable government debt, control of the government by international banks and multinational corporations, weak rule of law and counterproductive government policies. All of these characteristics are evident in the U.S. today.
Other factors include poor public health, nutrition and education, as well as lack of infrastructure. Public health and nutrition in the U.S., while below European standards, stand well above those of 3rd world countries. American public education now ranks behind poorer countries, like Estonia, but remains superior to that of 3rd world countries. While crumbling infrastructure can be seen in cities across America, the vast infrastructure of the United States cannot be compared to a 3rd world country. However, all of these factors will rapidly deteriorate in a declining economy.
November 10, 2009
My Budget 360
It is hard to imagine a future generation of Americans were those moving forward are actually poorer than the current generation. Yet that is precisely the world we are diving into. Those that purchased homes in the pre-bubble days and also attended college in less inflated times have a massive head start on the current younger generation that is contending with a bursting housing bubble and a financial system that might as well be a roulette wheel. One startling figure from a recent Pew Research report shows that 37 percent of young households hold zero or a negative net worth. This is not a good way to build a healthy financial future. The wealth gap between previous generations is also becoming increasingly large. This narrative ties into the overall systemic pilfering of the middle class.
A large part of this gap has to do with the timing of the housing bubble. Many younger Americans bought during inflated times while Wall Street banks were pillaging the entire system. Older Americans purchased homes during a time when Glass-Steagall was still in place and the bulk of loans made in the housing market came from stale fixed rate mortgages. Yet I would also argue that the cost of college today is sapping out a large portion of future earnings. We have seen a diminishing return on investment for college graduates:
November 8, 2011
By Zachary Roth
In September, the government reported that a record 46.6 million Americans were living in poverty. But a new report released Monday by the Census Bureau using a more sophisticated method to measure poverty rates has found that the true figure is even higher: 49.1 million, or 16 percent of all Americans.
It’s not just the raw number that’s different under the new measure–it’s also the breakdown of who’s poor and who’s not. Using the new Census methods, the share of the poor who are over 65 jumps from 7.6 percent to 12.7 percent. And the share who are under 18 falls from 36.1 percent to 27.7 percent. In other words, kids aren’t doing quite as badly as we thought, the report suggests, while seniors are doing far worse.
What accounts for the changes? The Census Bureau’s traditional poverty measure has changed little since it was first developed in 1963. The old poverty calculus has several important shortcomings: It doesn’t take into account the impact of non-cash government benefits such as food stamps and tax credits; it doesn’t include expenses like out-of-pocket medical costs; and it doesn’t factor in varying costs of living across the country. The new method, known as the Supplemental Poverty Measure, fixes these problems.
“The new measure is going to give us a better sense of the extent of poverty, and who’s poor, and the effect of government programs,” Jane Waldfogel, an expert on poverty at the Columbia University School of Social Work, told Yahoo News. “So in all those respects, it’s vastly superior.”
Take the issue of out-of-pocket medical expenses. Had they not been factored in, the report states, the poverty rate for seniors would be 8.6 percent. Under the new measure, it’s 15.9 percent. “So that one element alone is huge,” said Waldfogel.
The new findings also demonstrate the value of government programs in keeping Americans out of poverty, Waldfogel said–just as Congress is mulling cuts to some of them. Were it not for the Earned Income Tax Credit, for example, the new measure shows that the child poverty rate would be 22 percent; without food stamps, the rate of child poverty would be 21 percent. With both those programs factored in, it’s 18 percent.
September 14, 2011
By: Eric Cantor
Yesterday, it was announced that an astounding 1 in 6 Americans are living in poverty. President Obama’s response? To demand a tax on donations to soup kitchens and other charities that help people desperately in need. The President’s proposal will impact approximately 40% of all the tax deductible contributions, and essentially penalize soup kitchens, hospitals, and churches that provide essential services to those who need them most. It’s no wonder this tax hike has been rejected on both sides of the aisle.
US Poverty Rate Swells To Nearly 1 In 6. The ranks of America’s poor swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans struggling and out of work. The number of uninsured edged up to 49.9 million, the biggest in more than two decades. The Census Bureau’s annual report released Tuesday offers a snapshot of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2010, when joblessness hovered above 9 percent for a second year. It comes at a politically sensitive time for President Barack Obama, who has acknowledged in the midst of a re-election fight that the unemployment rate could persist at high levels through next year. The overall poverty rate climbed to 15.1 percent, or 46.2 million, up from 14.3 percent in 2009. (The Associated Press, 9/13/11)
Ways & Means Ranking Member Sander Levin Has Opposed The President’s Effort To Raise Taxes. Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), who is the ranking member on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, delivered a speech in June in defense of many of the same tax deductions Obama is now targeting. “In the case of the charitable deduction, one has to keep in mind that the recipients of the contributions include universities, hospitals, churches and soup kitchens that provide critical services to working families,” Levin said. (Roll Call, 9/14/11)
Majority Leader Cantor: It Doesn’t Make Sense To Impose Taxes On Charitable Contributions When The Charities Are The Ones Out There Helping People. We have also found out through looking at his tax proposals, or at least the reports, that his tax proposals are going to impose taxes on charitable contributions and in fact impact at least 40 percent of tax deductible charitable contributions. I don’t think there are many Americans right now who think that’s a good idea. The question is why would we want to put an impediment in the way of the charities accessing funding when the charities are the ones out there helping the people in need right now? It doesn’t make sense. (Remarks At The American Action Forum, 9/13/11)
House Ways And Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY): “I Would Never Want To Adversely Affect Anything That Is Charitable Or Good.” “President Barack Obama’s call to raise taxes on high earners and greenhouse gas polluters met fierce opposition Tuesday from congressional Republicans and also a few Democrats. ‘I would never want to adversely affect anything that is charitable or good,’ Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said of Obama’s call to limit high-income taxpayers’ itemized deductions for charitable donations and mortgage interest.” (The Associated Press, 3/3/09)
Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV): It’s “A Nonstarter.” “Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) called the proposal ‘a nonstarter,’ telling Geithner: ‘I’d like to think that people give out of the goodness of their hearts, but that tax deduction helps to loosen up their heartstrings.’ Outside the hearing, Berkley said the proposed tax increase was ‘the number one issue’ on the minds of her constituents over the weekend. Reminded that the provision is intended to raise hundreds of billions of dollars to finance an expansion of health insurance coverage, Obama’s top domestic priority, she said: ‘We can find another way.’” (The Washington Post, 3/4/09)
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT): “I’m Wondering About The Viability Of That Provision.” “Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), the Senate’s top tax writer as chairman of the Finance Committee, told Mr. Geithner he was especially concerned about paying for expanded health coverage with a deductions curb that ‘has nothing to do with health care.’ He added: ‘I’m wondering about the viability of that provision.’” (The Wall Street Journal, 3/5/09)
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ): “I Don’t Want To Prejudge Anything, But It Is Certainly One That I Am Having Difficulties With.” (The Associated Press, 3/5/09)
Whip Cantor: The President’s Plan Could Cost Charities Billions. “It just defies logic as to why we would want to put up a disincentive for people to give to charities, especially when so many people are in a desperate state in our economy,” Cantor told CNSNews.com after a press conference on Wednesday. “We need charities now—we need them operating at full throttle so I am full-force opposed to what he is trying to do … Cantor said the plan could cost charities billions of dollars. “That doesn’t make sense,” he said (CNS News, 3/26/09)
September 14, 2011
America is getting poorer. The U.S. government has just released a bunch of new statistics about poverty in America, and once again this year the news is not good. According to a special report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 46.2 million Americans are now living in poverty.
The number of those living in poverty in America has grown by 2.6 million in just the last 12 months, and that is the largest increase that we have ever seen since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959. Not only that, median household income has also fallen once again. In case you are keeping track, that makes three years in a row. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States dropped 2.3% in 2010 after accounting for inflation. Overall, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation since December 2007. So should we be excited that our incomes are going down and that a record number of Americans slipped into poverty last year? Should we be thrilled that the economic pie is shrinking and that our debt levels are exploding? All of those that claimed that the U.S. economy was recovering and that everything was going to be just fine have some explaining to do.
Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty. Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty. The last time the poverty level was this high was back in 1993.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the government definition of poverty rises based on the rate of inflation. If inflation was still calculated the way that it was 30 or 40 years ago, the poverty line would be much, much higher and millions more Americans would be considered to be living in poverty.
So why is poverty in America exploding? Who is getting hurt the most? How is America being changed by this? What is the future going to look like if we remain on the current path?
Let’s take a closer look at poverty in America….
The Shrinking Number Of Jobs
Unemployment is rampant and the number of good jobs continues to shrink. Once upon a time in America, if you really wanted a job you could go out and get one. Today, competition for even the lowest paying jobs has become absolutely brutal. There simply are not enough chairs at the “economic table”, and not being able to get a good job is pushing large numbers of Americans into poverty…..
*There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million people to the population since then.
*Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job. In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.
*If you gathered together all of the unemployed people in the United States, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.
*According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if you factored in all of the short-term discouraged workers, all of the long-term discouraged workers and all of those working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment, the real unemployment rate right now would be approximately 23 percent.
*If you have been unemployed for at least one year, there is a 91 percent chance that you will not find a new job within the next month.
The Working Poor
The number of low income jobs is rising while the number of high income jobs is falling. This has created a situation where the number of “the working poor” in America is absolutely skyrocketing. Millions of Americans are working as hard as they can and yet they still cannot afford to lead a middle class lifestyle.
*Since the year 2000, we have lost approximately 10% of our middle class jobs. In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.
*Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
*Between 1969 and 2009, the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.
*According to a report released in February from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries are accounting for 40 percent of the job losses in America but only 14 percent of the job growth. Lower wage industries are accounting for just 23 percent of the job losses but 49 percent of the job growth.
*Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.
*Last year, 19.7% of all U.S. working adults had jobs that would not have been enough to push a family of four over the poverty line even if they had worked full-time hours for the entire year.
*The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.
Unprecedented Dependence On The Government
Because they cannot get good jobs that will enable them to support themselves and their families, millions of Americans that used to be hard working contributors to society are now dependent on government handouts. Nearly every single measure of government dependence is at a record high, and there are no signs that things are going to turn around any time soon.
*One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program.
*Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment benefits. That number is almost four times larger than it was back in 2007.
*More than 45 million Americans are now on food stamps. The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007.
*Approximately one-third of the entire population of Alabama is now on food stamps.
*More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid.
*Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.
*In 1980, just 11.7% of all personal income came from government transfer payments. Today, 18.4% of all personal income comes from government transfer payments.
The Suffocating Cost Of Health Care
Millions of American families are being financially crippled by health care costs. The U.S. health care system is deeply, deeply broken and Obamacare is going to make things even worse. Health care is one of the top reasons why American families get pushed into poverty. Most of us are just one major illness or disease from becoming financially wrecked. Just ask anyone that has gone through it. The health insurance companies do not care about you and they will try to wiggle out of their obligations at the time when you need them the most. If you talk to people that have been through bankruptcy, most of them will tell you that medical bills were at least partially responsible.
*In America today, there are 49.9 million Americans that do not have any health insurance. One single medical bill could easily wipe out the finances of most of those people.
*Only 56 percent of Americans are currently covered by employer-provided health insurance.
*According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States. Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.
*According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%.
More Children Living In Poverty
The United States has a child poverty rate that is more than twice as high as many European nations. We like to think that we have “the greatest economy on earth”, but the reality is that we have one of the highest child poverty rates and it increased once again last year.
*The poverty rate for children living in the United States increased to 22% in 2010. That means that tonight more than one out of every five U.S. children is living in poverty.
*The poverty rate for U.S. adults is only 13.7%.
*Households that are led by a single mother have a 31.6% poverty rate.
*Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.
*It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.
*There are 314 counties in the United States where at least 30% of the children are facing food insecurity.
*More than 20 million U.S. children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry.
*It is estimated that up to half a million children may currently be homeless in the United States.
The Plight Of The Elderly
The elderly are also falling into poverty in staggering numbers. They may not be out protesting in the streets, but that does not mean that they are not deeply, deeply suffering.
*One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.
*Between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.
*The Baby Boomers have only just begun to retire, and already our social programs for seniors are starting to fall apart. In 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 U.S. workers. According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now only 1.75 full-time private sector workers for each person that is receiving Social Security benefits in the United States.
Squeezed By Inflation
Rising inflation is squeezing the budgets of average American families like never before. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke claims that inflation is still low, but either he is delusional or he has not been to a supermarket lately.
Personally, I do a lot of grocery shopping at a number of different stores, and without a doubt prices are absolutely soaring. Many of the new “sale prices” are exactly what the old “regular prices” were just a few weeks ago.
Some companies have tried to hide these price increases by shrinking package sizes. But there is no hiding the pain on the old wallet once you fill up your cart with what you need to feed your family.
*Over the past year, the global price of food has risen by 37 percent and this has pushed approximately 44 million more people around the world into poverty.
*U.S. consumers will spend approximately $491 billion on gas this year. That is going to be a brand new all-time record.
*Right now, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is $3.649. That is 94 cents higher than 12 months earlier and it is a brand new record for this time of the year.
A Smaller Share Of The Pie
The size of the “economic pie” in America is shrinking, and the share of the pie for those that are poor is shrinking a lot faster than the share of the pie for those that are wealthy.
*According to the Washington Post, the average yearly income of the bottom 90 percent of all U.S. income earners is now just $31,244.
*When you look at the ratio of employee compensation to GDP, it is now the lowest that is has been in about 50 years.
*At this point, the poorest 50% of all Americans now control just 2.5% of all of the wealth in this country.
*Big corporations are even recognizing the change that is happening to America. Just consider the following example from a recent article in the Huffington Post….
Manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, the household-goods giant responsible for everything from Charmin and Old Spice to Tide, are concentrating their efforts on luxury and bargain items, putting less emphasis on products aimed at the middle class, the Wall Street Journal reports.
America is fundamentally changing. We were a nation that had the largest middle class in the history of the globe, but now we are becoming a nation that is deeply divided between the haves and the have nots.
Perhaps you are still doing fine. But don’t think that economic disaster cannot strike you. Every single day, thousands more Americans will lose their jobs or will discover a major health problem. Every single day, thousands more Americans will lose their homes or will be forced to take a pay cut.
If you still have a warm, comfortable home to sleep in, you should be thankful. Poverty is a very sneaky enemy and it can strike at any time. If you are not careful, you might be the next American to end up sleeping in your car or living in a tent city.
It is easy to disregard a couple of statistics, but can you really ignore the vast amount of evidence presented above?
It is undeniable that America is getting poorer. Poverty is spreading and hopelessness and despair are rising. There is a reason why the economy is the number one political issue right now. Millions upon millions of Americans are in deep pain and they want some solutions.
Unfortunately, it appears quite unlikely that either major political party is going to offer any real solutions any time soon. So things are going to keep getting worse and worse and worse.
Should we just keep doing the same things that we have been doing over and over and over and yet keep expecting different results?
What we are doing right now is not working. We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline. Both major political parties have been fundamentally wrong about the economy. It is time to admit that.
If we continue on this path, poverty in America is going to continue to get a lot worse. Millions of families will be torn apart and millions of lives will be destroyed.
America please wake up.
Time is running out.