Friday, 1 September 2006

A Return To American Poverty

I've already written about poverty in the United States and also poverty in the United Kingdom but an excellent post over at Annotated Life has presented me with some more facts that I'd like to share, as I think they deserve a wider audience and wider dissemination; so I'll paraphrase them here but for full details go over to the full post.

Poverty levels in the US remain unchanged, highlighting a stubborn underclass that no social programs can seemingly reach, either that or they are being ignored, a voiceless, oppressed section of the American cultural make-up, an unwelcome reminder that the greatest nation in the world can still not eradicate poverty.

37 million Americans are living in poverty, 12.6 percent of the population. Child poverty by official measure continues to be much higher than the overall poverty rate. In 2005, just under 13 million children, or one in six, lived below the poverty line and for those children living with a single mother, 42.8 percent were in poverty, compared to 8.5 percent in married households. This is in the most advanced nation in the world and is clearly, totally unacceptable.

Crucially, and oft forgotten, are the 13 million Americans living just above the poverty line with a further 49.3 million people who are within 125 percent of poverty.

Why is this important?

I think that the measure of any great nation is how it treats those who are the most vulnerable, the most in need, especially its children, its future, who are going without food, shelter and education.

These people cannot be dismissed as lazy, as welfare scroungers, these are the unwanted reminder that all is not well with the American Way (Trademark. All Rights Reserved) and that action needs to be taken to eradicate poverty in all its forms.


  1. Well, yes and no...

    See, a large part of that number is the recent immigration population still trying to make a foothold for themselves in the country. When you start with the clothes on your back and are shit happy to make $6 an hour while sending home money for your family where you came from, it's going to take a while to get above the poverty line no matter what you do. To these people, that $6 an hour is really good money and considering what they left, it's a great deal. That's a large part of that number and where I live in the south, you can see it everywhere you go. With so many coming all the time, it inflates the number of people in poverty and almost makes the number slightly misleading.
    Then there are the people that started poor and will always be poor. Farmers and the like. A farmer may indeed make a few million a year, but he has to reinvest every nickel of it to make the crop next year even with the giant subsidies that farmers can get here in this country.
    There are also a very large number of middle income folks who are divorced. Divorce court will drag everyone into poverty no matter what. I know because it sure fucked me and many others I know. You get a man that pulls $20 an hour at his job and he gets a divorce. He is almost assuredly going to not get the kids or the house or anything. The chick will. After you chop off taxes and child support and the mortgage on the house she now owns and the alimony and the health insurance for the kids, she still will be below the poverty line along with her kids. You also must consider that he will definately not have enough to survive and will also be in the same place. Divorce has definately driven up the poverty rate in this country. It makes it even worse when the woman refuses to get a job because her job is to take care of her kids and she is entitled to enough support to do just that. "This is America. The land of plenty. Why should I have to work for it?" No, amigo. It's the land of opportunity and that's considerably different.
    Then there's the group who won't take a job unless it's something they think is up to their level. It's better to live in poverty than work beneath you is how they see it. Manaul labor? Fuck that shit!! These are the computer programmers and financial advisors and the like that have lost their industry with the bubble a few years ago and still haven't adjusted. A small pinch in the pot, but a pinch in the pot just the same.
    And here is where I will be perceived as racist for daring to think this but it's true...
    Then there is the black folks. Not all black folks mind you, just the ones you saw during Katrina. The ones that have the ghetto mentality. The black entitleists. The ones that think the government owes them reparations for slavery. The ones that think they shouldn't have to do a fucking thing because a couple hundred years ago people with similar colored skin were slaves and now america owes them something. Those content with welfare because they were raised with a chip on the shoulder. The ones that will tell you they can't get a job because they can't find one. The ones that will tell you they are stuck in the ghetto with no other choice but to sell drugs because the white man hates them. The indians are the same way. They complain about being poor and that there is nothing on the reservation for them and they do nothing about it. There is work aplenty and you can always find a job, even if it's scrubbing shitters for $10 an hour and I will never feel pity for people like that nor will I feel bad that I don't.
    That last group I just mentioned is the group I think you are talking about. The stubborn underclass. They will never change their mentality. They will always be who they are. They will always tell you that the response to Katrina was racist because america is racist. I have to tell you that that is simply a lie. There is no limit to the opportunity in this country but if you are unwilling to take advantage of it, whose fault is it? Should I have to pay for you to survive because you are a worthless turd? I think not. I work hard for my shit and I could care less about you if you don't. I'll give a brother a hand any day, but you gotta take care of yourself.

    I will disagree highly with the notion that somehow a group is oppressed in this country - particularly in these days. Many years ago I wouldn't dare say that, but today? To tell me that women don't get a fair shake because they are women is bullshit. To tell me that being black is a hinderance to you is bullshit. (Although I will allow that being a cunty bitch or a ghetto thug nigger will probably shut doors to you, but that has everything to do with you as an individual and not you as a group of anything.)

    Take care of retards and cripples and old folks. Take care of orphans. Give a man a hand when he's down on his luck. But if a man ain't willing to pull his own weight in society, fuck him. There are lot's of shitty hard luck tales to listen to, but not 50 million. There is much much much more to it than just a number on one side or another of a line in the dirt.

    Wanna talk about real problems, talk about the disappearing middle class.

    This'll probably make you madder than it will make you thoughtful but it's something else to think about.

    Until later...

  2. Yikes!

    I suppose its the children's fault too...

    "cunty bitch" - I bet you're a big hit with the ladies


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