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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Extreme poverty returns to America (actually it never went away)

This article is not surprising at all. The only real surprise is to those who still believe this is the greatest country in the world and a place where everyone has a chance to make something of themselves. When I spar with conservatives on line I find a lot of them refuse to believe that people fall through the cracks and end up destitute or even dead. They don't want to believe that some people who make honest mistakes or choices that just don't work out. They end up homeless or dying from curable diseases or just lead really miserable lives because this capitalist system failed them.
This is the wealthiest nation in the world. There is no disputing that fact. And yet we have some of the worst poverty in the world. This is the only industrialized country in the world that lets people die from a lack of health care. This country
 pays less on welfare programs than any other industrialized nation. Workers have little control over their lives and fewer benefits than any other industrialized nation in the world. Almost the entire world is run by capitalists. But here in the US, we get the worst of it (in the first world). We are the capital now of capitalist's world imperialism. In the last election in the US, the voters literally handed over most of the political and economical power in this country to the richest 1 percent of the population. That 1 percent are now getting a truckload of wealth and power at the expense of the rest of us. And for many at the bottom: 


From The Washington Post:

The U.N. finds growing numbers of Americans are living in the most impoverished circumstances. How did we get here?

By Premilla Nadasen
“Finish all your food,” my mother used to tell me. “There’s a child in Africa who would love to have that food on your plate.” It was an effective disciplinary approach, especially because my family is from Africa. But my experience is not unique. Images of poverty in the “Third World” — then and now — permeate American society, reassuring us about our country’s ostensible democratic promise and potential for upward mobility. What economists call “extreme poverty,” most Americans think, is a distant problem, a hallmark of the less developed world.
But could extreme poverty also be a feature of what is (although perhaps not for long) one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world? Quite possibly. To answer the question, the United Nations launched an investigation of extreme poverty in the United States.
Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, has just wrapped up a 15-day tour of the United States. His team visited AlabamaCaliforniaPuerto RicoWest Virginia and WashingtonD.C. The findings, released last Friday, documented homelessness, unsafe sanitation and sewage disposal practices, as well as police surveillance, criminalization and harassment of the poor. The rise in poverty, they found, disproportionately affects people of color and women, but also large swaths of white Americans. The report concluded that the pervasiveness of poverty and inequality “are shockingly at odds with [the United States’] immense wealth and its founding commitment to human rights.”
To be sure, poverty in the United States is not equivalent to poverty in less developed countries. This has never been a country free of inequality and poverty, but their rapid growth over the past two decades has undermined any professed commitment to equal opportunity or the belief that the nation’s prosperity rests on the well-being of ordinary Americans.

For the rest click here.

The rising rate of homelessness in places like San Diego is one of the signs of growing poverty in the United States. (Gregory Bull/AP)

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