Wednesday, 19 December 2012


       I often go on about the poverty being inflicted on the people of Greece by the financial Mafia, and believe me it is extreme. However when people think of poverty they never look in the direction of that pinnacle of capitalism, that land of freedom and opportunity, the good ol' US of A. It is to the wonder of propaganda that the myth, that America is a land of plenty was created and still persists. The illusion that is pumped out to the world that we should all follow the American corporate example and we will live well in a prosperous country. The truth of course is that millions in America live in extreme poverty and recent figures are quite startling. In America in 1996, approximately 600,000 children were living in what is classed as extreme poverty, $2 or less a day. That figure has shot up to approximately 1,400,000 in 2011. That is the advance that capitalism has made in that land of opportunity.
      The following is short extract from a rather long, but well worth reading article from Mother Jones:
This story was produced with support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.
      Two years ago, Harvard professor Kathryn Edin was in Baltimore interviewing public housing residents about how they got by. As a sociologist who had spent a quarter century studying poverty, she was no stranger to the trappings of life on the edge: families doubling or tripling up in apartments, relying on handouts from friends and relatives, selling blood plasma for cash. But as her fieldwork progressed, Edin began to notice a disturbing pattern. "Nobody was working and nobody was getting welfare," she says. Her research subjects were always pretty strapped, but "this was different. These people had nothing coming in."
     Edin shared her observations with H. Luke Shaefer, a colleague from the University of Michigan. While the income numbers weren't literally nothing, they were pretty darn close. Families were subsisting on just a few thousand bucks a year. "We pretty much assumed that incomes this low are really, really rare," Shaefer told me. "It hadn't occurred to us to even look."
      Curious, they began pulling together detailed household Census data for the past 15 years. There was reason for pessimism. Welfare reform had placed strict time limits on general assistance and America's ongoing economic woes were demonstrating just how far the jobless could fall in the absence of a strong safety net. The researchers were already aware of a rise in "deep poverty," a term used to describe households living at less than half of the federal poverty threshold, or $11,000 a year for a family of four. Since 2000, the number of people in that category has grown to more than 20 million—a whopping 60 percent increase. And the rate has grown from 4.5 percent of the population to 6.6 percent in 2011, the highest in recent memory save 2010, which was just a tad worse (6.7 percent).
But Edin and Shaefer wanted to see just how deep that poverty went. In doing so, they relied on a World Bank marker used to study the poor in developing nations: This designation, which they dubbed "extreme" poverty, makes deep poverty look like a cakewalk. It means scraping by on less than $2 per person per day, or $2,920 per year for a family of four.
     In a report (PDF) published earlier this year by the University of Michigan's National Poverty Center, Edin and Shaefer estimated that nearly 1 in 5 low-income American households were living in extreme povery; since 1996, the number of households in that category had increased by about 130 percent (118 percent if you use the latest numbers available). Among the truly destitute were 2.8 million children. Even if you counted food stamps as cash, half of those kids were still being raised in homes whose weekly take wasn't enough to cover a trip to Applebee's.
Read the full article HERE:

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