Tuesday, December 27, 2011

America is Filthy Rich. Yet, Half of all Americans Live in Poverty?

According to the Census, one in two Americans are poor or low income.

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."
Yet, we're the richest country in the world! What gives?

Well, I thought what waytoomanybottlesofspicedrum had to say in response to the article: How Can the World's Richest Country Let Children Go Hungry? 6 Tricks Corporate Elites Use to Hoard All the Wealth was very interesting.
The world's richest country is, because of its wealth, evil. Wealth is an aberration in long view of the history of human living arrangements. Stratification (institutionalized hierarchy) only emerged in the Neolithic; for millions of years prior, humans and their taxonomic ancestors lived in much more egalitarian, equal, and communal groups (communal, not collectivist; this is an important distinction that helps smooth out the false antithesis between communal and individual, which are not at odds, like individual and collectivist are). The power an individual might hold in an early community was held on an ad hoc basis and based on some exceptional skill, like as a hunter. (By the way, hunting is far more humane than factory farming.)

Even after the emergence of stratified societies, most peasant hamlets maintained their generally communal and egalitarian ways, since they were geographically isolated from the centers of power and wealth, and thus people had to lean on each other directly to survive, due to the nonexistence of much communications and transportation technology.

Now we live in a giant globalized society that is impersonal, where human relationships are mediated by formal procedures and artificial top-down "norms" established by the media, where increasingly meaningless money is the measure of a human being, where the natural world is being depleted and trashed by a way of life that cannot endure very long, where competition is held up as a moral imperative, where viciousness is honored with admiration, where everything is assumed to have a monetary value so that its use and exchange can be "rationalized" according to the presumptions of discredited economic theories.

Too many Americans have abused nature to accumulate wealth, have divorced themselves from the natural world, have discombobulated communities and human relations, have sunk into lonesome isolation, have unregenerately turned toward aggressively defending this depraved system rather than face the fact that they've become corrupted and monstrous, have supported empire and exploitation and violence, and have created an evil society.

Our basic needs and longings - for community, for a decent amount of egalitarian fair treatment, for affinity with our environment, for seeing and enjoying the fruits of our labors - were shaped by our long past of living close to nature in communal groups, where the survival of the individual depended on the survival of the group, thus necessitating strong norms and an egalitarian culture to prevent infighting. We have strayed a long, long way from that. Hence why so many people have become rotten, un-empathetic, sociopathic degenerates who can't tell up from down, right from wrong, kindness from indifference, decency from cruelty, or their ass from a hole in the ground.


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