It's no secret that I hate Republicans and the Fox News channel. The book I wrote on this subject is almost 800 pages long, but it could have easily been the length of the Encyclopedia Britannica - - - I had to do some serious editing. I blame everything on the Republicans, the same way the Republicans blame everything on President Obama. If an asteroid were to strike Earth tomorrow, I could always find some way to blame the Republicans. But when it comes to the current poverty rate in America, I really do believe that the Republicans must take all the blame.
Because after all, it's also no secret that since the very dawn of mankind, since the beginning of time itself, the Republicans have never supported the interests of working Americans or the poor in this country. They have always represented the interests of the wealthy and the largest of corporations...never the labor movement or small businesses. With the exception of Abraham Lincoln, we might still have slavery in America today.
So it comes as no surprise that another 2.6 million people slipped into poverty in the United States last year, but not because of Obama (as I'll explain later).
And if the Bureau of Labor Statistics isn't even counting all the unemployed, how can we be so sure the Census Bureau is counting all the poor? They say that currently 46.2 million Americans now live in poverty. I am one.
All my working life, since I was 17 until I was 53 (until I was laid off from my job in 2008 and collected unemployment benefits until June of 2010) I've been on my own and supported myself. But now, the recession has continued pushing 25-to-34-year-olds to move in with family and friends to save money. (I wonder if any of them called me lazy for being unemployed and looking for a hand-out?) How many of these young people are Republican voters? How many belong to the Tea Party?
An analysis by the Brookings Institution estimated that at the current rate, the recession will have added nearly 10 million people to the ranks of the poor by the middle of 2015 (within the next 4 years). Joblessness was the main culprit pushing more Americans into poverty, economists said.
DAH!!!! Last year we had 10 million Americans collecting some form of unemployment benefits, and by the end of this year they will all expire. And very few NET jobs have been created, mostly in the private sector because of layoffs in the public sector. I'm only a high school drop-out, but even I could have told them that! If unemployment just stays the same (as it has for the last 2 years), that 10 million number will be much higher because of natural population growth (minus those who retired early on Social Security), and because of the reduction in military troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (minus those who can take military pensions).
46.2 million Americans are now reported to be living in poverty, the highest number in the 52 years the bureau has kept track; and real median household income fell last year to levels not seen since 1997 (meanwhile the stingy, cheap, and greedy CEOs are getting paid record high salaries and stock options, and paying very little in capital gains taxes).
Those who do not have college degrees were particularly hard hit. The median, full-time male worker has made no progress on average. It used to be they could go work in a union factory, earn a "living wage", pay the mortgage and car payment, and their wives stayed home with the children. It was their one and only job - they worked there all their lives. Now all those jobs have either went overseas, or the unions were busted to pay low wages, as Boeing is trying to do right now in South Carolina.
Also, while Tea Party congress-people and state governors enjoy gold-plated insurance polices paid for by the taxpayers, nearly 50 million Americans lacked any health insurance in 2010, an increase of 900,000 from the previous year. (Even poor unemployed people pay federal income taxes from their unemployment checks).
Federal extended unemployment benefits kept 3.2 million people out of poverty last year (but they most likely have exhausted those benefits since the census survey was taken); and early Social Security retirement with reduced benefits barely kept another 14 million seniors above the poverty level.
Surprisingly, the bureau’s findings were much worse than many economists had expected. But had they actually spoken to any long-term unemployed 99er, they might have had a clearer aspect of the situation.
15.1 percent of those who live in the richest nation on earth, lives in poverty - the highest level since 1993. (The poverty line in 2010 for a family of four was those with a TOTAL household income of only $22,314 - or $11,334 for a single person. Could you live on eleven grand a year?)
This is not likely to be any better soon, economists said. Stimulus money has largely ended, and state and local governments have made deep cuts to staff and to budgets for social programs, both likely to move economically fragile families even closer to poverty...or completely over the edge.
The average household income (real median household income) last year was $49,445 (as in a combined household income - i.e. a husband and wife or two room-mates each earning an average of $24,722) declined 2.3% the Census Bureau reported. (As wages for workers continue to decline, corporate CEOs continue to rise. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. The class-war waged by the rich still continues after 40 long years. And they have been winning most of the battles, and are winning the war. Just ask people like the Koch brothers).
But even the period of economic growth that came before the recession did little for the middle and bottom wage earners. Arloc Sherman, a senior researcher at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said that the period from 2001 to 2007 (the Bush years) was the first recovery on record where the level of poverty was deeper, and median income of working-age people was lower at the end, rather than at the beginning. "The suburban poverty rate, at 11.8 percent, appears to be the highest since 1967."
Rises in the cost of housing, medical care and energy are not taken into account either. The real "cost-of-living" is higher than the government says it is. That's why those on fixed incomes such as Social Security don't get COLAs, while CEOs and members of congress always have (unless they vote NOT to receive one. But seniors on Social Security don't have a vote).
The Congressional Budget Office's analysis demonstrated that unemployment insurance mainly supported people who were middle class families before the recession and mass layoffs. So could someone please tell Fox News: "These were regular hard-working Americans who were laid off through no fault of their own, not because they were lazy free-loaders who were trying to game the system."
The Republicans caused record poverty. Republican policies: The Bush tax cuts, the unjustified war in Iraq, the de-regulation of the banks, and the mass corporate outsourcing (free trade agreements with emerging markets) has caused record poverty in the U.S. - and the Republicans want more of the same. But yet they call Obama the Food Stamp King, and blame Obama for not fixing George W. Bush's depression, saying "When does it become Obama's economy?"
After Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover (R) in November 1932 in the depth of the Great Depression, FDR had also inherited Hoover's economy. It took almost a decade and World War II to pull America out of mass poverty. Afterward, Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) had inherited a growing economy - when the tax rate on the uber-rich was 90%.
And back then during FDR's time, we only had 12 million people who were unemployed. Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 14 million Americans are without a job, but there are probably many more. Some say as many as 21 million people are out of work in 2011, and most will have exhausted their unemployment benefits and will have no income at all by the end of the year.
If the Census Bureau is still counting, they may want to recount again very soon - in January 2012 when the FUNDING for federal extended unemployment benefits are set to expire again - - - unless the Tea Party members in the House of Representatives don't act like cock-blockers (obstructionists) and passes Obama's new American Jobs Act.
In Obama's jobs bill, poor people living in poverty (those who receive UI checks) get to work for free for 2 months for profitable corporations. These businesses will also get tax breaks for "hiring" the poor to work for free...big business loves free labor (research sweat shops and cotton farmers in American history). These big corporations, who dodge taxes and already under-pay their current employees, will also have their Social Security contributions cut in half.
Large corporations might not need to fear another union strike either. If the long-term unemployed are "hired" to work for free, big businesses could just hire a whole bunch of these free laborers as "scabs" and "union busters" to cross picket lines.
Since the very beginning of the Great Recession and mass layoffs, haven't companies laid off higher-earning employees, and then incrementally hired back a few at reduced wages (at bargain basement prices - poverty wages)? In the American Jobs Act, if you gave employers a $4,000 tax credit, reduced their Social Security contributions, and allowed them 2 months of free labor, wouldn't that just induce these businesses to do more of the same - - - hire more employees below a "living wage", thereby keeping them in poverty?
Either way, rich people (CEOs of corporations) always win. People in poverty will always have to suck the big one...whether a Democrat is currently the President, or if a Republican President caused their poverty. Just like any other failing corporation, the banks (who caused this mess) will get bailed out, and the CEOs will walk away with multi-million-dollar severance packages for doing such a great job of devastating so many other people's lives...for being the patriotic community leaders they want us to believe they are, when they are not.
The Republicans suggest that 14 million jobless Americans (living in poverty) should just start their own businesses rather that live off the government tit. How many people now have the capital, or credit, to do that? Already established businesses can't get a bank loan in this economy.
The Republicans say the 14 million jobless Americans (living in poverty) should get low-paying jobs (to continue to live in poverty) while another 14 million "under-employed" Americans already have those part-time low-paying poverty jobs.
The Republicans think that 14 million jobless Americans (living in poverty, and who half are Republican voters) should not even receive unemployment benefits, food stamps, or Medicaid to care for their children.
And the scary part is, in some of recent special elections, Republicans have been winning! The voters have been buying the Republican and Fox News' slant on the economy, who have been blaming the Democrats for not being able to produce economical miracles when it was the Republicans, corporate CEOS, and bankers who have done everything they could to sabotage Obama's presidency (Why, because he's only half white, was born in Hawaii, had a Kenyan father, and was anti-Apartheid in college when he once had a couple Marxists friends?)
So to all of those who want "more of the same", be careful what you wish for...such as the Republicans coddling the rich and punishing the poor. Beware: You too could be in this growing group of impoverished Americans next year.
And if the Republicans have their way, not only will you be without a job, but you won't have unemployment benefits, food stamps, or Medicaid either. You'll have nothing to see you through your hard times. If the Republicans have their own way, (as Alan Grayson said) you and your entire family will have to get sick or starve, and then die fast.