Monday, February 20, 2006

37 Million American Poor

From the Observer (UK) comes a story about which America remains shamefully IN THE DARK.

These are people I have written about elsewhere, people I have worked with, people who are proud of their lives and of their heritage, people who are indescribably poor.

Under President George W Bush an extra 5.4 million have slipped below the poverty line. Yet they are not a story of the unemployed or the destitute. Most have jobs. Many have two. Amos Lumpkins has work and his children go to school. But the economy, stripped of worker benefits like healthcare, is having trouble providing good wages.

Even families with two working parents are often one slice of bad luck - a medical bill or factory closure - away from disaster. The minimum wage of $5.15 (£2.95) an hour has not risen since 1997 and, adjusted for inflation, is at its lowest since 1956. The gap between the haves and the have-nots looms wider than ever. Faced with rising poverty rates, Bush's trillion-dollar federal budget recently raised massive amounts of defence spending for the war in Iraq and slashed billions from welfare programmes.

We heard about the growth of American poverty a year and a half ago during the Presidential campaign, but we largely ignored it. Nearly six months ago, Katrina shed some light on America's poor. The recent mining disasters in West Virginia and elsewhere brought them temporarily into the spotlight.

It's ironic that this story comes from a British news source. It is also not a very encouraging sign. Will we pay attention? Or don't we want to know?

1 comment:

Dylan Jones said...

Gee, I didn't know that. The legacy of Bush Jr & his mob will be indeed disastrous as was to be expected.
I find your blog very interesting and an eye-opener, thanx. Keep the good work!
Dylan Jones