Clyde Wilson 1995 Published in: Social Trends Newsletter, Mar. 1995, No. 133
A survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of Americans living in poverty increased by 1.2 million last year, to a total of 36.9 million. This is the largest number of persons living at or below the poverty level since 1964. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 14.5 percent of the population live in poverty. For 1992, an individual living alone was considered to be living in poverty on an income of $7,143 or less, and a family of four with an income of $14,335 or less.
Poverty has been a scourge in this land of plenty for many decades, yet America (even during the not so Great Depression) continues to produce more than enough goods and services to provide a decent and high standard of living for every child, woman and man in America. To allow 37 million Americans, millions of Americans now on the edge of poverty, and millions of American children to go hungry when there is a glut of everything around us is, in itself, an indictment of the government and the present economic system and the worst crime of all.
How long can these disadvantaged Americans tolerate this inhuman treatment before conditions force them to revolt against their plight? How long can this problem be contained before there is an explosion of uncontrollable magnitude? It is something that deserves serious consideration now, not when there is a crisis or after it happens. And what about the human rights of these millions of Americans living in poverty and the hypocritical policies of a government that claims to be the champion of human rights worldwide?
As the Rich Get Richer, the Poor Get Poorer
Instead of any improvement in their lot, the poor have gotten poorer. In 1992, families in the bottom 5th of the population saw their incomes drop back to the record low reached in 1983. While incomes of the richest 5th of the population rose in 1992 but remained just a bit below the high mark of 1989. The income gap or disparity between the poorest and richest 5th of the population has grown enormously over the past decade; as the rich got richer, the poor got poorer.
It must be obvious that the rich don’t get rich by letting any of their income and wealth trickle down but by making sure that everything gushes upward to increase their net worth portfolio. (It was during the roaring ’80s when the chiselers threw the suckers a Laffer curve, and laughed all the way to the bank.)
When it comes to economic equality, democracy (if it is not an imponderable) has been a convenient pretext for the perpetuation of “free enterprise.” It is used in a way to justify a plutocracy in which the rich and wealthy control and run the country for their own benefit.
As pawns in the process, and for their just rewards, the American people get to vote every two, four and six years for politicians who are forced by the system (controlled by Big Business) to sell out to the highest bidder to get elected or reelected. At no time are the American people allowed to vote (through a referendum or otherwise) for the production and distribution of the nation’s real wealth to meet the essential requirements of the country and the needs of every American. After 200 years, isn’t it about time to usher in a new social order where every American becomes a first-class citizen?