“Liberal governing has transformed beautiful California into the poverty capital of America with the worst quality of life. Crazy taxes, crazy high cost of living, and crazy overreaching regulations have crushed the middle class, forcing the middle class to exit the Sunshine State. All that is left in California are illegals feeding at the breast of the state, rapidly growing massive homeless tent cities, and the mega-rich.” LLOYD MARCUS
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The Death of the American Middle Class Under Barack Obama
The Great Recession should have put
the victim-blaming theory of poverty to rest. In the space of only a few
months, millions of people entered the ranks of the officially poor—not only
laid-off blue-collar workers, but also downsized tech workers, managers,
lawyers, and other once-comfortable professionals. No one could accuse these
“nouveau poor” Americans of having made bad choices or bad lifestyle decisions.
They were educated, hardworking, and ambitious, and now they were also
poor—applying for food stamps, showing up in shelters, lining up for
entry-level jobs in retail. This would have been the moment for the pundits to
finally admit the truth: Poverty is not a character failing or a lack of
motivation. Poverty is a shortage of money.
It Is Expensive to Be Poor
Binita Pradham is a
single mother who runs a food business and raises her 4-year-old son. (Barbara
Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson made a move that
was unprecedented at the time and remains unmatched by succeeding
administrations. He announced a War on Poverty, saying that its “chief weapons”
would be “better schools, and better health, and better homes, and better
training, and better job opportunities.”
So starting in 1964 and for almost a decade, the federal
government poured at least some of its resources in the direction they should
have been going all along: toward those who were most in need. Longstanding programs
like Head Start, Legal Services, and the Job Corps were created. Medicaid was
established. Poverty among seniors was significantly reduced by improvements in
Johnson seemed to have established the principle that it is
the responsibility of government to intervene on behalf of the disadvantaged
and deprived. But there was never enough money for the fight against poverty,
and Johnson found himself increasingly distracted by another and deadlier
war—the one in Vietnam. Although underfunded, the War on Poverty still managed
to provoke an intense backlash from conservative intellectuals and politicians.
The original welfare reform bill—a bill, it should be
recalled, which was signed by President Bill Clinton—included an allocation of
$100 million for "chastity training" for low-income women.
In their view, government programs could do nothing to help
the poor because poverty arises from the twisted psychology of the poor
themselves. By the Reagan era, it had become a cornerstone of conservative
ideology that poverty is caused not by low wages or a lack of jobs and
education, but by the bad attitudes and faulty lifestyles of the poor.
Picking up on this theory, pundits and politicians have
bemoaned the character failings and bad habits of the poor for at least the
past 50 years. In their view, the poor are shiftless, irresponsible, and prone
to addiction. They have too many children and fail to get married. So if they
suffer from grievous material deprivation, if they run out of money between
paychecks, if they do not always have food on their tables—then they have no
one to blame but themselves.
In the 1990s, with a bipartisan attack on welfare, this kind
of prejudice against the poor took a drastically misogynistic turn. Poor single
mothers were identified as a key link in what was called “the cycle of
poverty.” By staying at home and collecting welfare, they set a toxic example
for their children, who—important policymakers came to believe—would be better
off being cared for by paid child care workers or even, as Newt Gingrich
proposed, in orphanages.
Welfare “reform” was the answer, and it was intended not only
to end financial support for imperiled families, but also to cure the
self-induced “culture of poverty” that was supposedly at the root of their
misery. The original welfare reform bill—a bill, it should be recalled, which
was signed by President Bill Clinton—included an allocation of $100 million for
“chastity training” for low-income women.
A series from The
Atlantic and The Shriver ReportRead More
The Great Recession should have put the victim-blaming theory of
poverty to rest. In the space of only a few months, millions of people entered
the ranks of the officially poor—not only laid-off blue-collar workers, but also
downsized tech workers, managers, lawyers, and other once-comfortable
professionals. No one could accuse these “nouveau poor” Americans of having
made bad choices or bad lifestyle decisions. They were educated, hardworking,
and ambitious, and now they were also poor—applying for food stamps, showing up
in shelters, lining up for entry-level jobs in retail. This would have been the
moment for the pundits to finally admit the truth: Poverty is not a character
failing or a lack of motivation. Poverty is a shortage of money.
For most women in poverty, in both good times and bad, the
shortage of money arises largely from inadequate wages. When I worked on my
book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, I took jobs as a
waitress, nursing-home aide, hotel housekeeper, Wal-Mart associate, and a maid
with a house-cleaning service. I did not choose these jobs because they were
low-paying. I chose them because these are the entry-level jobs most readily
available to women.
What I discovered is that in many ways, these jobs are a
trap: They pay so little that you cannot accumulate even a couple of hundred
dollars to help you make the transition to a better-paying job. They often give
you no control over your work schedule, making it impossible to arrange for
child care or take a second job. And in many of these jobs, even young women
soon begin to experience the physical deterioration—especially knee and back
problems—that can bring a painful end to their work life.
I was also dismayed to find that in some ways, it is actually
more expensive to be poor than not poor. If you can’t afford the first month’s
rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get
stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a
refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience
store food, which—in addition to its nutritional deficits—is also alarmingly
overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end
up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower
would be charged. To be poor—especially with children to support and care
for—is a perpetual high-wire act.
The criminalization of poverty has accelerated since the
Most private-sector employers offer no sick days, and many
will fire a person who misses a day of work, even to stay home with a sick
child. A nonfunctioning car can also mean lost pay and sudden expenses. A
broken headlight invites a ticket, plus a fine greater than the cost of a new
headlight, and possible court costs. If a creditor decides to get nasty, a
court summons may be issued, often leading to an arrest warrant. No amount of
training in financial literacy can prepare someone for such exigencies—or make
up for an income that is impossibly low to start with. Instead of treating
low-wage mothers as the struggling heroines they are, our political culture
still tends to view them as miscreants and contributors to the “cycle of
If anything, the criminalization of poverty has accelerated
since the recession, with growing numbers of states drug testing applicants for
temporary assistance, imposing steep fines for school truancy, and imprisoning
people for debt. Such measures constitute a cruel inversion of the Johnson-era
principle that it is the responsibility of government to extend a helping hand
to the poor. Sadly, this has become the means by which the wealthiest country
in the world manages to remain complacent in the face of alarmingly high levels
of poverty: by continuing to blame poverty not on the economy or inadequate
social supports, but on the poor themselves.
It’s time to revive the notion of a collective national
responsibility to the poorest among us, who are disproportionately women and
especially women of color. Until that happens, we need to wake up to the fact
that the underpaid women who clean our homes and offices, prepare and serve our
meals, and care for our elderly—earning wages that do not provide enough to
live on—are the true philanthropists of our society.
The study noted that, in the aftermath of the Great
Depression, the US undertook policies “during the New Deal [that] permanently
reduced income concentration until the 1970s.” In contrast, the study noted a
striking absence of any measures to reign in social inequality in the present
crisis. Far from it, the Obama administrations’ bank bailouts, austerity
program and wage-cutting policies have vastly expanded the prevalence of social
POVERTY IN AMERICA
UNDER OBAMA IT IS SOARING POVERTY FOR AMERICANS BUT STILL
SOARING PROFITS FOR HIS BANKSTER DONORS!
WELFARE – THE STAGGERING COST OF MEXICO’S LA RAZA WELFARE STATE IN
AMERICA. THESE ARE!ONLY! WELFARE COST
AND DO NOT INCLUDE THE COST OF THE MEXICAN CRIME TIDAL WAVE, OR THE ULTIMATE COST
OF MEXICO’S ASSAULT ON OUR BORDERS, LAWS AND CULTURE… Push 2 for English!
to the Centers for Immigration Studies, April '11, at least 70% of Mexican
illegal alien families receive some type of welfare in the US!!! cis.org
DEMOCRATS PARTNER WITH REPUBLICANS TO CUT UNEMPLOYMENT
BENEFITS AND WELFARE TO AMERICAS…. even as they hand millions of our jobs to
voting illegals and expand Mexico’s LA RAZA welfare state off our backs!
And it launched its “Obamacare” health care overhaul, which
is already being exposed as a massive attack on health care for tens of
millions of workers and a profit bonanza for the insurance companies. The
program includes $700 billion in Medicare cuts, opening the door to the gutting
of Medicare and Social Security, the two bedrock social programs dating from
the 1960s and 1930s.
OBAMA DONORS JP MORGAN AND THE LOOTING OF AMERICA FROM WALL STREET
CRONY CAPITALISM: OBAMA PROTECTS JP MORGAN, THE BIGGEST BANKSTER
CRIMINALS IN AMERICAN HISTORY, AND ONE OF OBAMA’S BIGGEST BANKSTER DONORS!
Nearly five years after the greatest financial crash since
the Great Depression, triggered by rampant illegality and fraud on the part of
the major banks, not a single major institution or leading bank executive has
been indicted, let alone tried, convicted and jailed.
The Mexican Invasion & Occupation