The Associated Press reports that census figures for 2011 reveal that American poverty is spreading at record levels. The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010 to 15.7 percent.
Meanwhile, in Washington, both major political parties have agreed to cut programs designed to keep more people from falling into poverty. Millions could fall through the cracks as government aid from unemployment insurance, Medicaid, welfare and food stamps diminishes. Right-wing media decries the increase in poverty while opposing anti-poverty measures such as the minimum wage and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
We’re about to fall victim to the Big Lie, as both parties push austerity plans for the middle class (not the rich) such as Simpson-Bowles and the Ryan budget proposal.
Cutting or eliminating government programs that benefit the less advantaged has long been an ideological goal of conservatives. Doing so also generates a tidy windfall for the corporate class, as government services are privatized and savings from austerity pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens.
U.S. financial interests that stand to gain from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cutbacks “have been the core of the big con,” the “propaganda,” that those programs are in crisis and must be slashed, said James Galbraith, an economist at the University of Texas.
Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.