Poverty Rate Highest Since 1965 While Both Parties Embrace Austerity

Obama in Hawaii

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.

Michael Moore said it best:

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.

UPDATE: Black Americans Have Suffered an Historic Wipeout of Their Wealth, With Few Signs It’s Coming Back

  1. #1 by cav on July 28, 2012 - 4:40 pm

    “Now, watch this drive”!

    I’ve always found it bitterly amusing that while hyperventilating right wingers conjure up conspiracies to establish a UN-controlled one world government in nefarious plots like the attempt to increase bike ridership, corporations are taking actual, concrete and successful steps to render democratic self-governance—in the broadest sense of the phrase—all but meaningless.

    Right at the time that the Occupy movement and movements around the world are demanding more power and control on the part of the masses (99%), an agreement that ultimately could have the whole world in it as a set of binding corporate guarantees of new rights and privileges, enforced with cash sanctions and trade sanctions, plops its preposterous self smack dab in the middle of the table – much as did G. W. Bush’s proposal to give the shipping port oversight and cash-stream over to Dubai. It is not an exaggeration to say that the TPP threatens to become a regime of binding global governance.

    http://www.ustr.gov/tpp/

    In early 2012, the Obama administration indicated that a requirement for the conclusion of TPP negotiations is the renewal of “fast track” Trade Promotion Authority.[28] If “fast track” is renewed, then the normal treaty ratification and implementation procedure would be bypassed, and the U.S. Congress would instead by required to introduce and vote on an administration-authored bill for implementing the TPP with minimal debate and no amendments, with the entire process taking no more than 90 days.

    “The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of ,America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. [...] More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing. We hear that the process by which TPP is being negotiated has been a model of transparency. I disagree with that statement.”

    Ron Wyden, Senator, Oregon, introduced S. 3225, proposed legislation that would require the USTR to disclose its TPP documents to all members of Congress.

(will not be published)


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