The Beginning Of The End
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Poverty In America: A Special Report

America is getting poorer.  The U.S. government has just released a bunch of new statistics about poverty in America, and once again this year the news is not good.  According to a special report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 46.2 million Americans are now living in poverty.  The number of those living in poverty in America has grown by 2.6 million in just the last 12 months, and that is the largest increase that we have ever seen since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.  Not only that, median household income has also fallen once again.  In case you are keeping track, that makes three years in a row.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States dropped 2.3% in 2010 after accounting for inflation.  Overall, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation since December 2007.  So should we be excited that our incomes are going down and that a record number of Americans slipped into poverty last year?  Should we be thrilled that the economic pie is shrinking and that our debt levels are exploding?  All of those that claimed that the U.S. economy was recovering and that everything was going to be just fine have some explaining to do.

Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty.  Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.  The last time the poverty level was this high was back in 1993.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the government definition of poverty rises based on the rate of inflation.  If inflation was still calculated the way that it was 30 or 40 years ago, the poverty line would be much, much higher and millions more Americans would be considered to be living in poverty.

So why is poverty in America exploding?  Who is getting hurt the most?  How is America being changed by this?  What is the future going to look like if we remain on the current path?

Let's take a closer look at poverty in America....

The Shrinking Number Of Jobs

Unemployment is rampant and the number of good jobs continues to shrink.  Once upon a time in America, if you really wanted a job you could go out and get one.  Today, competition for even the lowest paying jobs has become absolutely brutal.  There simply are not enough chairs at the "economic table", and not being able to get a good job is pushing large numbers of Americans into poverty.....

*There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million people to the population since then.

*Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job.  In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.

*If you gathered together all of the unemployed people in the United States, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.

*According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if you factored in all of the short-term discouraged workers, all of the long-term discouraged workers and all of those working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment, the real unemployment rate right now would be approximately 23 percent.

*If you have been unemployed for at least one year, there is a 91 percent chance that you will not find a new job within the next month.

The Working Poor

The number of low income jobs is rising while the number of high income jobs is falling.  This has created a situation where the number of "the working poor" in America is absolutely skyrocketing.  Millions of Americans are working as hard as they can and yet they still cannot afford to lead a middle class lifestyle.

*Since the year 2000, we have lost approximately 10% of our middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.

*Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

*Between 1969 and 2009, the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

*According to a report released in February from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries are accounting for 40 percent of the job losses in America but only 14 percent of the job growth.  Lower wage industries are accounting for just 23 percent of the job losses but 49 percent of the job growth.

*Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

*Last year, 19.7% of all U.S. working adults had jobs that would not have been enough to push a family of four over the poverty line even if they had worked full-time hours for the entire year.

*The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.

Unprecedented Dependence On The Government

Because they cannot get good jobs that will enable them to support themselves and their families, millions of Americans that used to be hard working contributors to society are now dependent on government handouts.  Nearly every single measure of government dependence is at a record high, and there are no signs that things are going to turn around any time soon.

*One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program.

*Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment benefits.  That number is almost four times larger than it was back in 2007.

*More than 45 million Americans are now on food stamps.  The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007.

*Approximately one-third of the entire population of Alabama is now on food stamps.

*More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid.

*Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

*In 1980, just 11.7% of all personal income came from government transfer payments.  Today, 18.4% of all personal income comes from government transfer payments.

The Suffocating Cost Of Health Care

Millions of American families are being financially crippled by health care costs.  The U.S. health care system is deeply, deeply broken and Obamacare is going to make things even worse.  Health care is one of the top reasons why American families get pushed into poverty.  Most of us are just one major illness or disease from becoming financially wrecked.  Just ask anyone that has gone through it.  The health insurance companies do not care about you and they will try to wiggle out of their obligations at the time when you need them the most.  If you talk to people that have been through bankruptcy, most of them will tell you that medical bills were at least partially responsible.

*In America today, there are 49.9 million Americans that do not have any health insurance.  One single medical bill could easily wipe out the finances of most of those people.

*Only 56 percent of Americans are currently covered by employer-provided health insurance.

*According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.  Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.

*According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980.  Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

More Children Living In Poverty

The United States has a child poverty rate that is more than twice as high as many European nations.  We like to think that we have "the greatest economy on earth", but the reality is that we have one of the highest child poverty rates and it increased once again last year.

*The poverty rate for children living in the United States increased to 22% in 2010.  That means that tonight more than one out of every five U.S. children is living in poverty.

*The poverty rate for U.S. adults is only 13.7%.

*Households that are led by a single mother have a 31.6% poverty rate.

*Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

*It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

*There are 314 counties in the United States where at least 30% of the children are facing food insecurity.

*More than 20 million U.S. children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry.

*It is estimated that up to half a million children may currently be homeless in the United States.

The Plight Of The Elderly

The elderly are also falling into poverty in staggering numbers.  They may not be out protesting in the streets, but that does not mean that they are not deeply, deeply suffering.

*One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.

*Between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.

*The Baby Boomers have only just begun to retire, and already our social programs for seniors are starting to fall apart.  In 1950, each retiree's Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 U.S. workers.  According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now only 1.75 full-time private sector workers for each person that is receiving Social Security benefits in the United States.

Squeezed By Inflation

Rising inflation is squeezing the budgets of average American families like never before.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke claims that inflation is still low, but either he is delusional or he has not been to a supermarket lately.

Personally, I do a lot of grocery shopping at a number of different stores, and without a doubt prices are absolutely soaring.  Many of the new "sale prices" are exactly what the old "regular prices" were just a few weeks ago.

Some companies have tried to hide these price increases by shrinking package sizes.  But there is no hiding the pain on the old wallet once you fill up your cart with what you need to feed your family.

*Over the past year, the global price of food has risen by 37 percent and this has pushed approximately 44 million more people around the world into poverty.

*U.S. consumers will spend approximately $491 billion on gas this year.  That is going to be a brand new all-time record.

*Right now, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is $3.649.  That is 94 cents higher than 12 months earlier and it is a brand new record for this time of the year.

A Smaller Share Of The Pie

The size of the "economic pie" in America is shrinking, and the share of the pie for those that are poor is shrinking a lot faster than the share of the pie for those that are wealthy.

*According to the Washington Post, the average yearly income of the bottom 90 percent of all U.S. income earners is now just $31,244.

*When you look at the ratio of employee compensation to GDP, it is now the lowest that is has been in about 50 years.

*At this point, the poorest 50% of all Americans now control just 2.5% of all of the wealth in this country.

*Big corporations are even recognizing the change that is happening to America. Just consider the following example from a recent article in the Huffington Post....

Manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, the household-goods giant responsible for everything from Charmin and Old Spice to Tide, are concentrating their efforts on luxury and bargain items, putting less emphasis on products aimed at the middle class, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Conclusion

America is fundamentally changing.  We were a nation that had the largest middle class in the history of the globe, but now we are becoming a nation that is deeply divided between the haves and the have nots.

Perhaps you are still doing fine.  But don't think that economic disaster cannot strike you.  Every single day, thousands more Americans will lose their jobs or will discover a major health problem.  Every single day, thousands more Americans will lose their homes or will be forced to take a pay cut.

If you still have a warm, comfortable home to sleep in, you should be thankful.  Poverty is a very sneaky enemy and it can strike at any time.  If you are not careful, you might be the next American to end up sleeping in your car or living in a tent city.

It is easy to disregard a couple of statistics, but can you really ignore the vast amount of evidence presented above?

It is undeniable that America is getting poorer.  Poverty is spreading and hopelessness and despair are rising.  There is a reason why the economy is the number one political issue right now.  Millions upon millions of Americans are in deep pain and they want some solutions.

Unfortunately, it appears quite unlikely that either major political party is going to offer any real solutions any time soon.  So things are going to keep getting worse and worse and worse.

Should we just keep doing the same things that we have been doing over and over and over and yet keep expecting different results?

What we are doing right now is not working.  We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline.  Both major political parties have been fundamentally wrong about the economy.  It is time to admit that.

If we continue on this path, poverty in America is going to continue to get a lot worse.  Millions of families will be torn apart and millions of lives will be destroyed.

America please wake up.

Time is running out.

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  • mercedes

    i think that the government should try alot harder to help the people in need instead of throughing them to the left and saying forget them and take the money they dont need it.
    it is not right to me the government shouldnt be so stubern with giving back.
    and this is coming from a 17 year old…….
    GET IT TOGETHER PEOPLE I DONT LIKE TO SEE OUR WORLD OR GOVERNMENT IN THIS TYPE OF SHAPE ITS JUST SAD THEY NEED TO GET IT TOGETHER THE WORLD IS DIEING OUR FAMILY AND PEOPLE ARE DIEING…………………
    TIME TO LOVE AND GIVE NOT TIME TO HURT EACH OTHER AND KILL PEOPLE HAVE BABIES TO FEED AND THEY TRY TO FEED THEM BUT THEY CANT…………..

    • Jude

      The government doesn’t need to GIVE you anything. That is not their purpose. What they need to do is stop TAKING from us! It isn’t their money that they take. It’s ours! Then they give little bits back to some people to make them beg to the governmant. You become their property then. They can do with you as they wish. They give the bulk of what they have taken to their own family and friends.

  • mike wertelet

    its very obviouse to me that the USA is now an impoverished nation. American denial is largely to blame: Denial about the 911 truth: Denial about the capitalist pig agenda: Denial that things are as bad as they are. Well soon many will be living in tent citys perhaps then people will wake up.
    but i think the masses are just going to keep voting for dems and reps and thus things will just keep getting worse and worse…americans are insane they vote the same two partys and are actually still expecting a different result- that is by definition -insanity!
    so other than voting socialist party in november one would have to be planning your exodose to canada or europe or perhaps australia or like living in a tent city i guess and continue voting for dems and reps

  • Emily Eveleth

    This article frightens me, outside my home, I don’t see the reality of the world, one reason why thousands of people are becoming poor is because Obama’s tax prices have skyrocketed to the max, according to Obama, there is no such thing as a maximum tax, I am worrying about my future right now and everybody else’s, if I don’t get a job after college, I am screwed, I could or somebody else could lose their house any day day, what happened to America? Our country used to be wealthy? I pity the misfortune for the people who lost their homes, Obama has done nothing but millions of people and I hopeless

  • Emily Eveleth

    there was a time back then, when most college majors guaranteed hope, success, and a JOB, now jobs are so limited, so choosing the right college major is really important, hopefully not every job is gone in 10 years, hopefully ONE job will be left, otherwise cry me a river, and I will die of poverty, thanks for a hope or success of our country Obama?????

  • Walter Romania

    The U.S. began to dominate the world economy in the aftermath of World War II as Japan and most of Europe was devastated. This created the largest middle class in the history of the world during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Yet even during those decades poverty and prejudice were biting issues. Starting in the early 1980s, unions began to be dismantled,which led to a split in the middle class—some did much better and entered the upper middle classes, while others began to sink into the lower middle class and the working poor. Meanwhile, the minimum wage began to decrease when adjusted for inflation. While many of the rich in the 80s did even better and have never looked back. In the 1990s Bill Clinton signed NAFTA and GATT—which greatly increased the exodus of manufacturing to Asia and to the rest of the third world. What saved–what was left of the middle class in the late 90s and the early part of the next decade–was the computer revolution. Once computers plateaued in the second half of the decade, the admixture of jobs going overseas, the housing bubble, rising energy costs, a for-profit health care system (with costs going through the roof), rampant low-skill immigration, and the lack of an effective organized opposition to these policies—the America we have now was created. Welcome to the third world!

  • Jodie

    What has happened is technology and jobs going over seas has left us without. With technology we can have less workers with a machine doing the work of 10 people and one man to run that machine. We also have people having children they can’t afford to support to begin with. I feel for the ones who lost their jobs but I also know a lot of people where I live who continue having children without a job and no means to support those children except by the government and the government has allowed this to happen. I was a single mom who NEVER went to the government for money. I made a mistake and did not make anyone pay for it. I was never on housing, foodstamps, medicaide or assistance for daycare. I made poverty wages but I still did it on my own. My son is now 24 yrs. old and he remembers what great birthdays and Christmases he had. I remained having good credit and bought my own home when he was 10yrs old. I understand the poor and those who are hit with circumstances beyond their control but what I’m saying is there are a lot of those who by their own accord has been the cause of this crisis. Even God helps those who help themselves but to sit back and make mistake after mistake and not expect the cards around to fall is just insanity and selfishness

  • http://povertyrocks.blogspot.com Anne

    To read more about what it’s really like to be poor in America visit my blog. This could be you very very soon.
    povertyrocks.blogspot.com

  • Pingback: 70 FACTS OF DOOM « The Burning Platform

  • http://voices.yahoo.com/why-there-so-many-poor-people-7872196.html?cat=7 mrdprince

    One day soon the poor will take this no longer and they will rise up as a new breed of animal.

  • chauncey tanner

    This is a wake up call to those in Washington who have sat back and over spent all the reserves of SS and whatever black that was on the books the last 30 years. We are a broken Nation and the price of life here in the USA is higher than what the common man or woman makes everyday at work now. God Bless America we will need his blessing if we are going to survive as a powerful nation. Washington is heading us towards a major train wreck if something isn’t done soon.

  • agure

    it has become better to not even do a meager job to put food on the table. College graduate, working as hard as can be because the better paying jobs are not there so one settles for less but cant get any assistance especially a healthcare system with skyrocketing insurance premiums that leaves one to chose between food or paying for insurance or shelter.Every job needs an experience 4-5 years where does one get this without an opportunity to do so?
    The system is such that one has to make good money to get better healthcare or have no job at at all to get some healthcare. What happens to the hard working “poor” no one cares

  • http://twitter.com/jenjen8st Jennifer Arzola

    plz help me and us in the city of camden new jersey it is so corrupted we need a new board we need a new major and system we are burying our people and kids everyday and locking up our woman and men are going in circles they places our kids on probation leading them to harser drugs we have one library and a liquor store on every corner our camden high school is full of cancerous chemicals and our kids are secluded in certain areas in our school the board member are all ignorant need to be fired the major dont come out and speak to the people the police only come to pick up the bodies of our people when they are dead the judges are giving our men years in jail for drugs they are seizing properties and keeping everybody in low income houses and welfare they are passsing our kids without understanding or failing them our kids deserve a chance we have been fail in trauma metal instituse jail and death may funeral is making all the money in our city and everyday they bring the bodies in and out the building in front of our kids school in 4th and walnut they made enough money and wont move disrepecting our kids famiies and city most of us have bogus jackets and rap sheets as criminals leading us to the cracks of the streets we are not slave the people of the city of camden demand freedom peace and justice my life is not a game i am not a slave help me hear my voice heaar my story my city is in a state of emergency we are not invisible we are people though i walk through the city in camden new jersey i see more evil mr obama plz helpme and my people

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