Monday, November 14, 2011

The wealthy get wealthier and the poor get poorer

We’ve hit a record in this country cultivating an environment where the poor can proliferate.  In the latest report from the U.S. Census, 1 in 15 people have joined the “poorest poor,” which means their income is less than $5,570, $11,157 for a family of four.  Also revealed is the fact that “…more Hispanics, elderly and working-age poor have fallen into poverty.” 

The 2010 population was 308,745,538 with 46.2 million individuals, or 15 percent, in poverty.  We’re supposed to be the greatest nation in the world but with 6.7 percent of its citizens the poorest poor?  Something’s not right.  However, the U.S. looks good compared with most of the world, until you consider that the majority of these are third-world countries.


Robert Moffitt, a professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University said, "There now really is no unaffected group, except maybe the very top income earners."  And since we just can’t seem to shake these recession blues, this trend is likely to stay with us for a while.  Inner-city Black ghettos are turning into Hispanic barrios.  And a sun-belt that has recently experienced prosperity is now seeing poverty emerge.  Around 20.5 million Americans comprise the poorest poor, which is almost 50 percent of those at the poverty level.

There were 40 states plus the District of Columbia that saw the poorest poor rise since 2007.  Not one of the states saw a decrease.  D.C. experienced the highest rate at 10.7 percent, and then Mississippi and New Mexico.  Nevada, surprisingly, had the biggest increase from 4.6 percent to 7 percent.  And an industrial Midwest today continues in the doldrums of extreme poverty.  There shouldn’t be a doubt in anyone’s mind that a huge economic inequity exists.

By ethnicity, the latest Census figures provide a breakdown of those earning less than $15,000 annually.  Whites represent 9.9%, Blacks 21.3%, Asians 11.4%, American Indians 15.9% and Hispanics 14.1%.  This income group represents 6.2 percent of U.S. families. 

When you look at the education attained by Americans age 25 plus, some of these figures aren’t hard to understand.  15.2 percent of the public did not finish high school.  29.2 percent did finish high school but only 17.5 percent went on to get a bachelor’s degree.  Considering the advances in technology, and the fact that many U.S. companies have outsourced the middle to lower level jobs overseas, these are most likely the new entries into the poorest poor population.

It is hard to comprehend how a great country like we live in could have allowed things to get so bad.  With 15 percent of our population in poverty and 6.7 percent representing the poorest of the poor individuals making $5,570 or less, the conditions are ripe for revolution.  The Occupy Movement has made its move and is all about the financial inequities of the American system.  If Occupy can be translated into votes, 2012 may be the start of something new and different in respect to the sharing of the wealth.

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