The poor in America: In need of help Some 15% of Americans (around 46.2m people) live below the poverty line, as Ms Hamilton does. You have to go back to the early 1960s—before Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programmes—to find a significantly higher rate. Many more, like Ms Dunham, have incomes above the poverty line but nevertheless cannot meet their families’ basic monthly needs, and there are signs that their number is growing.
Once upon a time the fates of these people weighed heavily on American politicians. Ronald Reagan boasted about helping the poor by freeing them from having to pay federal income tax. Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s running-mate in 1996, sought to spearhead a “new war on poverty.” George W. Bush called “deep, persistent poverty…unworthy of our nation’s promise”.
No longer. Budgets are tight and the safety net is expensive. Mitt Romney famously said he was not “concerned about the very poor” because they have a safety net to take care of them. Mr Obama’s second-term plan mentioned poverty once, and on the trail he spoke gingerly of “those aspiring to the middle class”. “Poor” is a four-letter word.
posted by infini
on Nov 8, 2012 -
In the Shadow of Wounded Knee.
Along the southwestern border of South Dakota is one of the most poverty-stricken places in the United States—the Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota people. After 150 years of broken promises, they are still nurturing their tribal customs, language and beliefs. Via [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Oct 25, 2012 -
"In a test
of the American Dream, Adam Shepard started life from scratch with the clothes on his back and twenty-five dollars. Ten months later, he had an apartment, a car, and a small savings." Introduction
to the book which arose from his "journey", which was inspired by Barbara Ehrenreich
. [more inside]
posted by Rumple
on Feb 15, 2008 -
US income distribution moves towards 3rd world profile?
- US Census Bureau
data on growing family income inequality, 1947 to 2001. Also see: The
(for a graphic depiction of current US wealth distribution).
"The most egalitarian countries have a Gini index in the 20s. European
countries like Germany, Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Poland, Norway, and Sweden all fall in that
range, according to World Bank figures. Canada and Australia are just over 30. The United States
is around 40...Once inequality reaches 50 percent, disparities become glaringly obvious, to the
point where they undermine a society's sense of unity and common purpose....Sierra Leone takes
the prize. At 63 percent, it offers the world's most extreme example of inequality."
By multiple measures, income
in the US is rapidly increasing, and a substantial percentage of middle class Americans may be gradually sliding into poverty.
posted by troutfishing
on Jan 15, 2003 -
Iraq to Donate $94 Million to Poor Americans
But more interestingly - disregarding the donor, would the US ever accept such a donation? (How could we admit a need for charity at home when we send billions in aid abroad?)
And what's next? We're not of a mindset to accept foreign meddling. What about UN relief efforts? International peacekeeping forces?
posted by Tubes
on Jan 15, 2001 -