America’s Descent into Poverty. Is any of this true?

Discussion in 'The Guru's Pub' started by HonoredShadow, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. HonoredShadow

    HonoredShadow Ancient Guru

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    I know, I know. Another one of those threads. I just want to ask a few basic questions from people in the middle class of America.

    Is any of this true in America? Is it getting that bad? I have no idea as I don't much go out of my own little town, let alone another country. That is why I ask.

    Please guys don't let this thread spiral down into the usual or I will ask for it to be locked.



    "The United States has collapsed economically, socially, politically, legally, constitutionally, and environmentally. The country that exists today is not even a shell of the country into which I was born. In this article I will deal with America’s economic collapse. In subsequent articles, i will deal with other aspects of American collapse.

    Economically, America has descended into poverty. As Peter Edelman says, “Low-wage work is pandemic.” Today in “freedom and democracy” America, “the world’s only superpower,” one fourth of the work force is employed in jobs that pay less than $22,000, the poverty line for a family of four. Some of these lowly-paid persons are young college graduates, burdened by education loans, who share housing with three or four others in the same desperate situation. Other of these persons are single parents only one medical problem or lost job away from homelessness.

    Others might be Ph.D.s teaching at universities as adjunct professors for $10,000 per year or less. Education is still touted as the way out of poverty, but increasingly is a path into poverty or into enlistments into the military services.

    Edelman, who studies these issues, reports that 20.5 million Americans have incomes less than $9,500 per year, which is half of the poverty definition for a family of three.

    There are six million Americans whose only income is food stamps. That means that there are six million Americans who live on the streets or under bridges or in the homes of relatives or friends. Hard-hearted Republicans continue to rail at welfare, but Edelman says, “basically welfare is gone.”

    In my opinion as an economist, the official poverty line is long out of date. The prospect of three people living on $19,000 per year is farfetched. Considering the prices of rent, electricity, water, bread and fast food, one person cannot live in the US on $6,333.33 per year. In Thailand, perhaps, until the dollar collapses, it might be done, but not in the US.

    As Dan Ariely (Duke University) and Mike Norton (Harvard University) have shown empirically, 40% of the US population, the 40% less well off, own 0.3%, that is, three-tenths of one percent, of America’s personal wealth. Who owns the other 99.7%? The top 20% have 84% of the country’s wealth. Those Americans in the third and fourth quintiles–essentially America’s middle class–have only 15.7% of the nation’s wealth. Such an unequal distribution of income is unprecedented in the economically developed world.

    In my day, confronted with such disparity in the distribution of income and wealth, a disparity that obviously poses a dramatic problem for economic policy, political stability, and the macro management of the economy, Democrats would have demanded corrections, and Republicans would have reluctantly agreed.

    But not today. Both political parties whore for money.

    The Republicans believe that the suffering of poor Americans is not helping the rich enough. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are committed to abolishing every program that addresses needs of what Republicans deride as “useless eaters.”

    The “useless eaters” are the working poor and the former middle class whose jobs were offshored so that corporate executives could receive multi-millions of dollars in performance pay compensation and their shareholders could make millions of dollars on capital gains. While a handful of executives enjoy yachts and Playboy playmates, tens of millions of Americans barely get by.

    In political propaganda, the “useless eaters” are not merely a burden on society and the rich. They are leeches who force honest taxpayers to pay for their many hours of comfortable leisure enjoying life, watching sports events, and fishing in trout streams, while they push around their belongings in grocery baskets or sell their bodies for the next MacDonald burger.

    The concentration of wealth and power in the US today is far beyond anything my graduate economic professors could image in the 1960s. At four of the world’s best universities that I attended, the opinion was that competition in the free market would prevent great disparities in the distribution of income and wealth. As I was to learn, this belief was based on an ideology, not on reality.

    Congress, acting on this erroneous belief in free market perfection, deregulated the US economy in order to create a free market. The immediate consequence was resort to every previous illegal action to monopolize, to commit financial and other fraud, to destroy the productive basis of American consumer incomes, and to redirect income and wealth to the one percent.

    The “democratic” Clinton administration, like the Bush and Obama administrations, was suborned by free market ideology. The Clinton sell-outs to Big Money essentially abolished Aid to Families with Dependent Children. But this sell-out of struggling Americans was not enough to satisfy the Republican Party. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to cut or abolish every program that cushions poverty-stricken Americans from starvation and homelessness.

    Republicans claim that the only reason Americans are in need is because the government uses taxpayers’ money to subsidize Americans who are unwilling to work. As Republicans see it, while we hard-workers sacrifice our leisure and time with our families, the welfare rabble enjoy the leisure that our tax dollars provide them.

    This cock-eyed belief, on top of corporate CEOs maximizing their incomes by offshoring the middle class jobs of millions of Americans, has left Americans in poverty and cities, counties, states, and the federal government without a tax base, resulting in bankruptcies at the state and local level and massive budget deficits at the federal level that threaten the value of the dollar and its role as reserve currency.

    The economic destruction of America benefited the mega-rich with multi-billions of dollars with which to enjoy life and its high-priced accompaniments wherever the mega-rich wish. Meanwhile, away from the French Rivera, Homeland Security is collecting sufficient ammunition to keep dispossessed Americans under control.

    Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the father of Reaganomics and the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury. He is a columnist and was previously the editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, “How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds,” details why America is disintegrating."

    http://www.pakalertpress.com/2012/08/25/americas-descent-into-poverty/
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2012
  2. IPlayNaked

    IPlayNaked Banned

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    No, not really. it's pretty much the case that you can make statistics say whatever you want.

    Do you REALLY believe that the lower 40% of WORKERS own .3% of US wealth? Come on, that's an absurd absurd number. If it's based in any reality, it likely includes children and invalids. I can't even find a source for that number.
     
  3. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    No link to the source?
     
  4. HonoredShadow

    HonoredShadow Ancient Guru

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  5. Denial

    Denial Ancient Guru

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    It's amusing that the "Father of Reaganomics" wrote this article. So what exactly is his solution if this problem is indeed real? Everyone likes to make claims like this but no one has solutions.
     
  6. hallryu

    hallryu Don Altobello

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    Most if not all of the western world is seeing a steady decline in income, in real terms and living standards since 2008.

    I hope things pick up soon, at least the USA is seeing a modest amount of growth in GDP. :thumbup:
     
  7. ---TK---

    ---TK--- Ancient Guru

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    Yay another one of these threads
     
  8. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    That was my first thought.....followed by "Why are people from other countries, so worried about everything that happens in the US?"
     
  9. ---TK---

    ---TK--- Ancient Guru

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    Maybe its jealousy, knock down the USA a bit and feel better about your own county?
     
  10. Chouji

    Chouji Ancient Guru

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    First step in fixing a problem, is admitting there is one. And coming from the medical field, i assure you all, there is a problem.
     

  11. IcE

    IcE Don Snow Staff Member

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    Most likely. I honestly don't even feel like posting anything, there have been far too many of these. This is a computer forum for crying out loud. And yes Chouji, there is in fact a problem. There are actually several. None of them can be fixed without huge re-writes of policy.
     
  12. Denial

    Denial Ancient Guru

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    There is definitely a problem and most people in the US admit that. The second step is identifying it and that's where everyone is stuck. And the people who do claim to identify it, like this guy who wrote the article, has no solution. Even if he did, someone else would disagree. And you'd be right back to the identification stage again.
     
  13. HonoredShadow

    HonoredShadow Ancient Guru

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    Why do you think? I live in the UK. Little America.
     
  14. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    People don't like to admit they're part of the problem....or the actual cause of it..... This is exactly why the idiots in DC are having such a hard time.
     
  15. HonoredShadow

    HonoredShadow Ancient Guru

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    I'm sorry if you guys think "here we go again". I'm just asking and concerned a little is all. If you don't want to post then don't. If you don't want to read then don't!

    No worries. Cheers chaps.
     

  16. Denial

    Denial Ancient Guru

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    Pretty much, also the problem is that the vast majority of them are lawyers. Lawyers aren't taught to find out what's right and wrong, or fact or fiction, they are taught to argue the side they are on regardless to anything. Take your typical debate format, you're given a side to argue, regardless to whether you believe it or not.

    I think the first thing this country needs to do is set term limits on the house and senate. I dislike 80 year old men who are so completely out of touch with modern day science or whatever, running this country. They are the same people that are trying to run for President claiming they are going to do things differently, despite sitting in congress for years voting on the same **** along with the rest of the sheep.
     
  17. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    It's funny. You sit in social studies classes hearing about how the US Gov't works. Yet, you get out into the world and everyone immediately blames the president for everything, though we're taught in school that the president has little actual control over the country. So, why is it the president gets blamed when Congress fails?
     
  18. Chouji

    Chouji Ancient Guru

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    But of course, there is always someone that will disagree for one reason or another.

    As technology advances, the need for human workers decreases. As less people are employed, people are willing to work for lower amounts just to get by. And so on.
    Eventually the world will arrive at a point where, due to technological advances, the human work force will simply be obsolete.
    If a farmer wanted, they could invest in machines that could do 95% of the work with automation. Machines largely built by other machines and so on.
    With the prospect of self driving cars just around the corner, Google already with a successful prototype. Transporting such harvestables could also be largely automated. Just have 1 person set the scheduled the night before, on a hundred machines.
    These harvestables delivered to factories for refinement and food production, both already very largely automated already, and only to become more so in the future.
    Foods and products readied, it could be delivered to the store via automated trucks once again.
    And from there, even be put onto shelves by automated bots using robotic arms to place foods on shelves faster and with more precision than a human worker.

    Even now, you can shop for food online and have it delivered to your house that same day in some cities. With delivery largely automated... you don't even need to get off your lazy unemployed ass to get food.

    The work of a thousand people, can be condense into 20 or 30 tops. And that's probably being generous.

    As for surgeons, with remote robotic assisted surgery, your surgeon doesn't even have to be in the same country! You could set up remote surgical suites in a surgeons house. Pay him half as much, and he doesn't even have to leave his home.. or in this case low cost apartment.

    Capitalism will die. It is inevitable. May take 50 years or 100, but eventually we'll have people doing what few jobs are left, because they want to. Building such machines, programming them, etc etc.
    Food, housing, medical care, technology and available knowledge and learning materials will become a human right.
    I know, probably sounds pretty socialist, but i see it as futurist. Something we'll likely see in our own life times. The concept of starving or homelessness will cease to exist world wide. No longer will the poor be slaves to the rich. And they are, i assure you they are. When you need to work just to make enough money to eat, and to have a roof over your heard. How is that any different than slavery? You don't work, you starve, you die.

    Thanks for bearing through my wall of text. Though i'm expecting few to bother reading it, and i'm preparing myself for the quotes and comments i'll likely receive, and probably a flame or two.

    Chouji-
     
  19. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    Sadly Chouji.....you're probably right....at least to some extent.
     
  20. HonoredShadow

    HonoredShadow Ancient Guru

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    Well from that article it was saying that fat cats deliberately sent jobs out of America to make more money. I don't know if that is true or just world economics.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2012

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