As we have written HERE – the number of people living in poverty is rising to its highest point since the 1960′s. I’m sure you’ll be surprised that I blame conservative ideology on that </sarcasm>.
Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. ~Nelson Mandela
In this election – the choices are very stark. It’s an election of the conservative version for America which says we should reward the wealthy i.e. the job creators i.e Republican donors and in turn that wealth will shower down on the rest of us or we can vote for an America where the rich pay Clinton era rates on their taxes and we have a more balanced approach to addressing economic growth and our budget deficit. In a conservative America … you’re on your own. Here is what that looks like:
#1 – You want unemployment insurance? Go f#ck yourself – who’s going to pay for that? You can’t – you’re broke and out of a job loser.
#2 – You want a tax cut for having children because you make $9 at Wal-Mart? You’re not special … you should have thought about not having kids. Oh – we wouldn’t let you have an abortion … well – then you shouldn’t have had sex out of wedlock? Oh your husband left … well – pull yourself up by your own bootstraps or talk to the church and see if they’ll help you. Best of luck.
#3 – You want the government to give you food stamps to help you feed your kid? Get out of here – this isn’t a charity service. Literally – go talk to the charity service. If we help you then you may become dependent on us … it’s better for you and your child to be homeless on the streets without food while you sell your body to some truck driver for $20 so you can buy some rice and chicken. But don’t get caught because even though conservatives love hookers … we can’t say that publicly. By the way – I’ve got $20 if you’ve got 20 minutes. *wink*
That’s kind of hyperbolic … but mostly not. People need these programs. And to add insult to injury … it isn’t like we’re cutting spending so we can tighten our belts. We’re cutting spending on programs people need to get back into the middle class in order to pay for tax cuts for rich people. Just stab me in the eye.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found the programs enacted in the Obama stimulus helped protect almost 7 million people from falling into poverty as they talk about HERE; they wrote:
Specifically, we found that:
- Expansions in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) kept 1.6 million people out of poverty.
- The Making Work Pay tax credit, which expired at the end of 2010, kept another 1.5 million people out of poverty.
- Expansions in the duration and level of unemployment insurance benefits kept 3.4 million people out of poverty.
- Expansions in SNAP benefits kept 1 million people out of poverty.
(These figures total more than 6.9 million in part because some people were kept above the poverty line by more than one program but, in the total, we counted each person only once.)
As the chart shows, existing policies to promote family income also kept millions of additional Americans out of poverty in 2010. For example, the basic SNAP program — not counting the benefit expansions — kept another 3.4 million people out of poverty in 2010.
Now Republicans in the House have voted as per their budget (the Ryan plan) twice now in the past two years to strip away all of these protections for Americans. All of those Americans who were displaced when the banks totally screwed over the country … yeah – you need to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps apparently. They want us to go back to THIS. But it gets worse:
BBC did a great documentary on “Poor America” that you should watch HERE; I mean this is AMERICA. And Fareed Zakaria does a great job of explaining how poorly America has done at addressing the issue of poverty HERE:
And how do we compare with other rich countries?
We rank 31st of the 34 countries that make up the OECD in terms of the percentage of our population that qualifies as poor. Of the 34 member states, only Mexico, Chile and Israel are worse off than we are. The UK (at 11%), Germany (8.9%) and France (7.2%) are all much lower. The OECD average is 11%.
And for those who say that we can’t afford it … I would ask you how we can afford tax cuts for the rich. The conservative argument says that we need to give more money to the rich so it trickles down to the rest of us. Well – facts and history and empirical evidence and economics proves otherwise. In fact – tax cuts for the rich and corporations are not very stimulative for the economy … whereas programs for the poor are actually have the highest multiplier affect that benefit small businesses and economic growth. You can read about that HERE.
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