An abadoned building in the Linwood Corridor at Gladstone on Detroit's westside. This building once housed Rankin's Market, Meatland, a storefront church and another corner market at Hazelwood. (Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
EDITORIAL ‘Extreme poverty’
Published Mar 18, 2012 9:59 PM
What is “extreme poverty”? It is defined by the World Bank as living below $2 a day per person, and is usually associated with countries struggling to dig out of the underdevelopment imposed by colonialism.
Yes, $2 a day.
A report released in February by the University of Michigan’s National Poverty Center finds that the number of U.S. households living in extreme poverty more than doubled between 1996, the year of Bill Clinton’s “welfare reform,” and 2011.
There are now 1.46 million households in the U.S. whose members — mostly women and their children — live on less than $2 a day.
Some 2.8 million children in the U.S. are starting life under these wretched conditions.
Because the safety net was shredded under a Democratic administration, “Neither political party is showing any interest in tackling this problem because both parties have hung their hat on this whole idea that welfare reform was a success,” commented Jack Frech, who directs the Department of Job and Family Services in Appalachian Ohio.
Everyone would agree that hunger and extreme poverty in a society where all things, including food, are produced in super-abundance is deplorable. Where they would disagree is on what causes this. In this richest of all capitalist countries, the have-everythings are not above blaming the have-nothings for their poverty.
Society-page philanthropists who give away a weensy part of what they have, and get a nice tax break doing it, may pity the “less fortunate,” but they will rear up and snarl when confronted with the charge that their wealth comes directly as a result of from the impoverishment of millions.
Fortunately, there is now a broad social movement that connects the sufferings of the 99% directly with the excesses of the 1%.
The desperation for millions is at Depression levels and getting worse. Nothing short of mass, militant struggle will turn things around.
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