Poverty Point: The New USA

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The story is the same where ever I went: Washington DC, cities of Canada, LA or Dallas, the story was the same with those I came into contact with. It was like the wash cycle; rinse, spin, repeat. For every person I spoke to on the streets, who were fortunate enough to be employed, they had five stories to tell about those they knew who weren’t. I was astounded that the great America that I had travelled to was in such a state. It was dismal. Man-in-american-poverty1-600x350

If you live in the United States, there is a good chance that you are now living in poverty or near poverty. Nearly 50 million Americans, (49.7 Million), are living below the poverty line, with 80% of the entire U.S. population living near poverty or below it.

The first person I came into contact with, and I’ll name him ‘B’ for privacy reasons, was a man with a huge heart, soul to match and was in the trade of helping strangers. He didn’t think twice when it came to helping myself in the streets of DC in the middle of the night, and it was then that we got to talking about his life in the great city.

‘B’ was from Somalia. He was a slight man in his mid-forties, well-spoken and worked hard to immigrate to America, expecting all the stories sold to him to be true. But here he was, parking cars for a living with a below minimal wage and surviving on mainly the tips he received. It was early winter, freezing that night, yet he stood outside on shift with some colleagues without a complaint. “I’m a lucky one,” he said. But I wondered how much of that line he believed when I looked at his damp shoes, listening to him speak about his permanent nightshift 7 nights a week. Upon our parting we hugged, grateful for our fleeting meeting to breakup our ordinary night. And as he walked me to my hotel, I wondered what would become of him in 12 months’ time.

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My second conversation was more a slap in the face at the reality as I exited D.C. in a cab, heading out for my flight to Canada. The man was in his sixties, well-spoken and obviously very well-read if not educated at university level. He knew about every topic from geo-politics to history and agriculture. He spoke about the unemployment and was grateful for his job. “So many are unemployed. They go to college, they get degrees and end up driving or unemployed…my daughter has just received her degree in accounting and economics, but no job…” he trailed off. My head spun. In my own country such a degree would eventually see someone living on a healthy wage in a great part of town.

It was a snippet of what I saw in my two week stay. With my eyes wide open, I hit the streets of a city in Canada where I was astounded by the number of homeless. One I spoke to on the street after giving him a twenty, told me he used to serve with the army, in Iraq. A vet on the streets; I wished him luck and with a heavy heart walked in the near minus temperatures back to my accommodation.

And this is where it brings me, to the statistics that no longer surprise me. 50 million Americans are now reported to be living below the poverty line. Some staggering 80 percent of the American population are struggling with near-poverty or joblessness. The gap between classes is widening, we all know this, but the ‘working class’ is becoming obsolete.

In social science reports it is notated that up to 5 million people rely on food stamps to barely reach the threshold of poverty. Other factors such as medical expenses, work-related expenses and other general living expenses are increasing by the year.

Sheldon Danziger, an economist for the University of Michigan said “given current economic conditions, poverty will not be substantially reduced unless government does more to help the working poor.” [1]

Meanwhile, Congress are set to approve $9 billion in cuts to food stamps.

**All personal sources and interviews to remain anonymous. Sources will not be revealed.

 

[1] Ari, S. PBSSpot. (2013, 6 November) In the US 49.7 million are now poor and 80% of total population is now in poverty http://politicalblindspot.com/us-poor/ (Retrieved 2015, 4 January)

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15 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve been staring at this article for 20 minutes. Just wishing there was something I could do. It’s like a sinking ship.Something drastic needs to happen.

    • Yeah the plague that is the Obama administration needs to be sanitized and every act or law made under that administration, needs to be carefully and completely looked over and then erased. It was never this bad before Obama, not until after you look over all the changes made since he took office will you see the pattern that ruined America, So look if you don’t believe by now the blight that has over taken all that we know, I used to be American, I am no longer proud to call myself that until the modern day Hitler is taken care of. Get him out of office.

      • grim3per is correct. Changes like the article describes above happen over long stretches of time, not the minute a new chief is elected to office. And if you look beyond your own prejudices, at these little things called facts and statistics, this is in large part the result of BUSH policies that tanked the American economy by frittering away Clinton’s 200 plus billion surplus into Bush’s 1.4 trillion dollar debt. You ARE a special kind of stupid, Scyrex. Unfortunately, not special enough.

  2. I lost my job in feb. 2014 after nearly 40 yrs at the same company. I took what little money I had in my account through work so me and my wife had something to live on.. but it’s just about gone.. I did get on disability for my heart and other healt problems, but it wont be enough to pay for the house we live in or the other bills we have, so not sure what we will do soon. I guess be out with the rest of the homeless who knows

    • That sucks man. Just goes to show that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. I can’t afford my rent, don’t get paid till next week, and am already five days late. I recently suffered a head injury as well. I missed two days of work and now I can’t pay my car insurance. I’m glad to have a job, yet it doesn’t cover everything i need. I even make just a little more than the bare minimum. But hey, living the American dream. Work hard, then maybe the rich will shit on you a little less.

  3. It’s so tough to help people these days. Where are the programmers able to create collaborative environments that treat people individually with care and respect?

  4. the problem is American its self, you need to reconcile to all nations you have damaged ,coz God has started punishing you ,,ask for forgiveness everything will be fine if you believe in God,,for me i wish you well to settle everything and the political problems

    • I am SO tired of this god punishment crap. Norway is 70% – that is SEVENTY PERCENT – atheist, and is one of the most stable countries in the world, with the highest educational levels, best social programs, highest income levels, best records on the environment and the most contented people ON THE PLANET. Keep your idiot imaginary friend out of the discussion, please. If anything, your childish beliefs have caused MORE suffering and chaos in the world than anything else.

  5. (firstly ,i am sorry for my poor english .non-native language)
    Dear Folks ,
    I am not a USA citizen nor Canada. I have astounded too while i was reading the article.
    Global gdp of world $72 trillion us dollars and 1 of 3th produced by USA (usa $17 trillion dollars ) (numbers of 2013 ,nominal …).So 1/3 of the global economy solely created by USA.
    Usa has 320 million population and 50.000$ per person. So these figures are outstanding if you look outside of America.
    I am totally depressed of %50 in poverty ,and %80 near poverty line… So somebody pls help me to understand! Where the all money has gone.
    In my pov ,America is such a lovely country , advanced law, advanced education,advance science, advanced society,advanced industries,advenced arts,advanced health sys,advanced technology,andvanced agriculture,advanced etc… so-on….America has all the best&advanced things on earth .But somebody tell me pls ,arent that advanced things and giant power useless when the citizens of America
    cant benefit from them ?what is the meaning of advancenism if your own people cant benefit from it? you idiots ,harvard assholes!
    ı am asking the goverment of usa , you have all but why you behaving your own people like this. Dont tell me about wild -capitalism ,fuck your wild capitalism. So many families ,so many children ,fathers,mothers ,men women suffering from poverty.So what is the meaning of rocket-science if an one person cant get a bread to him/her family? Also , keynesian theories will not effect anymore ,you are not at the age of post-ww2 era ,you cant give people shove to dig somewhere , because interest system,banks, financial assholes got control over all.Rockefellers &Rockefeller type families are not God , they are just a coward money sellers,the only god is common wealth … American people is amongst the nice public of the world.They are gracefull and gentle .The real power of Usa is its population,workforce. I dont want America demolished by guns,weapons etc. And america cant be beaten by weapons.But the only threat to America is their own consumers.If this goes to unjustice ,unbalanced ,your children will not find states united anymore .%80 are near poverty line , this equals to 240 million.Insane figure!
    there must be mistake somewhere, r u serious !! %80???
    btw i love this anonymous people. I am educated by their articles.Thanks.
    best regards.
    peace to all.

    • Yeah actually its because people (or should i say sheeple :P) are sleeping, while letting corporations and government (run by these) rape them. Simple as that.
      Monetary system is just too broken, we need a new global system to live in.

  6. What we need its a world wide awakening, a re(love)ution and change of the economy in general. Im not talking about socialism or such stuff, we need to look for completely new alternatives like Resource Based Economy…

  7. I can’t believe people still fight and argue over who is worse, the Democrats or the Republicans. We have a ONE PARTY system, our politicians are the well-greased conduits for the mega-corporations and big bankers who really run the country. Take a step back, close your eyes then take a fresh look at how our country has declined since JFK. Aside from a few brief periods of prosperity, nothing really ever changes for the better, no matter which party is in control, it just continues to get worse. I don’t buy the party lines any more, it’s all BS.

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