While the general population is aware something is seriously wrong, people remain extremely confused about the root of the problem. This is because what’s happening all around us isn’t socialism and it isn’t free market capitalism. It is actually a return to something much more ancient and much more oppressive. It is a return to serfdom, neo-fedualism and oligarchy.
Attempting to explain this reality to people is the primary focus of my life at the moment. It’s incredibly difficult to do, because stories spun by mainstream media and other vested interests convince the gullible population to fight amongst themselves in petty, meaningless narratives.
That said, some days are easier than others when it comes to highlighting the clear and negative impacts of the trends currently afflicting American life and the world at large. One such day occurred a couple of weeks ago when I penned the post: Child Poverty Jumps by 2.6 Million in Developed World Since 2008, While Number of Global Billionaires Doubles.
Today is another one of those days, with two articles coming across my screen proving once again that what is happening isn’t a recovery; it is oligarch theft.
First, we learn from the Boston Globe that:
The poverty rate in Massachusetts is the highest it’s been since 1960. The inflation-adjusted wages of the lowest-paid workers haven’t budged in decades. Income inequality in the state has become greater than in the nation as a whole.
A report out Monday by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center details the plight of the poor since President Johnson declared a war on poverty 50 years ago. The report’s findings were at the center of a symposium held Monday in Boston to take stock of Johnson’s “Great Society” initiatives and to unite social service agencies, government officials, academic researchers, and others to set a new agenda for addressing poverty.
US wages and productivity increased in tandem from 1948 into the mid-1970s, according to the report. Since then, workers’ earnings have flat-lined even as productivity has climbed. In Massachusetts, productivity more than doubled between 1979 and 2012, adjusted for inflation, but the median income climbed just 18 percent.
At the same time, wages for the top 1 percent of earners skyrocketed. If wages across all income levels had grown equally, workers in the bottom 80 percent would be earning around $10,000 more a year, while the 1 percent would be earning almost $1 million less.
The poverty threshold is less than $19,000 a year for a family of three in Massachusetts. When the “near poor” — those with incomes twice the poverty rate — are included, one in four Massachusetts residents are considered to be in need.
Without programs such as food stamps and the earned income tax credit, the poverty rate would rise to nearly 27 percent.
This poverty measure shows how much public benefit programs have helped residents, Berger said, presenting “a clearer vision of what’s actually happening.”
The above statement about how public benefits are helping residents is another part of the problem. I have argued time and time again that food stamps and other forms of “public assistance” are actually corporate welfare (see: McDonald’s Math: You Can’t Survive Working for Us). They allow corporations to not pay their employees a living wage, and instead have taxpayers pay the difference, thus subsidizing record corporate profit margins. It basically allows the following “chart of neo-feudalism” to evolve:
In case all that isn’t enough to get you excited about the recovery, the Washington Post reported earlier today that child homelessness in the USA is hitting record levels. We learn that:
SAN FRANCISCO — The number of homeless children in the United States has surged in recent years to an all-time high, amounting to one child in every 30, according to a comprehensive state-by-state report that blames the nation’s high poverty rate, the lack of affordable housing and the effects of pervasive domestic violence.
Titled “America’s Youngest Outcasts,” the report being issued Monday by the National Center on Family Homelessness calculates that nearly 2.5 million American children were homeless at some point in 2013. The number is based on the Education Department’s latest count of 1.3 million homeless children in public schools, supplemented by estimates of homeless preschool children not counted by the agency.
The problem is particularly severe in California, which has about one-eighth of the U.S. population but accounts for more than one-fifth of the homeless children, totaling nearly 527,000.
Ah California, ground zero of the American tech billionaire assembly line. Where VCs bleed cash with reckless abandon and children sleep in closets.
Meanwhile, at the G-20 meeting:
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