U.S. a third world country?

Personally I have felt that the U.S. has been a third world country for a few decades. That was my gut assessment after watching the numbers on homeless raise and other visual indicators of extreme poverty. Now my suspicious have been confirmed.

The link to the published research paper is at the link. Both the article and the research (pdf format) are well worth our time to read. Recently I was having a conversation with an elderly individual who get all his information from a one hour TV broadcast. As most people know who choose multiple online news sources, because we boycott the talking heads of corporate media – TV news media exists as entertainment and NOT as a valid news source. What my friend told me was both shocking and not surprising. My friend declared that poor people are lazy and shouldn’t need help because there is no real poverty in America. Others are even more rigid – all welfare and assistance must be abolished. There is a whole lot of hate directed at the victims of poverty, thanks to the way the corporate news media either reports on poverty or just ignores the fact that there are too many people living in extreme poverty in the USA.

Extreme poverty = using a world Bank metric of global poverty: $2 or less, per person, per day.” (quoted from the research paper cited at the bottom).

The welfare programs were reworked under President Clinton. There was supposed to be childcare assistance for working mothers. Several states figured out how to make it next to impossible for working mothers to apply for and receive childcare assistance.

The numbers of those living in extreme poverty in the U.S. are mind blowing.

Mid 2011

1.65 MILLION households with 3.55 children were living in extreme poverty in a given month based on cash income.

This is 4.3 % of all non-elderly households with children.

“The prevalence of extreme poverty has risen sharply since 1996, particulate among those most impacted by the 1996 welfare reform.” (This was while Bill Clinton – a democrat was in the white house.)

SNAP = Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program which used to be called the good old “Food Stamp Program”

“Adding SNAP benefits to household income reduces the number of extremely poor households with children by 48.0 % in mid 2011. Adding SNAP, refundable tax credits, and housing subsidies reduces the number by 62.8 %. ”

This study documents the increase of prevalence of extreme poverty among U.S. households with children between 1996 and 2011. Note that the elderly are not covered nor are adults living by themselves or the huge homeless population. Nor does this research cover the mentally ill, who even if they have financial assistance need help in dealing with the mindless bureaucracy and gate keepers.

The study closes with this observation:

“However, it would be wrong to conclude that the U.S. safety net is strong, or even adequate, when the numbers and proportions of households with children surviving on less than $2 per day has risen so dramatically over the past 15 years, even accounting for means-tested transfer.”

Title of research paper: Rising Extreme Poverty in the United States and the Response of Federal Means -Tested Transfer Programs.

Authors: H.Luke Shaefer, PhD, University of Michigan and Kathryn Edin (Professor, Harvard University).

Additional links and comments

A short history of food stamps and how this government program actually helps businesses like Wal-Mart and the rest of the U.S. economy – how shocking for the haters who worship the 1%.


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