Poverty In America

7 02 2012

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney made one of the dumbest and most insensitive comments that I have ever heard from an American politician since I became involved with politics:
You can choose where to focus.  You can focus on the rich; that’s not my focus.  You can focus on the very poor; that’s not my focus.  My focus is on middle-income Americans.

He went on to explain that “[w]e have a safety net for the poor.”  And “[i]f there are people that are falling through the cracks, I want to fix that.”[2]

However, the fact that America’s poorest citizens theoretically have access to food stamps, Medicaid and housing vouchers[3]—which Romney cited—does not constitute much of a “safety net” at all.  Some Americans, such as senior citizens, are too proud to accept any governmental assistance (other than Social Security and Medicare benefits) or handouts.  They have worked all of their lives; and to find themselves in poverty is embarrassing and deeply depressing.  They and others are often turned away or sanctioned by the government bureaucracy that can be brutal and cruel, especially to people who are truly in need.[4]

Those Americans who had moved into our “Middle Class” will lose their homes and everything else, which is happening already.  The idea that colleges and professional schools were guaranteed pathways to success will also evaporate.[5]  Our society and that of other countries will be upended.  And yes, there will be “class warfare,” which Barack Obama and his surrogates are fanning already.  Leave aside the fact that he will add more debt than all 43 prior presidents combined, demagoguery is in season and full swing.

When I worked in the U.S. Senate as a young lawyer with its Senate Banking Committee and later headed the Senate staff of Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass)—the first African-American in the Senate since Reconstruction following our Civil War, with Obama being the third—the senator and I met with Mitt’s father who was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (1969-1973)[6], and I was very impressed with him.  At that time, I was working on the passage and implementation of the Housing and Urban Development Acts of 1969 and 1970, which included the “Brooke Amendment” relating to public housing; and the national “Housing Allowance” program, which morphed into the Section 8 housing program that has helped millions of Americans.  The senator, George Romney and I talked about these programs at length.

On behalf of Senator Brooke, I also established a summer program for disadvantaged kids in Massachusetts, in conjunction with the Pentagon, which involved underutilized military facilities within the state (e.g., the Boston Navy Yard, Otis Air Force Base) and served approximately 100,000 kids during its first year alone.  Indeed, the senator and I traveled to Massachusetts with then-Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird in his private plane to review the program and its progress.

In making my observations, I am not singling out Mitt Romney for condemnation.  I have believed in Mitt for a long time now, and will vote for him—in no small part because I share most of his positions with respect to the economy and national security issues.  However, lots of politicians and other successful Americans are “tone deaf” when it comes to the needs of the poor.  They do not relate to them at all, and they cannot understand them.  To be poor is a sign of failure in our success-oriented and driven society.  Our advertising touts beautiful bodies and fancy cars and materialistic dreams.  In no way are the poor glorified, much less given dignity.  Shame is heaped on them, which is wrong.

When I was graduating from grade school in Los Angeles, my mother came to the ceremony in a wheelchair, and I was mortified.  No other mothers were present like that.  She had suffered the convergence of two debilitating illnesses, which robbed her of her beauty and almost killed her.  By the time that I was entering high school, her right leg had been amputated, which stopped the onslaught of what she had gone through; and during the Vietnam War, she walked with an artificial leg and was named the “Woman of the Year” by the local chapter of the Red Cross—for her outstanding volunteer work.

What all of this taught me was that her faith in God had sustained her, and given her courage, hope, joy and great love.[7]  And that stigmas and discrimination attach, especially in Southern California, to those people who are physically or mentally “challenged” or handicapped, the poor, and to those who are not “beautiful.”  Hollywood has gone nationwide and worldwide since then, with a vengeance; and life-threatening illnesses and poverty are not part of the “American dream,” which has been embraced by people globally.  As the U.S. economy declines more between now and the end of this decade—which will happen to an even greater extent in countries around the world—poverty, human suffering, misery and anger will increase dramatically.[8]

The core issues will be how Americans adjust to their poverty and hopelessness, which will be just as rampant in this decade as during the Great Depression of the last century that did not end until the onset of World War II, at the earliest.  There are no easy solutions to losing one’s job, home, car and everything else.  As State governments scramble to avoid bankruptcy, programs that might have helped the poor will no longer exist.  For example, in California, State parks are being closed; and the nightly price for staying at those that remain open equals the cost of a cheap motel already.  Where will the poor stay, especially if they have no family members who can—or are willing to—take them in?  How will they afford food to eat, and find transportation to get from one place to another (e.g., looking for work)?  When inclement weather sets in, how will they survive?

The published numbers of “poor” do not begin to tell their tragic stories; and the human suffering will increase and become unfathomable during the balance of this decade, whether Romney is president or not.  Pure economics will dictate this; and there is nothing that can be done governmentally, by any politician.[9]  And yes, many of those poor will be “middle-income Americans” or those who had been members of our Middle Class.  They will be devastated; suicides and divorces will increase[10]; and families will be torn asunder.  Mitt Romney and the wealthy of the United States—which includes Obama and most members of Congress—need to wake up now, and begin to demonstrate real compassion.  The problem is that they have no earthly idea of what it is like to be poor.

In Greece today, parents are giving away their children because they cannot afford them.  Kids are being dumped in streets or abandoned at shelters with notes attached to them, saying that one or both parents are at wits’ end.[11]  Poverty breeds inhumanity on a scale that is unknown to most Americans; and it also breeds crime (including massive Internet fraud[12]), which will increase in the United States as money for law enforcement declines and as our prisons are overcrowded and prisoners are released.  Reality is crashing down with a thud like never before in our lifetimes.

As I wrote almost three years ago:

America and other nations are in uncharted waters; and their politicians may face backlashes from disillusioned and angry constituents that are unprecedented in modern times. Also, the limits of godless secularism and paying homage to the false gods of materialism may become self-evident.[13]

The chickens are coming home to roost, in spades; and the “good times” are ending for vast numbers of Americans and their counterparts around the world.

Others will remain rich, or attain great riches[14]; and I do not begrudge it to them at all.  I do not envy or covet what another has.  I have never done so.  My parents taught me that, by their own words and actions.  In my lifetime thus far, I have had lots of money, and none.  I have friends with many millions, and one with several billions; and others who have nothing.  I have treated them all the same—with love, respect, dignity and compassion.

I lived in a tent for months at a time—with water everywhere inside it, during the rainy season—because that was all I could afford.  I have had two cars repossessed, as well as a boat.  I have been evicted; and lost my dream house, as well as most of the possessions that were important to me, including priceless family items that had been handed down over generations.  When I was in law school, I had a pair of shoes resoled so many times that I was told it could not be done anymore; and I have struggled to make ends meet for food.

I do not wish any of this on others.  However, I realize that many Americans have experienced losses, pain and suffering that are far worse than I ever have; and this is true today of people abroad who are dying of wars, diseases and malnutrition, and are being forced into slavery and prostitution.[15]  I have great faith in God, the United States, all Americans[16], and people everywhere.  I believe we will survive like my mother did.  However, we will be tested like never before.

© 2012, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele

[2] See http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/02/politics/campaign-wrap/?hpt=hp_t1

[3] As discussed later in this article, “housing vouchers” are an outgrowth of the national “Housing Allowance” program that I crafted as a young attorney with the Senate Banking Committee—which was complementary to the “Brooke Amendment,” and morphed into the Section 8 housing program that has helped millions of Americans.

[4] As I have written:

[L]awyers who are prosecutors are often less interested in fairness and justice than they are in winning at all costs, and exercising their raw power and hurting others in the process—such as those who are innocent but are convicted anyway.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-american-legal-system-is-broken-can-it-be-fixed/

And I added:

A federal official with reason to know told me that between 15-20 percent of the indictees in federal courts are probably innocent.  Some are seniors who have been charged with cheating the Social Security program, and they are scared to death, so they agree to plea bargains rather than fight for their innocence.

See id. at n.8.  This is truly frightening, and cruel.  Also, those who are engaged in prosecutorial misconduct are “sheltered” by the government, which is a travesty unto itself.  Aside from any civil remedies against them, such prosecutors should be prosecuted and disbarred.

See, e.g.http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-02-06/ted-stevens-prosecutors-justice-department/52922922/1 (“Taxpayers pay to defend prosecutors in Ted Stevens case”); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-american-legal-system-is-broken-can-it-be-fixed/#comment-1700 (“Perhaps the best remedy for such abuses is to have the ‘guilty’ prosecutors incarcerated; and let justice be meted out with respect to them, by those in prisons”)

[5] See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-american-legal-system-is-broken-can-it-be-fixed/#comment-1977 (“Law School May Amount To The Worst Investment Of Her Life!”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/are-colleges-dinosaurs/ (“Are Colleges Dinosaurs?”) (see also the footnotes and all other comments beneath the article)

[6]  See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Romney#Secretary_of_Housing_and_Urban_Development

[7] See, e.g.http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/ (“What And Where Is God?”) (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article)

[8] See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-1960 (“Global Economy Could Endure Disaster For a Week”) (see also the article itself, as well as the footnotes and all of the other comments beneath it)

[9] See, e.g., http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/173_212/-365185-1.html (“Greenspan’s Fingerprints All Over Enduring Mess”) and http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html (“Euphoria or the Obama Depression?”); see also http://www.philstockworld.com/2009/10/11/greenspan’s-legacy-more-suffering-to-come/ (“Greenspan’s legacy: more suffering to come”)

[10] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/divorces/ (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article)

[11] See, e.g., http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2085163/Children-dumped-streets-Greek-parents-afford-them.html (“Children ‘dumped in streets by Greek parents who can’t afford to look after them any more’”)

[12] See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/lawyers-and-internet-scams/ (“Lawyers And Internet Scams”) (see also the footnotes and all of the comments beneath the article)

[13] See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html

[14] See, e.g., http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2012/02/02/the-youngest-and-richest-people-in-america-from-mark-zuckerberg-to-sean-parker-photos.html (“The 10 Youngest Richest, From Sergey Brin to Mark Zuckerberg”)

[15] See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/human-trafficking/ (“Human Trafficking”) (see also the footnotes and all of the comments beneath the article)

[16] See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/america-a-rich-tapestry-of-life/ (“America: A Rich Tapestry Of Life”) (see also the footnotes and all of the comments beneath the article)


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17 responses

7 02 2012
PalomaGenios

Mr. Naegele,

The most accurate prophetical-diagnosis-portrait of America, I have ever read. This is Presidential speech material…..awaiting a President to believe it and then deliver it.

If things don’t change in America soon,….the real change won’t be in effect until after Christ returns.

Gary A. Flynn

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7 02 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you so much, Gary, for your very kind words. I appreciate them greatly.

The president who comes to mind was Lincoln; and I have written two articles that discuss Jefferson, Grant, Lincoln and other presidents, as well as another one that compares Ronald Reagan with John F. Kennedy.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/jefferson-lincoln-and-america/ (“Jefferson, Lincoln And America”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/ulysses-s-grant-an-american-hero/ (“Ulysses S. Grant: An American Hero”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/ronald-reagan-and-john-f-kennedy-a-question-of-character/ (“Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy: A Question of Character”)

The problem is that our political process is so “challenging” that only skilled politicians make it to the top. Many Americans had great hopes for Barack Obama, but I believe they were unfounded. He too is an elitist.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (“Is Barack Obama A Racist?”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/ (“Barack Obama Is A Lame-Duck President Who Will Not Be Reelected”) (see also the footnotes and all of the comments beneath these two articles)

Having watched our national politicians up close for 19 years nonstop, and many more years after that—to this day—my concern is that the campaign rigors are so difficult that many very able and talented Americans are turned away. They do not want to run the often-destructive political gauntlet, and who can blame them?

I believe this year’s race between Obama and Romney—in all likelihood, the GOP nominee—will be an interesting one, because it will pit two very different philosophies and visions for the future of America against each other. There will be a stark contrast.

However, it has been my experience that genuine empathy is lost in the political process, as higher and higher offices are sought. One example comes to mind that is illustrative.

The year before I arrived at the U.S. Senate to work, there had been a major housing bill, in which a prominent senator sponsored a seemingly-worthwhile program, which bore his imprint. Afterward, it came under fire and there were problems with it; and to my great amazement, the person turned against the program instead of trying to fix it.

I will always remember this as demagoguery at its best, in many ways. I was a young attorney, and I was tempted to tell the senator: “This is your program. You should be spending your time trying to fix it, not destroying it.”

Politics at the highest levels of our country, and essentially every other country on earth, is brutal to say the least. It is not for the “fainthearted.” Also, politicians have “feet of clay,” and one learns that in spades the closer one gets to them. If they had values, principles, compassion and true empathy for others, such characteristics are generally compromised or lost somewhere along the road to the top.

Next, in my article about Lincoln and Jefferson, I wrote about Lincoln:

He was certainly not the folksy backwoods caricature that often is presented, although he used that to his advantage (e.g., to disarm opponents and garner support).

. . . [O]ne gets the sense that what truly made Lincoln “tick” was unknowable, from a deeply personal standpoint. Having worked on Capitol Hill, my sense is that most senators are that way, possibly because they have been compromised again and again to reach high offices, and to be all things to all people.

Therein lies the rub.

Lastly, your concluding paragraph may prove prophetic.

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12 12 2012
JungianINTP

Speaking of the BIBLICAL figure CHRIST, would that those hunting for answers to the HOW/WHY of our decline simply study the Old Testament, then there would be much understanding and efficacious problem-solving; e.g., avoid MORAL HAZARDS and resulting SLIPPRY SLOPES, such as providing welfare payments to unwed mothers!!!—and the list of the nation-wrecking love-crimes of liberals’ liberalism is too long to continue here.

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7 02 2012
Jitendra Desai

Why only US leaders. Leaders everywhere have gone thick skinned with the poor and poverty. They think and propagate the idea that no matter what we do, certain people will remain poor. Why worry? What is needed though is not a very elaborate government programme with attendant redtape and cost over runs. What is needed is sensitivity of our leaders to the issues of poverty and hunger.

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7 02 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Jitendra, for your comments.

Yes, I agree with you. However, how does one instill “sensitivity,” empathy and compassion, when the arduous and brutal road to the top of the political process seems to strip these qualities from them? It is a fascinating dilemma.

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19 02 2012
furukara

issue of poverty is a major issue is overlooked. in my country Indonesia many government programs are carried on a variety of government agencies with no coordination and clear results. I think there should be institutions that deal with this record all forms of csr and government programs provided to the community in addressing this. management and good cooperation can improve the rate of poverty that exist if not then the program MDG’s that it shall be implemented in 2015 to just a dream but it seems only a dream is realized because sometimes the program is actually a land profiteers who want to get more money for their pockets which is already full.

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14 05 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

The Power Of Hope

An article in the UK’s Economist about this subject is worth reading.

See http://www.economist.com/node/21554506

Hope and faith in God are needed today, and will be required during the balance of this decade, more than at any other period in our lifetimes. People will be tested like never before.

Compare http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2160 with http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/ (see also the footnotes and comments beneath both articles)

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25 10 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

Foreclosed Family Watches Helplessly As Craigslist Crowds Strip House Bare

It has been reported:

A family in Woodstock, [Georgia] who just lost their home of 20 years to foreclosure and are preparing to move out, lost even more on Wednesday.

. . .

Their online [craigslist] post was just a well-meaning ad for a giveaway in their driveway outside the small house, a giveaway scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

But big crowds showed up and ended up taking practically everything inside the house, too.

Wednesday night, Michael Vercher walked . . . through his family’s almost empty soon-to-be former home.

“Well, when we got to the house, I mean, pretty much — this,” he said as he stepped from the foyer into the living room.

Their home — ransacked, ravaged, raked over.

Almost everything inside — gone.

“They came in and just tore the place up,” he said.

People responding to the family’s craigslist ad showed up at the house earlier than 10 a.m., before Vercher arrived there from work to supervise the giveaway.

And when he drove up to the house, he said, they had already broken into it, helping themselves to almost everything inside.

And he could not stop them.

“Everyone was inside the house; they were taking out items,” he said. “There were cars around the block. It was like ants in and out of the house.”

He spoke of how they took family keepsakes, all their clothes and shoes — everything but a few books left scattered across the carpet.

Vercher’s fiancee, Dana Lamanac, said they took her guitars, which were gifts from her father.

See http://www.11alive.com/news/article/261774/40/Foreclosed-family-watches-helplessly-as-Craigs-List-crowds-strip-house-bare

This is merely one example of the human tragedies and suffering that are occurring throughout the United States and in other countries, which will only accelerate during the balance of this decade, as the economic tsunami continues its relentless and unforgiving advance globally.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/ (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article)

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26 10 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

Crime Will Increase Dramatically In America

During the balance of this decade, crime will increase in the United States as economic conditions worsen and poverty increases, and as criminals are released because of overcrowding in the prisons, and as law enforcement declines because of budgetary cutbacks that cannot be avoided. One shining example is the State of California.

The UK’s Daily Mail has reported in an article entitled, “Bursting at the seams: Uncompromising pictures from inside America’s overcrowded prison system show the cramped and impersonal lives lived by more than two million inmates”:

Correctional institutions across the U.S are bursting at the seams with more than two million Americans behind bars with the worst hit state, California, housing 140,000 inmates when its 33 adult prisons are only designed to hold a maximum of 80,000.

Overall, the Bureau of Prisons Network is around 39 per cent over ‘rated capacity’ – their highest level since 2004 – with that figure expected to soar to 45 per cent above its limit by 2018.

So bad is the situation in California that the Supreme Court has slapped an order on the state ruling that 30,000 prisoners must be released by the middle of next year, labelling overcrowded conditions in its jails as ‘unconstitutional’.

The prison system has seen a stream of new offenders in the past five years and is still massively overstretched despite extra space being added.

Wardens and experts now fear that increased overcrowding and an increasing lack of privacy for inmates will see them more prone to lashing out and causing trouble.

Many prisons have had to create makeshift living quarters for detainees in public spaces such as gymnasiums, with some inmates having to sleep in bunks of three, while some cells which are only designed to house one person are home to up to three.

Inmates are being allowed less time in communal areas such as the cafeteria, TV rooms and recreation yards.

The country is streets ahead of the rest of the world in terms of the number of prisoners per 100,000 population, with Russia the second highest and South Africa in third. The European average took fourth place.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2223626/Prisons-America-breaking-point-million-citizens-bars.html; see also http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/10/30/chickenpox-outbreak-puts-san-quentin-state-prison-on-lockdown/ (“Chickenpox Outbreak Locks Down San Quentin”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/ (“The Economic Tsunami Continues Its Relentless And Unforgiving Advance Globally”)

California is the most populous U.S. state, and its gross domestic product (GDP) is larger than all but eight countries in the world. In a very real sense, it is a microcosm of America—and of things to come.

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8 03 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

89,304,000 AMERICANS: NOT WORKING

It has been reported:

The number of Americans not in the labor force increased by 296,000 in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest jobs report. According to the report, there were a total of 89.3 million people not in the labor force, up from 89 million in January.

BLS labels people who are unemployed and no longer looking for work as “not in the labor force,” including people who have retired on schedule, taken early retirement, or simply given up looking for work.

The increase marks the second month in a row, after rising in January from 88.8 million in December.

See http://cnsnews.com/news/article/296000-americans-drop-out-labor-force-february

. . .

As Peggy Noonan noted in the Wall Street Journal:

[T]he general fear [is] that we’re on a long slide and can’t turn it around.

See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323628804578346680172271600.html?mod=WSJ_hps_sections_opinion

This is totally consistent with my article on the economy and the comments beneath it. The worst is yet to come, and things will get very ugly!

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/ (“The Economic Tsunami Continues Its Relentless And Unforgiving Advance Globally”); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/#comment-2501 (“North Korea Says It Will Launch Nuclear Attack On America“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/ (“China Is America’s Enemy: Make No Mistake About That”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/#comment-2301 (“Crime Will Increase Dramatically In America”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-2494 (“Obama’s Enemies List And His Thugocracy”)

Noonan added:

[I]t’s a jobs crisis that’s the central thing. And you see it everywhere you look.

I’m in Pittsburgh, making my way to the airport hotel. The people movers are broken and we pull our bags along the dingy carpet. There’s an increasing sense in America now that the facades are intact but the machinery inside is broken.

This is so so true. I grew up a block away from the fabled Sunset Boulevard in Westwood, a mile west of the lovely UCLA college campus, in an affluent area of Los Angeles—with the super-rich Beverly Hills to the east, Bel Air to the northeast, and Brentwood, Pacific Palisades and Malibu to the west. Leaving the UCLA campus recently, I hit a pothole in the street near the campus, which was similar to those I had hit in Washington, D.C. a number of years before. The streets that I had traveled on my bike as a kid, to watch movies at the Village and Bruin theaters in Westwood, have not been paved in all those years. Hefty tax monies paid by residents have been diverted elsewhere, and wasted.

Noonan continued:

The man who checked me in put his phones on hold when I asked for someone to accompany me upstairs. As we walked to the room I felt I should explain. I told him a trial attorney had told me a while back that there are more lawsuits involving hotels than is generally known, and more crime, so always try to have someone with you when you first go to your room. I thought the hotel clerk would pooh-pooh this. Instead he said, “That’s why we just put up mirrors at each end of the hall, so you can see if someone’s coming.” He made it sound like an amenity.

“What should we do then, scream?” I asked. He laughed and shrugged: “Yeah.”

Things are getting pretty bare-bones in America. Doormen, security, bellmen, people working the floor—that’s maybe a dozen jobs that should have been filled, at one little hotel on one day in one town. Everyone’s keeping costs down, not hiring.

What that hotel looked like is America without its muscle, its efficiency, its old confidence.

. . .

ObamaCare is being cited as a reason employers are laying people off and not hiring, according to a report from the Federal Reserve.

What a mess.

. . .

But what is the sequester about? At the end of the day it’s about fewer jobs or fewer hours. In the midst of what is already a jobs crisis.

. . .

[Obama's] whole approach is still stoke and scare—stoke resentment and scare the vulnerable into pressuring Republicans.

. . .

Mr. Obama is making the same mistake he made four years ago. We are in a jobs crisis and he does not see it. He thinks he’s in a wrestling match about taxing and spending, he thinks he’s in a game with those dread Republicans. But the real question is whether the American people will be able to have jobs.

. . .

There’s little sense he sees this. Dr. Doom talks about coming disaster when businessmen need the confidence to hire someone. He’s missing the boat on the central crisis of his second term.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2483 (“The Fiscal Cliff Explained, And Sequestration”); compare http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/342366/white-house-saving-18000-week-cancelling-tours-patrick-brennan (“White House Is Saving $18,000 a Week By Cancelling Tours”) with http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2290937/MoS-Diary-Adele-lands-biggest-gig-Michelle-Obamas-50th-birthday-party.html (“ADELE, BEYONCE TO PERFORM AT MICHELLE’S 50TH [BIRTHDAY PARTY]“); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1172 (“Michelle Obama: ‘Let Them Eat Cake!’”) and http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-savings-financial-emergency-20130130,0,4750796.story (“Nearly half of Americans are one emergency from financial ruin“)

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3 04 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

The Great Depression II Is Here To Stay, And It Will Last At Least Through The End Of This Decade

While many Americans and the “elite” of other countries have never had it so good financially—including Barack Obama and his family—as their yachts cruise the waters of the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and elsewhere in this world, others are living in poverty and utter desperation. This will continue unabated for many years to come, with no relief in sight. As I have written, things will only get far worse; and the human suffering will be unfathomable.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/ (“Poverty In America“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2135 (“Suicides, Growing Despair And Hopelessness May Be The Future“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2177 (“The Risk Of Runs Is Real“) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1172 (“Michelle Obama: ‘Let Them Eat Cake!’”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-1516 (“Debtors’ Prisons“)

Evidence of this is reflected in the latest statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau:

[N]early 50 million Americans—one in six—were living below the income line that defines poverty, according to the bureau. . . . The bureau said 20 percent of the country’s children are poor.

See http://news.yahoo.com/help-shrinks-poverty-spikes-us-122230503.html (“Help shrinks as poverty spikes in the US“); see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2302997/U-S-sees-highest-poverty-spike-1960s-leaving-50-million-Americans-poor-government-cuts-billions-spending.html (“U.S. sees highest poverty spike since the 1960s, leaving 50 million Americans poor as government cuts billions in spending“) and http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-05/people-not-labor-force-soar-663000-90-million-labor-force-participation-rate-1979-le (“[T]he number of people not in the labor force . . . in March soared by a massive 663,000 to a record 90 million Americans who are no longer even looking for work“)

It is a myth and downright lie woven by our politicians and their counterparts in other countries that America and Europe are slowly climbing out of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It must never be forgotten that the depression of the last century did not end with the onset of World War II, but rather it abated only after the war’s end. During the 1930s, there were “green shoots” as there are now—or signs that things were improving economically—which did not materialize until the end of that devastating war.

As I wrote almost four years ago:

International terrorism and other very real national security concerns still loom, which might produce flashpoints at any time. We have enemies who seek to destroy us—a fact that is sometimes forgotten as 9/11 recedes in our memories. While it might be attractive . . . to take a “meat ax” to the Defense Department, it would be foolhardy to gut our military precisely when it has been performing magnificently and its continued strength is needed most. America’s economic and military strength go hand in hand. Both are indispensable ingredients of our great nation’s future strength.

See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html; see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/#comment-2501 (“North Korea Says It Will Launch Nuclear Attack On America”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu (“The Madness Of Benjamin Netanyahu”)

And I added almost four years ago:

While U.S. politicians and their counterparts in other countries have been trying to convince their electorates that they have the answers, they are simply holding out false hopes that real solutions are at hand. . . .

America and other nations are in uncharted waters; and their politicians may face backlashes from disillusioned and angry constituents that are unprecedented in modern times. Also, the limits of godless secularism and paying homage to the false gods of materialism may become self-evident.

See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html; see also http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9985280/Big-banks-more-dangerous-than-ever-IMFs-Christine-Lagarde-says.html (“Big banks ‘more dangerous than ever’, IMF’s Christine Lagarde says“)

The chickens are coming home to roost as fewer and fewer Americans and other nationalities trust their governments, and as economic and other forms of chaos reign.

HOLD ON TIGHT. THINGS WILL GET VERY UGLY!

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1 06 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

I Love LA . . . NOT!

Movie actress Gwyneth Paltrow has written an article about Los Angeles, which is interesting. However, real people live in L.A., and she is not one of them.

See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ultratravel/10083824/Gwyneth-Paltrows-guide-to-Los-Angeles.html

I too grew up in L.A., and its principal problems today are that much of it has become seedy, fiscally unmanageable, and “Hollywood-ized.” Instead of such people being a fringe group, the “inmates” run the asylum and they epitomize the emptiness, falsity and fantasy of L.A., which has been exported worldwide.

We live in a celebrity-driven, fake world, in which the human suffering is ignored—and it will only get far worse between now and the end of this decade—yet one would never know it from the fashionable perches of Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood and Malibu. In a sense, it is unreal and harps back to the fall of the Roman Empire.

See, e.g.,http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/ (see also the comments beneath the article)

I used to love L.A., but today it is a morally-impoverished fantasyland, bound together by clogged streets—often with gaping potholes in them—and freeways.

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24 06 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

76 Percent Of Americans Are Living Paycheck-To-Paycheck!

CNNMoney has reported:

Roughly three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings, according to a survey released by Bankrate.com Monday.

Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to the survey of 1,000 adults. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all.

. . .

Last week, online lender CashNetUSA said 22% of the 1,000 people it recently surveyed had less than $100 in savings to cover an emergency, while 46% had less than $800. After paying debts and taking care of housing, car and child care-related expenses, the respondents said there just isn’t enough money left over for saving more.

“There really hasn’t been much relief,” said Megan Staton, director of marketing for CashNetUSA “The economy is stagnant, $100 is not enough to help you out in an emergency.”

See http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/24/pf/emergency-savings/index.html; see also http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/07/05/only-47-americans-have-full-time-job (“ONLY 47% OF ADULTS HAVE FULL-TIME JOB”)

As the U.S. and global economies get far worse between now and the end of this decade, more and more Americans and those in other countries will slide into desperate poverty.

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28 07 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

4 Out Of 5 in USA Face Near-Poverty, No Work . . .

The AP has reported:

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to “rebuild ladders of opportunity” and reverse income inequality.

Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy “poor.”

“I think it’s going to get worse,” said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend, but it doesn’t generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.

“If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work,” she said. Children, she said, have “nothing better to do than to get on drugs.”

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in government data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

The gauge defines “economic insecurity” as experiencing unemployment at some point in their working lives, or a year or more of reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.

“It’s time that America comes to understand that many of the nation’s biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position,” said William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor who specializes in race and poverty.

He noted that despite continuing economic difficulties, minorities have more optimism about the future after Obama’s election, while struggling whites do not.

“There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front,” Wilson said.

___

Sometimes termed “the invisible poor” by demographers, lower-income whites are generally dispersed in suburbs as well as small rural towns, where more than 60 percent of the poor are white. Concentrated in Appalachia in the East, they are also numerous in the industrial Midwest and spread across America’s heartland, from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma up through the Great Plains.

More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, accounting for more than 41 percent of the nation’s destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks.

Still, while census figures provide an official measure of poverty, they’re only a temporary snapshot. The numbers don’t capture the makeup of those who cycle in and out of poverty at different points in their lives. They may be suburbanites, for example, or the working poor or the laid off.

In 2011 that snapshot showed 12.6 percent of adults in their prime working-age years of 25-60 lived in poverty. But measured in terms of a person’s lifetime risk, a much higher number—4 in 10 adults—falls into poverty for at least a year of their lives.

The risks of poverty also have been increasing in recent decades, particularly among people ages 35-55, coinciding with widening income inequality. For instance, people ages 35-45 had a 17 percent risk of encountering poverty during the 1969-1989 time period; that risk increased to 23 percent during the 1989-2009 period. For those ages 45-55, the risk of poverty jumped from 11.8 percent to 17.7 percent.

By race, nonwhites still have a higher risk of being economically insecure, at 90 percent. But compared with the official poverty rate, some of the biggest jumps under the newer measure are among whites, with more than 76 percent enduring periods of joblessness, life on welfare or near-poverty.

By 2030, based on the current trend of widening income inequality, close to 85 percent of all working-age adults in the U.S. will experience bouts of economic insecurity.

“Poverty is no longer an issue of ‘them’, it’s an issue of ‘us’,” says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis who calculated the numbers. “Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need.”

Rank’s analysis is supplemented with figures provided by Tom Hirschl, a professor at Cornell University; John Iceland, a sociology professor at Penn State University; the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute; the Census Bureau; and the Population Reference Bureau.

Among the findings:

—For the first time since 1975, the number of white single-mother households who were living in poverty with children surpassed or equaled black ones in the past decade, spurred by job losses and faster rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites. White single-mother families in poverty stood at nearly 1.5 million in 2011, comparable to the number for blacks. Hispanic single-mother families in poverty trailed at 1.2 million.

—The share of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods—those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more—has increased to 1 in 10, putting them at higher risk of teen pregnancy or dropping out of school. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 17 percent of the child population in such neighborhoods, up from 13 percent in 2000, even though the overall proportion of white children in the U.S. has been declining.

The share of black children in high-poverty neighborhoods dropped sharply, from 43 percent to 37 percent, while the share of Latino children ticked higher, from 38 to 39 percent.

___

Going back to the 1980s, never have whites been so pessimistic about their futures, according to the General Social Survey, which is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Just 45 percent say their family will have a good chance of improving their economic position based on the way things are in America.

The divide is especially evident among those whites who self-identify as working class: 49 percent say they think their children will do better than them, compared with 67 percent of non-whites who consider themselves working class.

In November, Obama won the votes of just 36 percent of those noncollege whites, the worst performance of any Democratic nominee among that group since 1984.

Some Democratic analysts have urged renewed efforts to bring working-class whites into the political fold, calling them a potential “decisive swing voter group” if minority and youth turnout level off in future elections.

“They don’t trust big government, but it doesn’t mean they want no government,” says Republican pollster Ed Goeas, who agrees that working-class whites will remain an important electoral group. “They feel that politicians are giving attention to other people and not them.”

See http://bigstory.ap.org/article/exclusive-4-5-us-face-near-poverty-no-work-0

Hold on tight. It will get far worse between now and the end of this decade!

. . .

But nothing interrupts the Obamas’ lavish vacations!

See, e.g., http://washingtonexaminer.com/obama-vineyard-vacation-at-7.6m-private-resort-over-75-rooms-booked-for-staff/article/2533598 (“Obama Vineyard vacation at $7.6m private resort, over 75 rooms booked for staff”) and http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2013/07/29/wh-tours-parade-special-visitors-continues/ (“Still No [White House] Tours, but Parade of Special Visitors Continues”)

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7 11 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

49.7 Million Americans Living In Poverty [UPDATED]

Dorothea Lange photo of Depression-era mother

[Florence Owens Thompson was the subject of Dorothea Lange’s photo Migrant Mother (1936). The Library of Congress caption reads: “Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California.” See also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2290879/I-lost-hope-Startling-interview-unearthed-woman-iconic-Great-Depression-image-talking-just-years-death-1983.html (“‘I never lost hope’: Startling interview unearthed with woman behind iconic Great Depression image talking just five years before her death in 1983″) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2135 (“Suicides, Growing Despair And Hopelessness May Be The Future”)]

AP News has reported:

The number of poor people in America is 3 million higher than the official count, encompassing 1 in 6 residents due to out-of-pocket medical costs and work-related expenses, according to a revised census measure released Wednesday.

The new measure is aimed at providing a fuller picture of poverty but does not replace the official government numbers. Put in place two years ago by the Obama administration, it generally is considered more reliable by social scientists because it factors in living expenses as well as the effects of government aid, such as food stamps and tax credits.

Administration officials have declined to say whether the new measure eventually could replace the official poverty formula, which is used to allocate federal dollars to states and localities and to determine eligibility for safety-net programs such as Medicaid.

Congress would have to agree to adopt the new measure, which generally would result in a higher poverty rate from year to year and thus higher government payouts for aid programs.

Based on the revised formula, the number of poor people in 2012 was 49.7 million, or 16 percent. That exceeds the record 46.5 million, or 15 percent, that was officially reported in September.

The latest numbers come as more working-age adults picked up low-wage jobs in the slowly improving economy but still struggled to pay living expenses. Americans 65 and older had the largest increases in poverty under the revised formula, from 9.1 percent to 14.8 percent, because of medical expenses such as Medicare premiums, deductibles and other costs not accounted for in the official rate.

There also were increases for Hispanics and Asian-Americans, partly due to lower participation among immigrants and non-English speakers in government aid programs such as housing aid and food stamps.

African-Americans and children, helped by government benefits, had declines in poverty compared with the official rate.

“This is a real incongruity, when 1 in 6 people face economic insecurity here in the richest country in the world,” said Joseph Stiglitz, a Columbia University economist and former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers who has argued for more government action to alleviate income inequality.

“When so many citizens are worse off year after year, with food insecurity and health care insecurity, there’s no way you can say that’s a successful economy.”

Last week, more than 47 million Americans who receive food stamps saw their benefits go down, while Congress began negotiations on further cuts of up to $4 billion annually to the program.

Among states, California had the highest share of poor people, hurt in part by high housing costs and large numbers of immigrants, followed by the District of Columbia, Nevada and Florida. Under the official poverty rate, more rural states were more likely to be at the top of list, led by Mississippi, Louisiana and New Mexico.

Some other findings:

-Food stamps helped lift about 5 million people above the poverty line. Without such aid, the overall poverty rate would increase from 16 percent to 17.6 percent.

- Adults of working ages 18-64 saw an increase in poverty from 13.7 percent based on the official calculation to 15.5 percent, due mostly to commuting and child care costs.

-Child poverty declined from 22.3 percent to 18 percent under the new measure. Under both measures, children still remained the age group most likely to be living in poverty.

-By race, Hispanics and Asians saw higher rates of poverty, 27.8 percent and 16.7 percent respectively, compared with rates of 25.8 percent and 11.8 percent under the official formula. In contrast, African-Americans saw a modest decrease, from 27.3 percent to 25.8 percent based on the revised numbers. Among non-Hispanic whites, poverty rose from 9.8 percent to 10.7 percent.

“The primary reason that poverty remains so high is that the benefits of a growing economy are no longer being shared by all workers as they were in the quarter-century following the end of World War II,” said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan economist.

“Given current economic conditions, poverty will not be substantially reduced unless government does more to help the working poor.”

Economists long have criticized the official poverty rate as inadequate. Based on a half-century-old government formula, the official rate continues to assume the average family spends one-third of its income on food. Those costs have declined to a much smaller share, more like one-seventh.

In reaction to some of the criticism, the Obama administration in 2010 asked the Census Bureau to develop a new poverty measure, based partly on recommendations made by the National Academy of Sciences. The goal is to help lawmakers better gauge the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs.

For instance, the new measure finds that if it weren’t for Social Security payments, the poverty rate would rise to 54.7 percent for people 65 and older and 24.5 percent for all age groups.

Refundable tax credits such as the earned income tax credit helped lift 9 million people above the poverty line. Without the credits, child poverty would rise from 18 percent to 24.7 percent.

In recent years, New York City as well California, Virginia and Wisconsin have sought to put in place a more accurate poverty measure. They were prompted in part by local officials such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who have argued that the official measure does not take into account urban costs of living and that larger cities may get less federal money as a result.

See http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CENSUS_POVERTY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-11-06-13-38-44; see also http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/11/10/nyc-food-bank-head-40-of-veterans-need-food-assistance/ (“40% Of Veterans Need Food Assistance“) and http://dailycaller.com/2013/11/11/record-high-91-5-million-people-not-included-in-labor-force/ (Record 91.5 million Americans not in labor force) and http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/invisible-child/?smid=tw-nytimes#/?chapt=1 (NYC has highest number of homeless children since Great Depression) and http://washingtonexaminer.com/wall-street-advisor-actual-unemployment-is-37.2-misery-index-worst-in-40-years/article/2542604 (“Actual unemployment is 37.2%, ‘misery index’ worst in 40 years“) and http://cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/record-20-households-food-stamps-2013 (“Record 20% of Households on Food Stamps in 2013“) and http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_DEBT_STUDY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-07-29-00-12-33 (“35 PERCENT IN US FACING DEBT COLLECTORS“)

Obamacare will increase these numbers dramatically!

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3119 (“Obamacare Laid Bare: Barack Obama’s Big Lie”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/#comment-3138 (“Five Years In, Obama And Bush Poll Numbers Nearly Identical”)

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21 01 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

85 Richest People On Earth Own As Much As Bottom Half Of World’s Population

The Los Angeles Times has reported:

The 85 richest people on Earth have the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of the population, according to a new report that highlights growing income inequality as political and business leaders gather for the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Those wealthy individuals are a small part of the richest 1% of the population, which combined owns about 46% of global wealth, according to the report from British humanitarian group Oxfam International.

The study found the richest 1% had $110 trillion in wealth—65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the population.

That bottom half of the population owned about $1.7 trillion, or about 0.7% of the world’s wealth. That’s the same amount as owned by the 85 richest people, the report said.

The findings undermine democracy and make it more difficult to fight poverty, the report said.

“It is staggering that in the 21st century, half of the world’s population own no more than a tiny elite whose numbers could all sit comfortably in a single train carriage,” said Winnie Byanyima, the group’s executive director.

“Widening inequality is creating a vicious circle where wealth and power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, leaving the rest of us to fight over crumbs from the top table,” she said.

In a report last week, the World Economic Forum said widening income inequality was the risk most likely to cause serious damage in the next decade.

President Obama recently called the expanding gap between rich and poor a bigger threat to the U.S. economy than the budget deficit.

The United States has led a worldwide growth in wealth concentration, according to the Oxfam report, titled “Working for the Few.”

The percentage of income held by the richest 1% in the U.S. has grown by nearly 150% since 1980. That small elite has received 95% of wealth created since 2009, after the financial crisis, while the bottom 90% of Americans have become poorer, Oxfam said.

The share of wealth owned by the richest 1% also expanded in all but two of the 26 nations tracked by researchers in the World Top Incomes Database.

That’s caused a “massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people,” Oxfam said.

Falling taxes for the rich and increased use of tax havens have helped widen income inequality, Oxfam said.

The group called on World Economic Forum participants, which include some of the wealthiest and most influential corporate executives, to take steps to reverse the trend.

Among other things, Oxfam wants them to support progressive taxation, pledge not to dodge taxes, pay a living wage to workers at their companies and push governments “to provide universal healthcare, education and social protection” for their citizens.

See http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-oxfam-world-economic-forum-income-inequality-20140120,0,7080817.story#axzz2qxEXoTZW; see also http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/ (Forbes: “The World’s Billionaires”); but see http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304149404579324530112590864 (Bill and Melinda Gates: “By almost any measure, the world is better off now than it has ever been before. Extreme poverty has been cut in half over the past 25 years, child mortality is plunging, and many countries that had long relied on foreign aid are now self-sufficient”)

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24 05 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

The VA And Homelessness [UPDATED]

Homelessness

America’s veterans have served our great nation unselfishly since it was founded. They have earned our respect, gratitude, love and loyalty—never pity.

However, too many of them—of all ages and races—have joined the ranks of the homeless, or are teetering on the brink. Poverty is a national epidemic.

Like waiting in line to get medical care, and dying before it is available, essentially nothing is offered to vets who are homeless. Yes, there is a national hotline that operates 24/7, but the VA offers no help at all to those who are desperate.

There are vets who do not have physical or mental disabilities, just a shortage of money. Yet, they are left out in the cold, to fend for themselves. It is scandalous, and a national disgrace.

Many are too proud to ask—which is a tragedy unto itself—and scared of being homeless . . . and preyed upon or assaulted by others.

See also http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303980004579576423045207210 (“Treat Veterans With Respect, Not Pity”) and http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303480304579578470109140820 (“The Scandal That Shadows Memorial Day”) and http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/372-percentage-not-labor-force-remains-36-year-high (92,009,000 Americans Not Working) and http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_DEBT_STUDY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-07-29-00-12-33 (“35 PERCENT IN US FACING DEBT COLLECTORS”)

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