By Michael Snyder
Even though the stock market continues to set new record high after new record high, poverty is exploding all over America. It is being reported that 41 million people are living in poverty at this moment, and 9 million of them do not receive a single penny of income from anyone. Once you have been unemployed for long enough, you don’t qualify for unemployment payments any longer, and once you are on the street there is nowhere for other governments programs to send a check to. I have previously discussed the rising epidemic of homelessness in our nation, but most people don’t want to think about that sort of a thing these days. Even though New York City has the most homeless since the Great Depression, and even though homelessness in Los Angeles is at an all-time record high, most people want to pretend that everything is just fine.
Well, the truth is that everything is not just fine.
A reporter from the Guardian recently traveled with a special UN envoy to some of the most impoverished areas of the United States. His report is extremely eye-opening, and I wanted to share a short excerpt from his story. This portion of his article is about a 41-year-old woman named Ressy Finley who is desperately trying to stay alive on the mean streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles…
Ressy Finley, 41, was busy sterilizing the white bucket she uses to slop out in her tent in which she has lived on and off for more than a decade. She keeps her living area, a mass of worn mattresses and blankets and a few motley possessions, as clean as she can in a losing battle against rats and cockroaches. She also endures waves of bed bugs, and has large welts on her shoulder to prove it.
She receives no formal income, and what she makes on recycling bottles and cans is no way enough to afford the average rents of $1,400 a month for a tiny one-bedroom. A friend brings her food every couple of days, the rest of the time she relies on nearby missions.
She cried twice in the course of our short conversation, once when she recalled how her infant son was taken from her arms by social workers because of her drug habit (he is now 14; she has never seen him again). The second time was when she alluded to the sexual abuse that set her as a child on the path towards drugs and homelessness.
Los Angeles has declared a state of emergency because the number of homeless is rising so rapidly, and so have nine other cities along the west coast. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “As America Gives Thanks, Homelessness Continues To Set New Records In Major Cities All Over The Nation”.
The sad thing is that there are more than a million homes sitting empty in America right now. As economic opportunities have dried up, many communities in the middle part of the nation are becoming “ghost towns”, and it is getting worse with each passing day…
There are nearly 1.4 million vacant residential properties across the country — abandoned, not for sale, mostly unoccupied homes. With vacant properties comprising as much as 30% of residential properties, some neighborhoods are starting to feel like ghost towns.
Many believe that the answer to the decline of the middle class and the growth of poverty is even more socialism.
But if you want to see where that road leads, just look at what is happening in Venezuela. People are eating cats and dogs, and just today there were a whole bunch of mainstream news articles about how children are literally starving to death.
No, the real answer is to do what made our economy so great in the first place. Between 1872 and 1913, we didn’t have an income tax or a central bank, and it was the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history.
What we have today is not free market capitalism. We have gone very far down the road toward government-controlled socialism, and it has created a giant mess.
If we want to have a healthy middle class again, we need to have a society that promotes entrepreneurs and the creation of small businesses. Today we are literally choking the financial life out of entrepreneurs and small businesses, and when I am elected to Congress I am going to fight as hard as I can to change that.