Since the turn of the century things have gotten worse for most Americans except the very rich. For the first time in history children are worse off economically than their parents were. What does it say about progress when we are not able to assure a better life for our children than for ourselves?
Income disparity — The gap between the very rich and those in poverty, which has now risen to a new high, is growing in severity, according to a recent census report. Yahoo! News noted:
The income gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew last year to its widest amount on record as young adults and children in particular struggled to stay afloat in the recession. The top-earning 20 percent of Americans — those making more than $100,000 each year — received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line, according to newly released census figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.
One would think that billionaires are mostly immune to recessions. America’s 400 wealthiest people hold fortune $1.37 trillion in total, according to English pravda.ru. (9/27/10). Summarized, “The combined worth of the 400 wealthiest citizens in America rose to $1.37 trillion this year, an 8 percent increase over 2009, though still shy of the $1.57 trillion total from 2008, according to Forbes’ annual rankings, released Wednesday night.” Bill gates tops the list, for the 17th year in a row. Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook fame, is the biggest gainer on the list.
Sociological change on a larger scale — The recession is the worst downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Despite economists’ claims that the recession has been officially over since June of 2009, the effects of it are long lasting and even surprising. The unemployment rate is disheartening and persistent.
Fewer babies were born . . . Violent crime went down . . . Dead bodies piled up . . . Adulthood was delayed.
Health care reform spotlighted — Neither Democrats nor Republicans have been able to help jobless people very much. However, Democrats in Congress were able to help people lacking good health care. If the Republicans take control of either chamber of Congress, on the other hand, are talking about repeal of the health care legislation. The Republican plan is to dismantle Health Care Reform# headlines the (9/22/10) Yahoo! News. To quote,
Republicans will still have plenty of ways to inflict a thousand cuts on health reform if they win even a single chamber. They could gum up funding needed to enforce the law; they could try to strip out the requirement that employers offer employees insurance or pay a penalty for not doing so; they could go after the same thing the attorneys general of 20 states are seeking to overturn in the courts: the requirement that individuals obtain insurance or also pay a fine.
Scalia claimed late last week that women’s equality is entirely up to the political branches.
It is a strange view of the Constitution to say that when it says every “person” must have “equal protection,” it does not protect women, but that freedom of “speech” – something only humans were capable of in 1787 and today – guarantees corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.