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We as a nation are now more deeply changed and more separated from each other than at any time in several years.

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. Profound and peculiar changes were caused by the recession#, reports the (9/22/10)Yahoo! News. To quote,

The recession officially ended in June 2009, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced on Monday (Sept. 20). Yet the financial pain lingers for many, and the downturn caused profound shifts in everything from consumer habits to the rate of births. The recession affected the United States in some other, more peculiar ways, too. . . Shark attacks declined . . . Energy consumption declined . . .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.

Women’s equality?  “Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia takes on women’s rights# is a (9/22/10) maddening story found at Yahoo! News. 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.

As a nation we are getting in deeper and deeper trouble because of increased income segmentation, more separation by political partisanship, and more at risk because of the changes in the media and the press.  We stand to lose what makes us America if we do not reverse these trends.  Suggestion: start with the 2010 midterm elections.
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