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Poverty and Homelessness
If right now you're sitting at a school or a library computer and you're homeless or struggling to get enough to eat, please check out the links for help. They've got lots of valuable info for every state.
I think it's nothing short of disgusting that in the richest nation of the world, so many of its citizens can work a fulltime job (or even two) and still not be able to afford an apartment or food or health care. When I was on welfare (two small kids and getting out of a bad marriage and trying to get an education), I felt belittled every time the cashier at the grocery store gave me that look as I pulled out food stamps. You know what I'm talking about: that look that says you're scum because poverty is a sin and you must've done something to deserve it. It's sick, but it makes them feel better about themselves, I guess.
Whatever your situation is, whoever you are, please remind yourself that you are due as much human respect and dignity as the richest, whitest dude in the country. Cops hassling you? People looking away from you or yelling at you? F 'em. You've got your soul, man. No one can take that away. Walk proud 'cause lots of other folk seem to have lost theirs.
And don't think you're alone, either. Look at some of the "facts and stats."
In my state of Minnesota in 2001, there were 443,939 household visits to food shelves. Nearly half these households were employed, but couldn't eat on the money they made.
At least 2.3 million people are "likely to experience a spell of homelessness at least once during the year." One-fourth of these homeless are kids.
Between 2001 and 2002, the numbers of people in poverty increased from 32.9 million to 34.6 million. (Poverty level is $11,756 for a family of two; $14,348 for a family of three; $18,392 for a family of four.)
The richest 1% of all Americans, about 2.5 million people, now receive nearly as much income after taxes as the entire bottom 40%, about 100 million people. . . "Census data indicate that the gaps between both the rich and the poor and the rich and the middle class are wider now than at any time since the end of World War 2."
In 1988, we could have eliminated all poverty in this country for $54 billion.
(Consider that Congress just approved $87 billion dollars for the wars, and some of the wars' repercussions, in Afghanistan and Iraq.)
In 1990, households with incomes of less than $10,000 gave an average of 5.5% of their earnings to charity; those with incomes above $100,000 gave only 2.9%.
Between 1990 and 1998, the average salary of CEOs (Chief Executive Officers of companies) rose by nearly 500% to an average of $10.6 million, while the average salary of a production worker in these companies rose less than 30%, to an average of $29,267.
What happens when the middle class, which has always been the backbone of this nation, begins to disappear? Well, look around at the people you know. Look at your own life.
Why is this happening? Because since 1977, our tax system has become increasingly regressive. What does regressive taxation mean? It means not taking into account how much "disposable income" people have when you tax them. For instance, if you tax a family of four making $20,000 a year at 30%, you're taking food out of their mouths, and taking away their shelter and their medical care if they get sick. That's not "disposable income"; that's income necessary to survive. If you tax a family of four making $150,000 a year at 30%, they'll still survive just fine. The taxes will only cut into their "disposable income," like a new car or a cruise that year. "Progressive taxation" takes into account that some people can more easily pay taxes than others can. (You've got to remember, too, that most of the wealthy in this country were born into wealth; they didn't earn it with any special qualities and they usually work a lot less than people in poverty do.)
What worries me is how many people in this country who don't make that much money are brainwashed into voting for politicians who say they're for tax cuts, while those tax cuts mainly benefit the rich, and even hurt the average citizen. When there are less and less taxes from corporations and the wealthy (many of whom even pay NO TAXES AT ALL), the federal and state governments cut funds for our local schools, firemen, police, social services, health care, etc., etc. So then our local taxes just go up, and all our services are lessened. It's a distribution game that all the politicians know. Why don't the people get it?
We're just going back to the days when there was a small class of privileged people who controlled almost everything, and the average Joe or Josephine is just waving their flag and cheering these people on without even realizing how they've been manipulated. They're being sold a false feeling of patriotism at the expense of everything that's been good and decent about this country.
OK, OK, I'll stop now. If you want to argue, please go to the discussion board.
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