Thursday, September 22, 2011

A poor view on life

The poor, we're taught to believe, will always be with us. A good many of the poor have jobs, but receive too little pay to lift their family up from poverty. One in six Americans lives in poverty, more than 46 million. Twenty-five million people are in need of full-time work; 49 million go without health insurance excluded from a health-care system that is twice as expensive, per capita, as those in other industrial nations, captured by the drug lobby and the insurance and private hospital industries.

Poverty is destructive. The poor are more likely to be sick, vulnerable from hunger, to lack prenatal and infant care and to contract diseases that go undiagnosed. But if being poor makes Americans sick, getting sick too often makes them poor. Serious illness is the leading cause of bankruptcy. Poverty destroys hope. A hungry child finds it hard to learn. A toothache drowns out a teacher's voice. As poverty rates increase, the number of dropouts rises. Poverty destroys neighborhoods. Foreclosed homes become drug dens. The desperate turn to crime. Exploiters - the payday lenders, the sub-prime peddlers - target the vulnerable. The poor are less likely to have access to transportation that might take them to a job. They are less likely to have access to affordable groceries. They are more likely to go to an under-funded school, from which the best teachers have fled. The working poor are more likely to be in debt, more likely to live paycheck to paycheck.

The Chairman of Merck was paid $17 million last year, a period during which his company laid off considerable employees. Bank of America's chairman was paid $10 million, and that’s being paid for in part by the laying off of 30,000 workers. The 400 richest Americans got 12% wealthier.

Lets change the world

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