By Isaac Davis
If you pay attention to the news you’ll hear all about great corporate earnings, the unbelievable stock market rally, the bitcoin hysteria, and improving jobless numbers. Somehow, though, all of this information and good times reporting belies the truth; and below the radar of such an apparent boom is the sad reality that the United States is suffering from crushing poverty unlike anything we’ve seen in generations.
Alongside all of this is an unprecedented division taking place right now, as the world’s wealthiest people are seeing their wealth explode. They are calling it the new Gilded Age, and at present the distribution of wealth in America has already exceeded the imbalance which preceded the French Revolution.
The United States Census Bureau reports that the poverty rate in America for 2016 was 12.7%, meaning some 41 million people live below the poverty line in the world’s richest country. This is punctuated by a wave of homelessness, especially on the West Coast, fueled by astronomical housing and rent prices. Furthermore, in a ‘new milestone,’ household debt in the U.S. topped $13 trillion in 2017, an incredible number.
As reported by The Guardian, something is changing in America. Something is different about our attitude towards the homeless and towards those who are down on their luck. As a society we seem to find it easier to look away.
That cruel streak – the violence of looking away – has been a feature of American life since the nation’s founding. The casting off the yoke of overweening government (the British monarchy) came to be equated in the minds of many Americans with states’ rights and the individualistic idea of making it on your own – a view that is fine for those fortunate enough to do so, less happy if you’re born on the wrong side of the tracks.
Countering that has been the conviction that society must protect its own against the vagaries of hunger or unemployment that informed Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson. But in recent times the prevailing winds have blown strongly in the “you’re on your own, buddy” direction. Ronald Reagan set the trend with his 1980s tax cuts, followed by Bill Clinton, whose 1996 decision to scrap welfare payments for low-income families is still punishing millions of Americans.
The cumulative attack has left struggling families, including the 15 million children who are officially in poverty, with dramatically less support than in any other industrialized economy. Now they face perhaps the greatest threat of all.” [Source]
Couple this with the growing tendency of government to crack down and stop citizen-led efforts to help the homeless with food and shelter, and you have a certain institutional callousness developing. This defies the traditional American spirit and can only take us further from national unity.
For now the markets are raging – and for those who are on the winning side of this cosmic coin toss, life is good at the moment. This kind of economic prosperity cannot last, though, because it is fake, generated by a corrupt banking and financial system that knows just how to fudge the numbers to create an illusion of prosperity which serves well those in position to take advantage of it.
This rising inequality and the delusion of endless economic expansion combined with the change in attitude towards those less fortunate is a recipe for disaster, and something to watch for in the coming year.
Read more articles from Isaac Davis.
Isaac Davis is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and OffgridOutpost.com Survival Tips blog. He is an outspoken advocate of liberty and of a voluntary society. He is an avid reader of history and passionate about becoming self-sufficient to break free of the control matrix. Follow him on Facebook, here.
This article (As Markets Roar American Poverty Soars) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Isaac Davis and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.