Half of All Americans Are Poor, but We Love Johnny Depp’s Life, Pro-athletes’ Antics, Oscar Night

Do We Even Know the Story of Poverty Without the Poor Reporting, Writing and Broadcasting Our Stories?

No! A little note before DV readers get another magazine piece of mine to be published — in edited and redacted form (to be explained at a later date) — in November. Universality of a town like Spokane and any town. I repeat that if you live somewhere, know it, write about it, and make sure we all know that your town is our town. Detroit, where economic butchers shut off water. San Francisco where Google Eichmanns push working class folk out of historical neighborhoods they created so Facebook-Google-IT coders and digital engineers can yuppy-ize the street scene, the food scene, the poly-amorous scene, the pure techy shit scene of civet and elephant excrement cured coffee beans.

It’s a roiling joke, hearing the Unions Run By White Male-Female, Mostly Jewish, talking about $15 an hour raise. Or the 350.org branding machine of the stiff armed salute toward the capitalist McKibben and Crew telling us what we need to do about warming planet. In Oregon, my other state, we have tens of millions on both sides of the Label GMO-No Label GMO issue squirming for some upper-hand narrative. Label Poisons in Our Foods? Label the Rat Blood Thinner in Baby Formula? This is where we are at in this bastardized world where members of those non-profit Democrat-leaning Obama-Hillary loving non-profits want labels and not massive collective/class suits against the Round-up Ready/Agent Orange/Pesticide Pushers?

Poverty! Do you hear poor folk on TV, in newspaper columns, on regular beats discussing their own plight? Or, is it National Jewish Propaganda Radio’s idiots or Democracy Now’s and other leading Jewish intellectuals telling me about my plight, and what to do about it? Amazing to hear this stuff through the fat jowls of rotten folk, middle or upper class, journalists who have those Eastern Ivy educations, who moms and dads have a cool million or two in disposable incomes to send little Jane and brother Johnny to finishing school.

They believe in Capitalism, C-Lite, C-Tweaked, C-3.0. Or something. The root of the evil, of the poverty, of this massive incarceration in the failing public schools, in jails, in the government towers of shit that control our lives, that is Capitalism.

In Oregon we have driver’s license provisos for undocumented citizens, and there is a big fat white movement and initiative on the ballot This November to change that and send all immigrants packing. I heard the so-called liberals on the so-called alternative radio station in Portlandia rationalize that one of the reasons or benefits to licenses for undocumented citizens is that insurance policies will be purchased (those fucking pricks, insurance agents-companies, right) and more cars (those fucking pricks with exploding air bags and artery-cutting shrapnel for sale) will  benefit. It’s about the economy. You just can’t get the slime of Capitalism and Making Money off Pain off almost every American’s sticky fingers.

So what is poverty? Is it 47 million people in the USA? Is it a hundred million? How many aged (Older) peeps are barely scrapping by? What’s happening with Social Security, and yes, former Nazi’s got billions in SS, while we have a million waiting for some desk jockey and scumbag bureaucrat to decide what disabilities warrant a measly $1000 a month?

Factoids, from, Alternet:

3. Based on wage figures, half of Americans are in or near poverty. 

The IRS reports that the highest wage in the bottom half of earners is about $34,000. To be eligible for food assistance, a family can earn up to  130% of the federal  poverty line, or about $30,000 for a family of four.

Even the Census Bureau recognizes that its own  figures under-represent the number of people in poverty. Its  Supplemental Poverty Measure increases, by 50%, the number of Americans who earn between one-half and two times the poverty threshold.

4. Based on household expense totals, poverty is creeping into the top half of America. 

A family in the top half, making $60,000 per year, will have their income reduced by a total tax bill of about $15,000 ($3,000 for  federal income tax and $12,000 for  payroll, state, and local taxes. The  Bureau of Labor Statistics and the  Census Bureau agree that food, housing, and transportation expenses will deduct another $30,000, and that total household expenditures will be about $50,000. That leaves nothing.

Nothing, that is, except debt. The median  debt level rose to $75,600 in 2009, while the median family  net worth, according to the Federal Reserve, dropped from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010.

Thanks, Us Against Greed,

Paul Buchheit teaches economic inequality at DePaul University. He is the founder and developer of the Web sitesUsAgainstGreed.org,PayUpNow.org and RappingHistory.org, and the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press). He can be reached a t gro.deerGtsniagAsU@luap

So, this post is about daily grind — look, I teach adults with developmental disabilities life skills, fun skills, science, and social competency. I just go trained to drive a handicapped bus to take our clients on outings. Farms, waterfalls, libraries, even fire stations. Do any of you understand that we have crisis after crisis here? A people crisis, while idiots make big bucks as administrators, heads of companies, bureaucrats and the like. People making minimum wage, times two or three jobs, 60 to 80 hour weeks? Is that the land of the free and the brave? Full of opportunities?

Bullshit. We are burning people around the globe with nukes, firebombs, drones, chemicals, climate change, the virus of capitalism. Literally, people in the 80 percent are burning out, and there is much money to be made on the burned and burning out. Lawyers, gimmicks , all those peeps at the troughs waiting for more money to satisfy their military-pharma-media-educational-chem-prison-IT-med-insurance industrial complex.

A country ready to hand out blue tarps for the next hurricane? A country that knows millions die from TB yearly, but oh Ebola! What putrid lives we lead and regale over. Seriously, the revolving doors, the money changers, the middling artists, movie makers, writers, entertainers, the insipid president of lies and the parties of pestilence. Intellectual and spiritual dry rot.

I know people who know how to solve the poverty problem, the education problem, the health problem, the community problem. Some have cushy jobs, and they tell me on asides that the world is coming to an end, as we know it capitalistically speaking. Yet, they fail. No daily anger, expressed to bosses, elected officials, to anyone. You start as a witness, bearing witness, that is . . . now what? Ya gunna sell bad cars and shitty insurance policies M-F and do the church dance on Sunday? Teary eyed fat-boys watching PSAs about puppies or kids wanting to make a wish, yet, mom and pop, the purveyors of the crimes . . . little one. The big rip off is America.

Create a new generation of pissed off realists. Create youth ready to dump the system. Create a massive movement of young people chucking it all. You think the students killed and disappeared in Mexico, in the state of Guerrero are better off with compliance, or, the gutsy taking it to the streets, and burning down city hall? I will take the Molotovs any day than the hand wringing.  How many years do you get for throwing paint or blood on a USAF missile? How much time in jail do we get for resisting, for publishing stories, for not narcing on sources? So, the alternative is to keep J Edgar Hoover quiet and shuttle around like some raptor-scarred lemming?

I talk to the coolest people around – Portland para-transit drivers. From Bosnia, Serbia, Somalia, Mexico, Romania, all over. Many are old, aged, third and fifth lives. Under the gun of a private company, from fucking Scotland, that owns the transit system in Portland, Oregon. No pee breaks, and write ups for helping disabled with packs and such. Imagine this life, where these hard-working folk under the gun, with not enough vehicles, servicing the DD community and aged community in a place like Portland. How much for that stress? Oh, $14 an hour.

Can you ever wish upon a star and get real working class folks on the radio, on TV, making movies? Real people with real jobs just telling it like it is without all the poop and faux journalistic empathy. Because that is what it is mostly, on nightly TV, radio, in the documentaries! Fake empathy. Twisted. Off-kilter.

How do we make students smarter, better thinkers, writers and readers? Not by shoving science into their souls. How do those ethics come about? On Sundays in church or temple? In Zionist synagogues? Messed up mosques?

REDISTRIBUTION of wealth. Oh, how is that? Take back from the lawyers, patent pukes, forced arbitration companies, banks, etc. I heard several times from pig rich folk, and it is probably someone like Buffet or Bloomberg, who said that if all the poor and underlings took all the wealth from the rich that the rich would have it back in five years! You know, because we would blow it on Big Macs everyday, gas-hog cars, sprees at Walmart and Costco and just  plain stupidity, bad investing and holes in our pants. Or, that the lawyers, schemers, money artists, economists, all those felons in the One Percent, well, they would scheme and trick trillions back into their possession.

Look at that pig in politics, on TV, propped up by state  governments with all those giveaways and abatements, look hard, and that’s how they see us. You really want to negotiate with these economic hostage takers?

Bye now . . . . We don’t need not stinking badges, senor!

 

Paul Kirk Haeder has covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/ community journalism in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, and PK12 distrcits. He organized part-time faulty. His book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. He blogs from Waldport, Oregon. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.