Monday, March 24, 2014

Overwhelming Evidence that Half of America is In or Near Poverty

From AlterNet:

The costs of food and housing and education and health care and transportation and child care and taxes have been well-defined by organizations such as the  Economic Policy Institute, which calculated that a U.S. family of three would require an average of about $48,000 a year to meet basic needs; and by the  Working Poor Families Project, which estimates the income required for basic needs for a family of four at about $45,000. The  median household income is $51,000. 

More here.

Conservatives will never admit it, but, since the Reagan era, we've been managing the country, more or less, according to conservative economic principles.  I mean, it was something of a slow start, resisted by whatever remained of liberalism within the Democratic Party back in the day.  But by the time Clinton and the "New Democrats" were running the show in the 90s, it was ALL about tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, cutting social services, and on and on.  In short, the conservatives won, and they won big, and we've been dancing to their tune for three decades now.

I mean, sure, okay, we could go even further than this, which is what the Tea Partiers and their ilk want, cutting even more spending, throwing more money at the rich, increasing heartless cruelty toward the poor and all that, but, really, we've been moving in this direction for so long, most of my life, that we've long since essentially been there.  And, by now, if the conservatives are right, we ought to be living in something of an economic Nirvana.  We've gone a long way toward "getting the government off the people's backs."  We've allowed the rich to keep a lot more of their money, so as to invest it wisely, which, in theory, ought to have created more jobs.  Again and again.  And so on.

But, needless to say, we HAVEN'T achieved economic Nirvana.  Instead, by almost every indicator, the economic prospects for most Americans have gotten worse, not better.  Indeed, as the linked article observes, half the country is either in or near poverty.  Not only have conservative economic policies failed to achieve the promised economic prosperity, but they have also apparently obliterated whatever economic prosperity Americans had when I was a kid back in the 70s.

Call it whatever you want.  Reaganomics, neoliberalism, libertarianism, objectivism, all a total failure.  It's really quite remarkable that anybody at all continues to believe in this crap.