It is relatively common knowledge that the United States is the richest country in the history of the world. Most middle-class Americans believe that their standard of living and place in society is normal and shared by the entire population. The main-stream-media does its best to perpetuate that myth and worse, it portrays “average Americans” as owning two cars, a comfortable home, a well-paying job and well-fed children who play recreational sports on the weekends. However, the reality is somewhat different and it is becoming normal for Americans to barely subsist from paycheck to paycheck (if there is a job) without any hope of ever owning a home or affording college for their children, much less eating every day.
In 2004, the richest country on Earth boasted the highest poverty level in the developed world, and now that Republicans have helped corporations outsource Americans’ jobs while they eliminate basic humanitarian services and safety nets, the poverty level is at its highest point in 52 years. According to the 2010 census, the country’s official poverty rate is just over 15% and it represents the degradation of a once-great country into a nation that allows 46.2 million of its citizens to sink into poverty. The statistics do not bode well for millions more Americans as Republicans are threatening to block President Obama’s jobs bill after saying they would look for common ground to put Americans back to work.
There is an obvious disconnect between Republicans and the American people about the government’s role in creating jobs that would lift millions out of poverty. A CNN poll found that 65% of Americans want the president and congress to pay attention to jobs rather than reducing the nation’s budget deficit. A Bloomberg poll reported that 46% of Americans felt unemployment and jobs is more important than the federal deficit (12%) or government spending (18%), and yet Republicans are not interested in creating jobs. CNN polling also showed that by a margin of 46% to37%, Americans trust President Obama over Republicans on the economy, and favored the president’s jobs plan by a margin of 43% to 35%, and a second poll favored President Obama’s jobs plan by a margin of 45% to 32%.
Republicans consistently claim that giving more tax breaks to “job creators” will remedy the high unemployment numbers, but 74% of Americans support using federal funds to create jobs and 64% support more federal funding to repair bridges, roads, and schools. Although Republicans have fought relentlessly to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, by a 54% to 40% margin, Americans want to end tax cuts for people making more than $250,000. In contrast, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney proposed a grand economic plan that calls for $7 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations that he claims will encourage hiring. For the record, again; the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy have not created jobs in their ten-year existence and are responsible for a major part of the nation’s continuing debt increase. Republicans are not apt to listen to the American people and instead of revulsion and shame that over 15% of Americans live in poverty, are still pushing lower taxes for the rich.
The Heritage Foundation predictable put a spin on the poverty numbers to portray those living in poverty as being quite well-off. Leave it the conservatives at Heritage to make living in poverty seem like a life of luxury. According the Heritage, “very few of the 30 million plus individuals defined as “living in Poverty” by the government are actually poor. Real hardship does occur, but it is limited in scope and severity.” Since veracity has never been an issue with the lying-asses at Heritage, the Census Bureau reported that 46.2 million Americans are living in poverty. The 30 million-plus number represents children that live in poverty. Some of the “facts” Heritage cited as proving poor Americans do not live in “real poverty” are that nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car, and that nearly 82% of the poor own a microwave. Obviously, the Heritage Foundation has as much contempt for the poor as their Republican slaves in Congress and it explains why they are panting to give the wealthy more tax cuts. It is, after all, such a difficult life for millionaires and billionaires that Republicans are using taxpayer dollars to fill their coffers to alleviate the pain and suffering the poor people with microwaves will never understand.
It is a travesty that there are any people in America living in poverty when there is so much wealth being handed over to the rich for no other reason than they want more. Republicans know that good jobs will alleviate the poverty numbers but their focus has never been on job creation. John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and the rest of the Republicans in Congress are still claiming that cutting taxes and regulations for the job creators (read wealthy) is what will help the unemployed even though the wealthy have not created one job in ten years of Bush tax cuts. The Heritage Foundation can portray people living in poverty as living a luxury-filled life all they want and if it is so desirable, then they and their rich supporters should try living on $22,050 for a family of four and then report back how wonderful it is living in poverty.
The American people should feel abject shame that the richest country in the world gives more of the middle-class’s tax dollars to the rich in one week than a family of four earns in a year. Many more Americans would be homeless if they did not have family to live with. Americans should also be humiliated that 30 million-plus children go to bed hungry every night of their lives while their tax dollars go to the oil industry in subsidies. America was a decent country once-upon-a-time, but letting tens-of-millions of its citizens live in poverty while the wealthy take middle-class tax dollars puts this country in a class of its own. There is hope that the latest polls show Americans support President Obama’s jobs plans and the notion that government does have a duty to create jobs and care for the neediest among us, but that hope is waning as Republicans refuse to listen to the public. But how can they listen when their heads are so far up the wealthy’s asses? The simple answer is that they love their “special relationship” with the wealthy and if more Americans sink into poverty then as John Boehner said, “So be it.”