US: Millions in Poverty

Living standards for the US working class have been falling for some time. Inside the richest country in the world we have “third-world” type conditions for a layer of the population.

Ah, to be a corporate CEO! To make more than 400 times the wage than your average salaried employee and receive tax cuts to boot. Never mind that your employees don't have health care, adequate housing, decent education for their children and less food on the table than their parents were able to provide for them. Quality of life for most in the U.S. has been on the decline in recent years, with the distance between the super-rich and the rest of society growing daily.

According to the Census Bureau's numbers, 37 million people in the U.S. live under the poverty level, more than the entire 32.8 million population of Canada. The Economic Policy Institute's Basic Family Budget Calculator estimates that the "national median basic needs budget" (including taxes and tax credits) for a two-parent, two-child family was $39,984 in 2004. However, the poverty line for a two-parent, two-child family is set at $19,157. That's a $20,827 dollar difference. This means that effectively, millions more are unable to meet their basic needs. This as a direct effect on our quality of life.

"The infant mortality rate in the United States compares with that in Malaysia - a country with a quarter the income," says the 2005 Human Development Report. "Infant death rates are higher for [black] children in Washington, D.C., than for children in Kerala, India."

How is it that the richest nation in the world has starving children, rampant homelessness and massive un- and under-employment? Oh yeah - because its leaders would rather use disaster relief funds to pay for the imperialist war on "terror" (read "the working class").