"A revised formula for calculating medical costs and geographic variations show that approximately 47.4 million Americans last year lived in poverty, 7 million more than the government's official figure."
"Arloc Sherman, a senior researcher at the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said that because the revised formula factors in non-cash government aid, the amount of increase in poverty from 2007 to 2008 was generally smaller compared to the current measure.
"Food stamp participation rose during the first year of recession and appears to have softened what could have been an even greater increase in financial hardship," he said.
Sherman said the revised formula could take on greater importance in measuring poverty for 2009 as more Americans take advantage of tax credits and food stamps under the federal stimulus program. Food stamp assistance currently is at an all-time high of about 36 million."
So poverty would be even worse than 1 in 6, if we didn't include all of our current efforts to relieve poverty. Thirty Seven MILLION people on food stamps, that's around 1 in 8 people, or 12% of the population. People below the poverty line are even higher, 1 in 6 people. The unemployed are even higher, 1 in 5 people. And their unemployment benefits have run out. Who will help them now?
WASHINGTON – Even with an economic revival, many U.S. jobs lost during the recession may be gone forever and a weak employment market could linger for years.
Retrenching businesses will be slow in hiring back or replacing workers they laid off. Many of the 7.2 million jobs the economy has shed since the recession began in December 2007 may never come back.
Where does that leave the people? Beneath the poverty rate, and unemployable. The government tries to help, with ham fisted socialist programs like unemployment insurance, HUD housing, food stamps, medicaid, etc -- but still people fall through all the cracks, because there is no ONE program that everyone is eligible for, that cannot be taken away from you. If you are unemployed too long, have too much money left in the bank, and don't have a dependent child -- well too bad for you, you're not 'poor' yet. Go get pregnant and then get back to us. Even with social security and medicare servicing the old, they are more likely to be poor than the 18-64 year old crowd. A complete failure of those programs, who promised a wealthy retirement if you just payed a steep price all your working life in taxes. What if those 40 years had been sending them a citizen's dividend, which they could have saved, invested, or even spent, relying on the citizen's dividend in their old age to meet all their old age expenses? At the very least they would get to enjoy their purchasing power when they still had a use for it, rather than a sick, dying husk of a man gripping to a life that no longer wants or needs him. But of course, such is our socialist bureacratic jungle, that spending is discouraged and made nigh impossible by high taxes in one's youth, and then subsidized and inflated by no taxes on your old age, meaning the very time you have the least use for money, is the only time you get money to spend.
The economy is in shambles, the government programs meant to buffer people's losses, the safety net meant to help all the people capitalism doesn't reach, has failed. It did not save the elderly from poverty. It did not give people the 'incentives' they need to find jobs. ((the biggest complaint against the citizen's dividend is it provides no incentive for people to work -- and yet we are told that our 20% unemployment rate is here to stay and CANNOT be restored -- so why are we blaming the victims???)) It hasn't kept people from losing their homes. And worst of all, nothing is shielding the public from the rapacious debt collectors, who when they go bankrupt can just ask for trillions of dollars from the government, but the lone individual doesn't get a cent in relief. How is that fair? Companies are giving million dollar salaries to their workers, who were all bankrupt last year and using taxpayer money to stay afloat. But the people they made loans to, who are also bankrupt, aren't extended any money at all. This is the difference between ham-fisted socialism, that is spent on programs that don't work, don't provide a useful service, or cost more than they should, on one hand, and crony capitalism, that bails out politically favored minorities or powerful people with connections and political campaign donation clout on the other -- these are the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively! There is only one option, the citizen's dividend, that gives out money equally to all individuals, without any bureacracy inbetween, relying on the free market to make the most of the money, without any social engineering, and without any political favoritism, special interests, or corporate hog houses splurging on our nation's collective wealth.
With the citizen's dividend, the poor, the unemployed, the bankrupt, would all have a friend and a recourse. Today, if you are not a member of a favored minority, working for Goldman Sach's, old enough to receive Social Security, or poor enough to receive Medicaid -- on and on with the various restrictions -- you're just screwed. You're on your own. Despite the fact that our government takes about 50 cents on every dollar, it cannot be bothered to help the 47 million people in poverty today. What purpose does it serve? With the citizen's dividend, I could deliver real help, real relief, to everyone. Not just the poor, the unemployed, and the starving, the 37 million people on food stamps. But everyone. The children who can't afford college. The young family that can't afford a child. The working class family that can't afford to take their children on vacation to Europe, to see the beautiful architecture, museums, and streets of their ancestral homeland. The well off people who want to donate to charity. The entrepreneur with big dreams who can't secure a loan but wants to start a business. The wily investor who wants to turn the 12,000 a year he receives from the government into 24,000 a year down the road. EVERYONE. Everyone is that much better off, because the government is genuinely trying to help them, because the government represents all its people, and loves and cares about every single one of its citizens. And it can be done for cheaper, with less taxes, than we currently collect today!
It isn't because of the expense, it's because the citizen's dividend is equal. The government doesn't want to give out money equally, it wants people to be divided into quarreling factions, into parties, so that they can receive your vote, in exchange for getting your own tax dollars back. First they take half of every dollar we make, then they dangle it in front of us, as a bribe, that we might get some of it back, if we vote for them. This is outrageous. We are slaves, and our vote is just a part of the self-reinforcing slavery. A party that could purchase the loyalty of every single individual in the country, a one-party state that serves the entire people of that state, is the absolute opposite of the electoral politics of tax and bribe that democracy has gotten us to today.
This economic hemorrhaging continues even as the heedless government continues to pursue trillion dollar wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, expands its theater of operations into Pakistan, and threatens new wars with Iran. Does the madness ever stop? No, because the 'republican' party votes for war and the military, and in return gets employed as soldiers, or as a weapons manufacturer, or as a service provider to the troops. Everything benefits the faction, everything hurts the nation as a whole. These boondoggles at public expense will never be efficient, they have no need to be efficient, because if a small minority receives the money from a larger majority, they can afford for most of it to go to waste. But if the people simply received the same money they spent in taxes, back into their pockets, a little bit more if they are poor than they paid in taxes, a little bit less if they are rich than they paid in taxes -- there would be no waste because all the money would be in the free market, to be spent where private individuals felt it was most worthwhile. Not for wars in far off deserts. Not for health care for people who should already be dead. Not for a company that no longer makes any product of any worth but stays afloat regardless of merit. The money goes where it can do most good, as decided by each individual, and is incredibly flexible, because every month a new 1,000 check is received in the mail, and the apportioning process starts all over again. That would save the American economy and everyone who lives in it, nothing else will. Nothing.
Let's be clear, if there is some group of lowlifes who would use the citizen's dividend to buy drugs and booze, they don't matter. First off, if I had my way, alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes would be banned and people would have to enjoy life in a responsible, intellectual manner. So the issue wouldn't even come up. But second, these low lifes do not have the right to hold the rest of us hostage with their vices. They do not have the right to sabotage the true benefits the citizen's dividend could give the rest of us, the wonderful opportunities it opens up, the wonderful security it gives us, the wonderful chance to pay off our debts and thus the interest that keeps piling up in the future on them, the wonderful relief that unemployment doesn't immediately lead to the loss of your home, your family, and your pride. The immeasurable benefits the citizen's dividend gives to responsible, good people, whether they are young, old, out of luck or just never fit in to the economy, cannot be dismissed just because some people, somewhere or other, would waste or destroy their portion. To hell with them! Let them destroy it then. Meanwhile, the hundreds of millions that make up the rest of us, can get on with life, and never worry about food, heating, electricity or rent again.
It's a tragedy that someone, somewhere, would use the citizen's dividend to pay for destructive addictions instead of necessary expenses or investment opportunities -- but there's a much greater tragedy, and that's the world of today. The status quo. Right now there are 47 million people in poverty, 20% of Americans are unemployed, most are in debt, the government is running a 1.4 trillion dollar deficit and will go bankrupt itself in a few decades. Families are no longer stable because jobs are no longer stable, and income is no longer stable. More often than not, the woman is the only one employed and making more money than her husband, a condition so shameful on one hand, and disgusting on the other, that the woman sees no point in continuing the 'sham' and figures, if she's doing it all herself anyway, she may as well be single while she does it. This is the sort of societal chaos spreading forth from the bad economy. Divorce, single childhood, crime, foreign wars, corporate corruption, and debt, debt, everywhere. The citizen's dividend can solve all of these problems immediately, simultaneously, for less tax dollars than we already spend -- and harping on about people who won't work ((why should they? Even if they wanted to, no one would employ them anyway!)) or will just buy drugs ((And is that somehow worse than buying missles to shoot at innocent Iraqis a million miles away who never did a damn thing to us?)), is just that much smokescreen to hide the evil that is capitalist democracy.
If anyone cannot see the con that is capitalist democracy, even this late into its dissolution, what can I say! Have you noticed the government takeover of every role? Have you noticed how the government first takes all your money, then gives it back to you, bit by bit, by doing exactly what the government says, or voting in a block for the party that represents you? Have you noticed the implicit slavery of everyone forced to vote for a party simply to get its own tax dollars back? Have you noticed the phoniness of most employment, of almost all government employment, of corporate welfare and subsidies that hide the emptiness behind all the labor and all the 'production' in our country? Are you curious why such phony jobs are able to make so much phony money at the expense of everyone around them? Please, please open your eyes. In a world of technological supremacy, where a barrel of oil can do the work of 2500 man hours for 50 dollars, NO ONE SHOULD BE POOR ON EARTH. In the richest country in said world, with a per capita income of 46,000 -- THAT'S PER PERSON PER YEAR, no one should be poor in America! And yet here we are! Here we are! Over 1 in 10 on food stamps, over 1 in 6 in poverty, and the rest scraping to get by, full of divorce, misery, unemployment, retirement losses, and blows and buffets from all sides! Everyone should be asking themselves, where is the money going? Where is the money? We are the richest eon in world history, and America is the richest country in the world, but we're still impoverished and unemployed! Unaccountable! Unaccountable without malevolence. Unaccountable without systemic failure. Unaccountable without the democratic capitalist system, that makes things the way they are today.
Smash it. Restore the tax dollars directly to the people. Give the blessings of technological progress like increased acreage yield, increased automatization, increased internet efficiency, directly back to the people, as their portion of nature's bounty. Use it to raise a family the proper way, with a mother and a father, and both with enough time to raise their kids. Live a good life knowing nothing can go wrong, because you cannot fall through the cracks anymore. But first, you must smash the status quo. The powers that be will never give up the advantages they currently have. The wealth of the world, of its natural resources, plants, animals, and machines, due to no man but hoarded by a tiny few men, must be taken. As Convington said:
"Ex gladio libertas."
Freedom is won through the sword.