6/14/2012 7:35 PM ET|
America's own Third World
The percentage of US residents living in poverty is on the rise, according to the Census Bureau. We shine a light on the diverse faces of America's underclass.
America's poor: The grim statistics
● U.S. population: 313.7 million (June 2012)
● U.S. poverty rate: 15.1% (2010), up from 14.3% in 2009
● U.S. unemployment rate: 8.2% (May 2012)
● Real median household income: $49,445 (2010), down 2.3% from 2009
● People without health insurance: 49.9 million (2010), 16.3% of the population
The numbers are startling. But the names and faces tell the raw story.
Gary Thompson is one of those faces. At age 68, he's broke and sick, and he sleeps in a charity mission surrounded by homeless strangers in Atlantic City, N.J. It's not a pretty picture.
In general, poverty in America today is disturbingly unattractive. It is gritty and pervasive and hard to break out of. It's a story of men and women all around us who are suffering great pain, frustration and deprivation. It sounds banally dramatic, but only, gratefully, because most of us have never endured those circumstances. For the minority that has -- and, let's be clear, it is a small minority -- the suffering is substantial, and it has not lessened in recent years. Political divisions have made sure of that. Partisanship has frequently hindered or scuttled initiatives that each political party has proposed.
Democrats and Republicans manifest very different notions of how to cope with poverty. Some of us believe that people should take full responsibility for their actions under all circumstances and that "neediness" is a character flaw overcome through hard work and determination.
That's one point of view.
Others believe the government's main purpose is to care for the well-being of its people -- not just the "cans" but also the "cannots," the "have-nots" and sometimes even the "do-nots." They believe compassion is integral to civil society, that government's role is to make sure Americans are safe and healthy, and that if you don't or can't work, or can't get by on your paycheck, you should not be relegated to Dickensian penury.
We profile five people who come from different backgrounds and circumstances but now find themselves in America's underclass -- the working and nonworking poor. Some of these people have lived most of their lives in poverty. Others are new to it. Most say they never could have imagined they would be as dependent as they are today on friends, family, charities and government programs to support themselves and care for their families.
Click through the following pages to read their stories.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Oh Well, Clinton kicked the door open to shipping all our jobs overseas, NAFTA, CAFTA and the Walmart deal to bring everything they sell from China. I think it was Frank who ruined the housing market and caused the 08 crash, he ruined the lending rules! Good intentions but you really should have to prove you you can afford the house you are buying. ARM's and Ballon Payment mortgage, don't get me started. Wall Street and the Corporations bought congress and outsourced the country so yes we will soon be a Third World Country with Nukes. We should have had lobby reform, real lobby reform 30 years ago. To late now since the Supreme Court said the the corporations can buy their politicians direct now. We once manufactured for the world and now we are a Banana Republic to Communist China.
3rd World is gonna look like puttin on the Ritz compared to where we are headed!
For every 30 barracks, one school and 1 excess uniform clothing issue building.Stop all food stamp programs stop all welfare programs.
Every one is housed, every one is fed, every one is clothed and gets medical care.and an education
All able bodied are required to do some work in the running of the complex.
Anyone voluntarily leaving school before graduation, has to leave the complex.
There you are save 90% of the cost of the welfare and food stamp programs, no money involved, no way to buy drugs.
25 miles away from the ****ers, crime rate goes down drastically.
An elegant solution bet a buck, the dems won't like it.
Largest advantage to the system, it provides an incentive to get out , before you die of boredom.
Here we go again with the FAST STOCK BUDGET....the lame PENNY STOCK bull..yada, yada, yada.
I wish tou PIN HEADS would get a life.
This article is a real eye-opener. However; some of it just sickens me. I see honest, hard-working people in my community, and they try their hardest to provide a decent life for their families. Then I read about bozos and yahoos like the guy with MS and 8 children. Unfortunately, we have people like that here as well. What the heck?!
I know there are leeches out there that try to bilk the system. What upsets me is that they make people calloused to those that really need it.
I feel blessed and very thankful that I do live in the community that I live in. It's home of Cummins Engine Co. Cummins keeps it's headquarters here and within the next 4-5 years will be creating over 700 new jobs. This means growth in our community. This means that more jobs will be created (outside of the Cummins jobs). This means that more people in my community will have jobs. Cummins has also teamed up with the local colleges so more people can advance themselves, giving them the opportunity for better positions and better pay.
Sometimes, it just takes a huge corporation to care about the community to step up.
It's fascinating how today, the poverty rate is the same or more than it was in the 1950's. After half a century of Democrats saying I'm on the side of the little man...I'm here for you...what do we have to show for it?
How's that working out....after 5 decades.
The democrats keep saying that to keep you voting for them....I think they keep saying that to keep their thumb on you voting neck. They only do just enough to keep the minority vote. The rest of the loot they give to countries like Afghanistan, Iraq & Russia & won't even give a single black woman in the ghetto a toaster. Cmon brother wakke up.
Knew about his MS at age 15, can't work, but went ahead and had 8 children. When you can't afford to keep yourself, you need to keep it in your pants! And, how many of those kids did he pass that MS on to?
The single biggest problem in America today is Welfare. No one is entitled to live without working. I can't imagine how anybody could be foolish enough to think otherwise. If you don't work you should not eat and you surely should not be paid to produce more welfare candidates. We need to make it a way to get yourself back to work and not a way of life.
We also need to stop all the illegal's from coming into our country and living off the taxpayers. I live in a city that is mostly Mexican and they have rights I do not have. I for one am fed up with it.
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