Could this Create Another War on Poverty?


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We Are Second In Income Inequality in the World Behind Mexico

The American Way of Poverty: As Inequality Hits Record High, Sasha Abramsky on the Forgotten Poor

Probably not likely to but some romantics among those on the left might hope so. I am much less sanguine. The Great Society as envisioned by Michael Harrington was underfunded from the start and Harrington was a frustrated individual when he finally left the Johnson administration. The amazing thing was that back in the early 60s a real live socialist like Harrington could actually affect government policy. Now a mainstream economist like Paul Krugman doesn't even have any influence on policy! All of these programs are mostly defunct now and there is little chance that any House in the near future will get the gumption to deal with any of this or its deep rooted socio-economic causes

A new study shows that income inequality in America is at a record high. According to an analysis of tax filings, the income gap between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the other 99 percent widened to unprecedented levels in 2012. The top 1 percent of U.S. earners collected more than 19 percent of household income, breaking a record previously set in 1927. Income inequality in the United States has been growing for almost three decades. We speak to Sasha Abramsky, author of the new book, "The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives." It is written in the spirit of Michael Harrington’s groundbreaking 1962 book, "The Other America," in which he chronicled the lives of people excluded from the "age of affluence." Harrington’s book went on to inspire President Lyndon B. Johnson’s subsequent "war on poverty."

Further in the recent deal ending the deal ending the government shutdown America’s most vulnerable felt most of the pain. Again from Sasha Abramsky writing in the Nov.4, Nation Magazine

A common talking point on left and right is that the Republican-engineered shutdown realizes a long-sought conservative goal: the wholesale shrinking of the federal government. But even during a shutdown, $250 billion—about four-fifths of what is normally spent—is automatically allocated every month. Social Security, Medicare, the military and national security are essentially insulated from shutdown shenanigans. For fiscal conservatives, at best the shutdown will nibble at the margins. So if this “crisis” isn’t really about reducing spending on big-ticket items, what is it about? It seems, increasingly, like subterfuge for curtailing safety net programs the GOP has long loathed.

In fact, it’s precisely because so many government functions do continue that the impact on programs that are not “entitlements” or otherwise seen as politically untouchable is particularly acute. Despite the disproportionate amount of media attention paid to shuttered national parks, the bulk of the pain has largely fallen on programs like Head Start, WIC, Meals on Wheels, drug treatment and mental health services, loans to low-income homebuyers, job training programs, workplace and environmental inspections, and so on.
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