Friday, September 16, 2011

Poverty is on the way

Recently released statistics show the number of Americans living below poverty levels has risen to nearly 47 million. At the same time, 13 states report reductions in the numbers on welfare.

Unemployment hangs at 13 million, and the fastest growing sectors in the economy these days seem to be the working poor.

Frighteningly, the new poor are coming from the ranks of the former middle class. The American dream, once available to most, is now a reality for fewer and fewer.

Under the best of circumstances, most couples are working. If they are lucky, if they bought a house at the right time, if their kids get scholarships, if their company isn't acquired by a corporate raider who shuts it down and ships production to Asia or Mexico, these folks will be able to enjoy some fruit from their labor.

However, something has stopped working. People who once were hopeful are now disappointed and angry. Parents no longer see bright futures for children.

People are losing their houses to foreclosure. Despite hard work and careful planning, more and more are moving straight from middle class to poor.

It's not their fault, but a lot of people would like to make it so in order to do nothing about the problem or hide from the reality that they could be next.

Following the Great Depression, the rise of the middle class, rewarded for education, hard work and savings, brought both abundance and stability to our nation. That was our nation's good side.

But there's a dark side showing up today. It's a dog-eat-dog world, but we should remember that if we decide to blame the poor for their plight, we may soon be blaming ourselves as well.

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