Thursday, July 19, 2018

Rising Poverty Level and Obama's Middle Class Fantasy

Number of Nation's Poor Heading towards Record Levels

This summer's US Census, which offered temporary employment to many jobless Americans, is set to reveal both unemployment and poverty rising with the country possibly going into a Regression, economically sliding back to the future.

The anticipated poverty rate increase — from 13.2 percent to about 15 percent is unfortunate timing for President Obama and his party just seven weeks before the mid-term elections.

Should this estimate hold true, about 45 million people, or more than 1 in 7 Americans were in poverty last year. It would be the highest single-year increase since the government began calculating poverty figures in 1959. The previous high was in 1980 when the rate hit 13 percent.

"The most important anti-poverty effort is growing the economy and making sure there are enough jobs out there," Obama said Friday at a White House news conference. He stressed his commitment to helping the poor achieve middle-class status and said, "If we can grow the economy faster and create more jobs, then everybody is swept up into that virtuous cycle."

This may be pure political fantasy or just accepting reality. During his campaign and for two years in office, the President has made a major issue of protecting and restoring the existing and dwindling middle class. Yet, since he hasn't been effective on this score, he now says he wants to help the poor become middle class. It's probably just a rewording of his original promise to America's new poor, who were once the middle class.

Perhaps its part of the tried and true American marketing ploy based on the population's short memory. What was middle class in the 1950s may not be middle class now.
Just Having a Job Doesn't make You Middle Class
What Obama doesn't seem to mention or possibly understand is simply having a job, one that might be temporary, doesn't make you middle class. It's having a dream of a lifestyle that's made possible by a secure job or profession. That dream is dying here because the number of secure and permanent jobs are being dwarfed by non staff temporary or part-time jobs being created.

Private employers added a net total of 67,000 jobs in August. But the unemployment rate rose to 9.6 percent from 9.5 percent, the Labor Department said, because the number of job-seekers overwhelmed the number of openings.

The unemployment rate has exceeded nine percent for 16 straight months and is all but sure to extend that streak into next year. If it does, it would break a record of 19 straight months above nine percent, set from 1982-83, after a severe recession. Some experts predict it will again hit 10 percent. Of course the unofficial rate is something like 17 percent.

The expected record poverty figure only adds to the growing gap between the rich and poor in America, the highest division in the developed world.

What Obama never seems to tackle or discuss is the reason for unemployment...the high cost of doing business in America that has either driven out much of our industry or sent firms and jobs to other countries.
California Went from Wealth to Debt
California, by far the most populous state, was once so wealthy alone it had the world's sixth largest economy. Today, it has a 12.1 percent unemployment rate, closer to 20 unofficially and it's deeply in debt.

According to an official state report entitled "Cost of State Regulations on California Small Business Study," the total cost to businesses of regulations in California is $493 billion, resulting in an employment loss of 3.8 million jobs. It further found that these regulations are borne mainly by small businesses

In addition, the California Air Resources Board recently decided to charge tens of millions in new fees to California-based industries to pay for the administration of new programs as a result of a controversial "global warming" measure.

Now add to this the enormous drain on state resources of health and welfare provisions for illegal immigrants, and it's not hard to see why the shine has disappeared from the Golden State. In Los Angeles County the illegal immigrant health bill last year was more than $500 million.

Demographers also predict the report will show:

  • Child poverty increased from 19 percent to more than 20 percent.
  • Blacks and Latinos were disproportionately hit.
  • Metropolitan areas that posted the largest gains in poverty included Modesto, Calif.; Detroit; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Los Angeles is now our second largest city with more than 4 million people, many legal and illegal immigrants. It has a growing demarcation between wealth and poverty, between receding middle class, mainly white areas and low income Hispanic areas which are dwarfing the much older Black ghettos.

L.A. for the sake of big bucks loves to present itself in film and on TV as a glitzy star studded city where slums and the poverty gap don't exist. But they do and are swallowing up entire areas that were once the realm of the lower middle class.

So, the President can talk about how he's going to create jobs, save the middle class or help poor people become middle class, but unless he addresses the root of our problem, the high cost of buying American, we will simply slide further and further backwards. In the end the federal government will gain more control over our welfare and our lives as poverty becomes as normal as moronic TV ads.

In the end, for the US to survive we will have to become a low wage economy and live much more austere lives...something like the good old days, but they won't be so good.

About the Writer

Dan Ehrlich is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Rising Poverty Level and Obama's Middle Class Fantasy

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By Jack Bates on September 17, 2010 at 12:37 am

This is an inherited issue, as you point out the middle class has not been in the "middle" since the 1950s. To go on bashing Obama after you admit that, isn't really "fair" hence the fairness score, but your writing is clear, the topic is interesting and you did good analysis. I would like to see more links in the article to source material you mention so I don't have to go google it, analysis would have been 5 stars if those links were there. Great read, and makes me think, so very good job! (so over all 4 stars at the bottom for Very Good)

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By Dan Ehrlich on September 17, 2010 at 12:54 am


I mention the regression is the lead paragraph,,,I believe it was the first story I did for Broowaha entitled The Regression.

To be honest, I'm not overjoyed writing freebies these days, so I admit I don't put all the work into some of these that I should. To me its more a cathartic expression.

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By TonyBerkman on November 04, 2011 at 03:31 am

It may be an inherited issue though the siting President is always held accountable for current economic conditions. It's difficult to say, "Yes We Can" change ..... (fill in the blank) and yet the economic crisis has only become worse. It may not be strictly Obama's fault though as former politicians have said "the buck stops here." That's called accountabilty. We need to hold our politicians accountable because nobody else will. Sometimes good guys end up on the "short end" though accountability is the way we will get out of this mess. Lack of holding our representatives accountable is how we got into this mess.

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