War on Poverty in America Won?
During the best of earlier times, no war on poverty was ever waged in America, skirmishes alone, letting a problem demanding strong action fester.
Michael Harrington’s 1962 book, titled “The Other America” exposed the nation’s dark underside enough for Jack Kennedy to address the issue, and for Lyndon Johnson to declare “unconditional war on poverty in America.”
“In morality and in justice, every citizen should be committed to abolishing the other America, for it is intolerable that the richest nation in human history should allow such needless suffering,” Harrington stressed, adding:
“But more than that, if we solve the problem of the other America we will have learned how to solve the problems of all of America.”
In wasn’t solved during New Deal, Fair Deal or Great Society years. Poverty today is America’s leading growth industry because of bipartisan indifference to a largely unaddressed festering problem.
Days earlier, the Trump regime’s Council of Economic Advisers shamefully declared America’s longstanding war on poverty “largely over and a success” – ignoring countless tens of millions in the country struggling to get by.
The Clinton co-presidency promised to “end welfare as we know it.” Trump exceeds the worst of his predecessors, waging war on social justice so America’s resources can be used for militarism, war-making, tax cuts for the rich, and corporate handouts.
In April, Trump signed an executive order, expanding work requirements for eligibility to receive federal benefits.
A White House report falsely claimed Medicaid, food stamps, and other federal benefits discourage poor and low-income Americans from working more – ignoring Depression-level unemployment at nearly 22%, most households with jobs having rotten part-time or temp low pay/poor-or-no benefit ones.
In May 2018, a report by UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston detailed America’s deplorable state.
The American dream is pure fantasy under both Republicans and undemocratic Dems – neoliberal harshness prioritized over social justice, fast eroding, on the chopping block for elimination altogether the way things are heading.
“The United States already leads the developed world in income and wealth inequality, and it is now moving full steam ahead to make itself even more unequal,” said Alston, adding:
“High child and youth poverty rates perpetuate the intergenerational transmission of poverty very effectively, and ensure that the American dream is rapidly becoming the American illusion.”
The Trump regime was explicitly blamed for policies increasing poverty and inequality. “The $1.5 trillion in tax cuts in December 2017 overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality,” Alston explained, adding:
“The consequences of neglecting poverty and promoting inequality are clear. The policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment, and make even basic health care into a privilege to be earned rather than a right of citizenship.”
Last December, Alston visited seven US locations, including Los Angeles’ skid row, rural Alabama, West Virginia and Puerto Rico.
He could have visited virtually any US metropolitan inner city and other poor communities throughout America and learned the same things – countless tens of millions impoverished or bordering on it.
America was thirdworldized before Trump took office. He made a bad situation worse, making America more dysfunctional than already under his leadership, the nation’s most disadvantaged struggling to get by.
Interviews Alston requested with House Speaker Ryan and various GOP committee chairs were refused. Trump’s Justice Department declined to meet with him.
When congressional debate was ongoing about enacting tax cuts, benefits for impoverished Americans were cut to fund them, said Alston, saying US policy contrasts dramatically to what he found elsewhere in developed societies.
The world’s richest country doesn’t give a damn about its least advantaged.
Nourishing food, proper healthcare, and other essentials to life and welfare are increasingly unaddressed in a nation serving privileged interests exclusively, uncaring about others.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”