For million of food insecure US households, there’s no joy on Thanksgiving weekend or throughout the year.
According to officially reported numbers, what understates reality at a time when around half of US households are one or two missed paychecks from hunger and possible homelessness:
12% of Americans — about 41 million people — are food insecure.
38 million are impoverished.
Households headed by a single woman have the highest rate of food insecurity.
16.7% of US children don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
22 million children rely on school for meals.
12% of seniors are food insecure.
At a time of the highest US inflation in over 40 years at 15.9% — based on how it was calculated pre-1990 before artificially rigged lower — most US households struggle to make ends meet every day of the year.
There’s no joy about today’s reality.
None when forced to choose among enough food, paying rent, servicing mortgages, making car and credit card payments, heating a residence or seeking medical care when ill.
None for hundreds of thousands of homeless Americans on mean streets in the world’s richest country.
For most of the last half century, hegemon USA was thirdworldized to benefit wealth, power and privileged interests at the expense of the general welfare.
At a time when the nation’s super-rich are thriving, when the greatest wealth disparity between rich and poor exists since the robber baron age over a century ago, when most US households struggle to get by on part-time or temp jobs paying low wages with few or no benefits, there’s little or nothing to be joyous about.
Nor at a time of perpetual US wars by hot and/or other means on invented enemies — on Russia with no end of it in prospect, risking greater confrontation between the world’s nuclear powers.
Nor at a time of health destruction by kill shots, masking, lockdowns and all else flu/covid — what’s all about mass-extermination of unwanteds and draconian social control.
Or when US ruling regimes are mortal enemies of ordinary people at home and worldwide.
Or when the self-styled master of the universe is nominally headed by a selected, unelected mumbling, bumbling White House imposter — an out-of-touch with reality figurehead boob.
When undemocratic Dems pose an unparalleled threat to humanity.
When the risk of WW III is ominously real.
American exceptionalism, moral superiority and the indispensable state are meaningless figures of speech.
Hypocrisy, not democracy, defines how the nation is ruled – a plutocracy and kleptocracy, never a democracy.
The latter as it should be is virtually banned.
Elections when held are farcical. Dirty business as usual always wins.
The nation I grew up in long ago no longer exists.
Never beautiful, equitable or just, it let ordinary kids like myself, with nothing special going for us, advance to higher education and benefits it brought at the time.
And it was affordable for most everyone, the will to successfully complete the academic curriculum the only requirement at a time when career opportunities were the rule, not the exception like today.
Higher education today entraps millions of students in debt bondage because of exorbitantly higher education costs — at a time when career opportunities are a shadow of what they were post-WW II.
In the 1940s, 50s and 60s, strong unions and high-paying factory jobs with good benefits elevated millions of Americans to middle-class status, what’s largely gone today.
Home ownership was affordable.
After my parents retired to Florida in the 1950s, my dad bought a very respectable new home in a newly developed community for around $5,000.
When I entered the workforce in 1960 after completing graduate school, I bought a new VW Beetle for $600.
Most US workers today need two or more jobs because the average hourly wage is inadequate for survival.
According to salary.com, the median hourly wage of fast food workers is $11.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics last month, median annual income for full-time wage and salaried workers is $55,640.
Average annual cost of housing in the US is $21,409.
It costs most US households about $6,600 annually for food.
For healthcare, it’s about $12,500 annually per person.
For transportation, including car payments, it’s $10,961, the third largest household expense after housing and healthcare.
The above annual expenses exceed $51,000 on average.
Other expenses include clothing, entertainment, personal insurance and pensions, as well as miscellaneous categories.
Millions of US households spend more than they earn, going into debt to make up the difference.
Annual income of around $55,000 isn’t enough to cover today’s high cost of living in the US.
As a boy and adolescent long ago, Thanksgiving weekend included four days of turkey and all the fixings, what my mother prepared when its cost was a tiny fraction of the amount needed to duplicate it today.
Warts and all, the nation I grew up in long ago no longer exists except in fond memories.
Dystopian harshness and permanent war on invented enemies replaced it.
Perhaps they’ll be reason to give thanks one day — what’s only possible with revolutionary change, what’s nowhere in prospect today.
History teaches that the hunger of many and the obscene accumulation of wealth by a few will create revolutions.
They don’t make berserkers like they used to.
It is very sad and frustrating, but no one raised their voices to protest against the situation.