Poverty is getting worse by all indications, and yet those who it affects most are still rendered socially invisible. The poverty rate during this Great Recession is so dire, that it is close to mirroring the level it was in the 1960’s. According to a new report from an AP survey, the social strata of people affected by poverty is ever widening. As many people may note that this is nothing new, this is an indication of how truly dire things are. Resulting from all of the talk about deficit reduction, which is a nice way of saying austerity, this push has only increased the suffering of the many.
While official politics and the uncritical mainstream media will continue to use weak “recovery” as a political football, there is no rush on the part of either to get to why the economy continues to falter. With no one calling in for reigning in the outsourcing of jobs by corporations, the best both political parties can do is beg companies not to take so many resources out of the country. Even worse, is that while the chatter is going on about “job creation” there is a concerted effort to destroy many good jobs because they have the misfortune of falling within the public sector. The push to privatize key areas of the public sector like teachers, and even the postal service is occuring at the same time the political conversation is all about the middle class. Well, what about the working class?
Let’s use the term working class, because its more descriptive than the word “poor”. Why? Because poor could mean anything to anyone nowadays. But if we really wanted to get into the issue of poverty, the best thing is to look at what creates it socially. The working class is invisible because few wish to acknowledge those with jobs as having inadequate resources. Not many want to acknowledge that driving down wages, and slashing social services have only made things worse for countless people. It is so bad, that short of a WPA style public works program, things will stay relatively the same for the next couple of years and beyond. If that is not on the agenda, then anyone purporting to address the nation’s job crisis is not truly serious about resolving this burning issue. Some may say to demand such a thing is unreasonable, but is continuing to give companies tax breaks and hope things turn around reasonable? Demanding less than what is needed is not helping anyone, so the need is still there to change the conversation.
-Marc W. Polite
The Blue Collar Scholar