Thursday, December 15, 2016

Poverty: The Dark Side of the American Empire

Among my ongoing prayers is that more and more of us will become brave enough to seek deeper levels of awareness and understanding. This allowing the suffering of others to penetrate our consciousness serves to break our hearts open, which is also the doorway into our awakening. Once we allow that pain in, we then become empowered to do something about it. May the layers of fog which keep us separate and in the dark be lifted, illuminating the truth and new possibilities. ~ Molly
The selection by president- elect Trump of the richest cabinet in the country’s history doesn’t bode well for the poor in America. (Photo: Renan Dario Arango)
If we have learned anything from this last presidential election it’s that poverty continues to be an ignored concept by president-elect Trump and by U. S. politicians. Although both avoid using the word like a naked man avoids a poisonous snake, poverty is integral to the current reality of the U.S. socio- political landscape. The selection by president- elect Trump of the richest cabinet in the country’s history doesn’t bode well for the poor in America.
Poverty is a state of deprivation in which people lack the usual or acceptable amount of money or material possessions to live with dignity. In 2015, using this concept, 43.1 million Americans (13.5% of the population) lived in poverty. Although children are 23.1 percent of the total population, they constitute 33.3 percent of the poor population. A 2013 UNICEF report stated that the U.S. had the second highest relative child poverty rate in the developed world.
Poverty and food security are closely related. In a food secure household its members have access at all times to enough food for an active and healthy life. In 2013, when child poverty levels were record high, 16.7 million children were living in food insecure households, unable to access the nutritious food necessary for a healthy life.
A 2016 study by the Urban Institute, a Washington D.C. research organization that analyzes how people and communities are affected by policy reforms, states that teenagers in low income communities are frequently forced to join gangs, sell drugs or exchange sexual favors because they cannot afford to buy food.
Homelessness aggravates the problems associated with lack of food. According to a 2014 report by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the number of homeless children in the U.S. has reached record levels, with 2.5 million children -one child in every 30- experiencing homelessness in 2013. Lack of affordable housing and domestic violence are among its main causes.
According to recent census estimates, half of the U.S. population qualifies as poor or low income, while one in five Millennials are living in poverty. According to The Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States, new and extreme forms of poverty have appeared in the U.S. as a result of neoliberal structural adjustment and globalization policies.

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