While one of the wildest weeks in global capital markets is coming to an end, even more economic devastation is going on among the poor in the United States. The most recent U.S. Census data show that 14,3% of the population or 43,6 million Americans, lived in poverty in 2009, which is the highest percentage in 15 years and the highest number to live in poverty in the 51 years poverty estimates are available. (Poverty is defined as $21,954 for a family of four.) Also,.....
according to analysis by the Pew Research Center of those Census data, the wealth gaps between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics has reached record highs. The median wealth of white households (with $113,149) is 20 times that of blacks (with $5,677) and 18 times that of Hispanics (with $6,325). According to Pew, these are the largest since the government began publishing these data a quarter century ago.
But help is on the way: broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Princeton Professor Cornel West have joined forces in a new radio show Smiley& West and are organizing a road trip to “highlight the plight of the poor people of all races, colors, and creeds so they will not be forgotten, ignored, or rendered invisible during this difficult and dangerous time of economic deprivation and political cowardice”, as their mission statement reads. click here to follow their 6-day, 18 city-tour Poverty Tour.
Let's hope this tour will help. What is clear is that the problems of poverty hardly receive any attention in Washington, D.C. or in mainstream media. It is equally clear that a society that ignores the plight of the poor can only do that for so long: the levees' failures in New Orleans, the Middle Eastern Spring and Britain’s riots show what happens if governments ignore the obvious.